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Joffrey Ballet announces promotions for Gerard Charles, Kirsty Mackellar


Gerard Charles, Ballet Master of the Joffrey Ballet has been promoted. He will assume a new position — Director of Artistic Operations — effective immediately, with duties now encompassing all production planning and implementation, including serving as a facilitator between production departments. Along with this primarily administrative position he will maintain his core artistic roles, including daily contact with the dancers.

“Gerard has been an accomplished dancer, choreographer, teacher and artistic director, so he knows the work, communication and attention to detail necessary to fully mount any production, whether at home in Chicago or on tour,” said Ashley Wheater, artistic director of the Joffrey. “It’s his unique background and experience that makes him ideal for this position, which will allow me to focus on maintaining artistic excellence, as well as the company’s long-term artistic vision.”

“Gerard’s new role will help us streamline the production process, create more efficient and effective communication between artists, designers, crew and facility managers,” added executive director Cameron. “As the Joffrey continues to grow and pursue ever-higher levels of excellence, a role like this is key to making sure our entire operation implements best practices.”

Born in Folkestone, England, Charles received his dance training from Moya Kennedy and at the Royal Ballet School in London. He danced professionally for Ballet International in London, Milwaukee Ballet and BalletMet in roles ranging from corps de ballet to principal. On retiring from the stage, he served as Ballet Master for BalletMet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. He became Associate Artistic Director of BalletMet in 1998 and was promoted to Artistic Director in 2001. He has choreographed and staged works internationally and received an NEA Choreographic Fellowship.

In related news, Kirsty Mackellar has been promoted from General Management Associate to Company Manager and will manage all aspects of the day-to-day needs of the dancers and Joffrey guest artists. As Director of Production, Claude Binder continues his leadership role and maintains responsibility for all matters that relate to working with theaters at home and on tour. And Blair Baldwin has been named Artistic and Production Business Administrator, overseeing contracts, agreements, licenses and record-keeping.

The Joffrey Ballet will celebrate 20 years of calling Chicago home in the upcoming 2014-15 season which launches Sept. 18-21 with a one-weekend-only engagement of two Joffrey repertory favorites – George Balanchine’s “Prodigal Son” and Antony Tudor’s “Lilac Garden” – along with the Joffrey/Chicago premiere of Yuri Possokhov’s Asian-themed “RAkU.”  For more information visit joffrey.org.