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Jodie Gates Bio

Jodie Gates has established a significant career in the dance field. For over thirty-five years she has contributed to the profession as a director, educator, coach, choreographer, producer and principal dancer. She continues to lead with kindness, bold ideas and risk-taking as guiding principles for her artistic vision.

Ms. Gates is currently the Founding Director of the University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, where she is also a Professor of Dance. She was the school’s first Vice Dean and Director, and was given unprecedented responsibility for implementing the artistic vision and creating a dance curriculum and faculty from the ground up. The resulting curriculum, called “The New Movement,” is a new hybrid model for dance – expressed in studio practice, music, choreography, performance, new media and scholarship.

Prior to her positions in academia, Ms. Gates was a celebrated principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet, as well as a principal guest artist with several companies around the world. Her guest appearances included the Gala at the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Benois de la Danse in Moscow, dancing Odette/Odile in Swan Lake at the Ballet de Monterrey, Mexico, to appearing in well-known festivals such as Spoleto in Italy, The Edinburgh Festival, the Nijinsky Festival in Hamburg, Germany, and The Melbourne Festival in Australia.

Her roles ranged from the repertoire of George Balanchine to contemporary pieces by Alvin Ailey, Sir Frederick Ashton and William Forsythe, to an improvised collaboration with musician Ornette Coleman and dancer Savion Glover at the Cologne Music Festival and a collaboration with the musical artist Prince in the Joffrey Ballet’s production, Billboards. She has danced at the Bolshoi in Moscow, the Bockenheimer Depot in Frankfurt, Germany, the Châtelet Theatre and Theatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris and Sadler’s Wells in London, The Kennedy Center in D.C., Lincoln Center in New York City, among other well-known venues.

She was a muse for the distinguished director and choreographer Robert Joffrey, originating many roles while dancing with The Joffrey Ballet, and worked with a host of renowned choreographers, including Merce Cunningham, Agnes de Mille, Paul Taylor and Mark Morris. She has been featured in numerous television programs and festivals, and performed at the 1993 presidential inauguration, and before presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

As a nationally recognized choreographer, Ms. Gates has published more than 70 original dance works. She has been commissioned by dozens of dance companies, television ad campaigns, and with several esteemed academic institutions. Her work has been performed at the Kennedy Center, the Juilliard School, Princeton University, American Ballet Theater, New York’s City Center Theater, Staatsballett Berlin, the Helsinki International Ballet Competition, the Vail International Dance Festival and many other venues and festivals. Her ballets have been called “visually compelling, powerful, beautiful” by the Philadelphia Inquirer and “richly textured and profound” by the Orange County Register.

She also regularly stages the ballets of renowned choreographer William Forsythe. Since 2003, she has had the opportunity to stage work for companies such as the Paris Opera Ballet, Scottish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Prague National Theatre Ballet, Zurich Opera Ballet, Teatro alla Scala, Ballet West, Houston Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet.

Formerly a tenured Professor of Dance at University of California, Irvine, she has mentored and taught graduate and undergraduate students as well as designed initiatives in higher education since 2006. Ms. Gates has taught master classes for several professional ballet and contemporary dance companies, both nationally and internationally. She is also an active pre-professional teacher, coach and educator with Youth America Grand Prix and Universal Ballet Competitions.

Currently Ms. Gates resides in Southern California, and is the founder and artistic director of Southern California’s award-winning Laguna Dance Festival. Since 2005, the organization has fostered artistic collaborations, furthered dance education, facilitated community engagement, and has presented  international artists and dozens of the nation’s top contemporary dance companies. The organization is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of artists, and continues to award scholarships annually and funds choreographic commissions throughout the year.

Ms. Gates’ honors include recognition by the American Association of University Women; an Altria/ABT fellowship from the American Ballet Theatre; Laguna Beach’s Artist of the Year Award; and was selected for the esteemed Jerome Robbins New Essential Works program.