The University of Akron and Joffrey Ballet School forge innovative academic partnership for dancers


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The University of Akron (UA) and the renowned Joffrey Ballet School of New York City proudly announce an exclusive academic partnership to begin in fall 2024. This noteworthy collaboration offers aspiring dancers the opportunity to enroll in the Joffrey Ballet School Trainee Program for unparalleled dance training while simultaneously pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Dance in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences (BCAS) at UA.

The partnership aims to provide students with specialized professional dance training from world-class instructors at the Joffrey Ballet School campus in New York City, coupled with exceptional online and classroom-based academic instruction from UA. Students will benefit from a comprehensive curriculum covering a diverse range of dance techniques, ranging across various dance idioms that span the worlds of concert and commercial dance, depending on chosen concentration.

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"This partnership represents a significant milestone in the realm of dance education," remarked Dr. Gwyneth Price, senior vice provost for academic and faculty affairs at The University of Akron. "By combining the artistic excellence of the Joffrey Ballet School with the academic rigor of our institution, we are empowering dancers to realize their full potential and prepare for successful careers both on and off the stage."

"I am excited about the transformative impact this partnership will have on our students and the broader performing arts community," remarked Dr. Mitchell S. McKinney, BCAS dean.

Key highlights and benefits of the program include:

  • Access to a carefully designed, professional dance curriculum, built on the principles that Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino developed with the founding of their school in 1953.
  • National accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and National Association of Schools of Dance for The University of Akron, which is home to an acclaimed dance program and the offices of The National Center for Choreography (NCCAkron), one of only two national centers dedicated to choreography research, development and experimentation, serving and supporting dance artists from across the U.S.
  • Immersion in two distinct higher education cultures: professional dance and academia.
  • Training and mentorship from world-class educators at both UA and the Joffrey Ballet School.
  • Exposure to the vibrant dance scene of New York City, a global hub for performing arts and a renowned center of dance, across all facets of the dance industry.
  • Distinctive performance opportunities, including two mainstage, fully produced performances each year with internationally acclaimed choreographers, as well as other additional performance opportunities throughout New York City. Past events include renowned ballet galas and guesting opportunities throughout the country, New York Fashion Week, immersive art gallery performances, music videos, and more.
  • Comprehensive career guidance and mentorship from Joffrey Ballet School faculty and staff, along with access to extensive professional networks, both domestic and international.
  • Personalized advisement services and academic support from both institutions.
  • UA student services including access to academic tutoring, counseling and an extensive online library database.
  • Day, evening and weekend general studies course offerings through a multitude of delivery formats which complement a dancer’s busy schedule.
  • Admission to the B.F.A. in Dance requires submission of required application materials to UA and successful completion of auditions administered by the Joffrey Ballet School. Accepted students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.875 to graduate.

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"This partnership exemplifies our shared commitment to nurturing the next generation of dancers and innovators," said Lee Merwin, Executive Director of the Joffrey Ballet School. "Together with The University of Akron, we are creating a dynamic learning environment where students can thrive both artistically and academically. Through this program, students will be prepared for careers in fields such as dance, professional choreography, dance education, and dance administration, among others.”

Dr. Marc Reed, Director of the School of Dance, Theatre and Arts Administration in BCAS, adds, “We are incredibly excited to join forces with one of the premier professional training schools in the country. Both Joffrey and UA dance students will benefit from this partnership, and we look forward to seeing programs from both institutions flourish because of these combined efforts.”

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“The National Center for Choreography-Akron has been fortunate to call Northeast Ohio home because of the rich and deep dance history created by Heinz Poll’s Ohio Ballet and DanceCleveland in this region,” added Christy Bolingbroke, executive/artistic director of NCCAkron. “Since Heinz and Robert Joffrey were contemporaries, it seems only fitting that UA’s dance future continues to be reassured with another key partnership like the Joffrey Ballet School of New York City.”

For more information about the University of Akron-Joffrey Ballet School partnership and admissions requirements, visit the University of Akron website or the Joffrey Ballet School website.

About the University of Akron: The University of Akron is a comprehensive research institution located in Akron, Ohio. With a commitment to excellence in education, research and community engagement, UA offers a wide range of academic programs and resources to prepare students for success in their chosen fields.

About the Joffrey Ballet School: The Joffrey Ballet School is a renowned dance institution based in New York City. Dance visionaries Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino founded the school in 1953, offering a world-class training program that celebrates boundary-breaking performances and commitment to artistic excellence. The Joffrey Ballet School continues to shape the future of dance through innovative training programs that prepare students to confidently pursue a career in dance throughout the worlds of concert and commercial dance.

About the National Center for Choreography: The National Center for Choreography-Akron (NCCAkron), is one of only two national centers dedicated to choreography research, development, and experimentation -- serving and supporting dance artists from across the U.S., NCCAkron is an independent nonprofit organization, with offices based at The University of Akron.

Media Contact: Bree Sabin –