Saturday, November 1, 2014

Joffrey Ballet announces Winners of Choreographers of Color Award: Jennifer Archibald, Abdul Latif & Stephanie Martinez

Jennifer Archibald

Abdul Latif

Stephanie Martinez


Three aspiring choreographers will present World Premieres in “Winning Works 2015” at the MCA Stage, March 7-8, 2015

CHICAGO (October 28, 2014) – The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, announces the winners of the fifth annual Choreographers of Color Award: Jennifer Archibald, Abdul Latif and Stephanie Martinez. This announcement follows a national call for artists to submit applications, which began in July. 

The Choreographers of Color Award was created to recognize emerging minority choreographers and to provide them with a platform to showcase their original and innovative work. Each of the three selected choreographers will be given a minimum of 30 rehearsal hours to set a new work on the Joffrey Academy Trainees and Joffrey Studio Company. Each winning choreographer will also receive a $2,500 stipend and an opportunity to work directly with Joffrey Academy Artistic Directors, Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik. The three world premieres will be presented in “Winning Works 2015” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 Chicago Avenue, in three performances, Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 3 pm and 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 8 at 3 pm.

“We are proud to be able to present our Winning Works program highlighting three up-and-coming choreographers chosen through our Choreographers of Color initiative for the fifth year in a row,” said Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director. “The Joffrey Ballet thrives on the diversity of our dancers and choreographers and to showcase this commitment via our Academy is simply thrilling.”

“It is vital to the Joffrey’s mission to nurture and empower the talent of diverse choreographers. Our Choreographers of Color initiative gives three artists the opportunity to create on our talented Trainees, gaining valuable experience as they continue on their exciting career paths,” Joffrey Executive Director Greg Cameron stated.

Jennifer Archibald is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Arch Dance Company and Program Director of ArchCore40 dance intensives.  She is a graduate of The Ailey School and the Maggie Flanigan Acting Conservatory where she studied the Meisner technique.   Archibald has choreographed for the Atlanta Ballet, Ailey II, Cincinnati Ballet, and worked commercially for Tommy Hilfiger, NIKE and MAC Cosmetics as well as chart-listed singers and actors.  Archibald’s works have been performed at venues including New York's City Center, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Aaron Davis Hall and Jacob's Pillow Inside|Out Stage.  In 2013, Jennifer was awarded a Choreographic Fellows for Ailey’s New Directions Choreography Lab under the direction of Robert Battle.  She also choreographed “Seven”, a biographical work about Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee, commissioned by St. Louis based MADCO dance company.  She has presented Arch Dance Company nationally having been awarded two National Performance Network grants; and by special invitation at notable dance festivals country wide.  She has staged various off-Broadway shows and choreographed for the musicals Carousel, Pippin, The Music Man and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She is currently on faculty at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, Gibney Dance, CAP21 America’s Musical Theatre Conservatory and a resident artist and lecturer at various institutions across the U.S. Internationally, she has taught master classes in Brazil, Bermuda, Canada, Slovenia, Sweden, France, Russia, Mexico, China, and Ecuador. In 2016 she will be creating a new work for the Cincinnati Ballet.  To learn more about Jennifer visit

Abdul Latif is a graduate of Wesleyan University and NYU Tisch School of the Arts, an MFA graduate-scholarship recipient of the Alvin Ailey and Joffrey Ballet School and a directing fellow at the T. Schrieber Acting Studio. Latif is currently a member of two dance companies: The Group, Donald Byrd’s contemporary ballet company and The Works, Jennifer Muller’s contemporary company. Latif has two Tony® Award-winning Broadway credits, including The Lion King as an ensemble cast member and Bonzai understudy directed by Julie Taymor and choreographed by Garth Fagan and an ensemble cast member and seaweed cover in Hairspray directed by Jack O’Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. He is the winner of the National ACT and the SO Arts Competition. He has made appearances as a special guest speaker at The Archdioceses of New York’s Waldorf Astoria Banquet by invitation of Cardinal O'Connor and Cardinal Egan. He has been a guest performer at the Cologne, Germany, Youth Summit for Pope Benedict XVI. He has been a guest teacher at Steps on Broadway in New York City, the Fendafor Festival in Brazil, Renaissance Arts Academy and Moves Institute in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Latif was the resident recipient of Ballet Hispanico’s Institutito Coreografico in 2012. He is the co-designer and founding choreographer of The Muller Works Foundation Choreographic Residency/Legacy Project. Latif is currently conceiving The NEXT Project, launching his urban-contemporary style, and is opening his Performing Arts Firm called Abdul Latif – D2D/T.

Stephanie Martinez is an award-winning Chicago dance artist with over 30 years professional performing experience. Her 2009 choreographic debut, AviMar, for Luna Negra Dance Theater’s 10th anniversary season, instantly secured her status as a sought-after dancemaker. She has since traveled the country choreographing for dance companies and universities, including Elements Contemporary Ballet, Visceral Dance Chicago, Chicago Dance Crash, Jacksonville University, Shenandoah University, Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond. In 2010, she assisted Broadway legend Ann Reinking in setting the Fosse Trilogy on Thodos Dance Chicago, as well as Daniel Ezralow, choreographer of Broadway’s Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, in remounting his celebrated work, Pulse, for Company C Contemporary Ballet in San Francisco. After a 17-year stint with River North Dance Chicago, for which she merited a Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Performance, Martinez joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago as a principal dancer for its productions of Manon and The Merry Widow, followed by the Marriott Theater's production of Swing. She has also performed with Luna Negra Dance Theater, Ron de Jesus Dance, Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre and has appeared as a special guest performer for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The “Winning Works 2015” program also includes a World Premiere by Joffrey Academy Artistic Director Alexei Kremnev titled Windy Sand. With music composed by Karen LeFrak, this piece is dedicated to the Lake Michigan and City of Chicago.

Ticket Information
Tickets for “Winning Works 2015” at the MCA Stage are $22 and available for purchase at the MCA’s official Box Office located at 220 East Chicago Ave., by telephone at 312-397-4010, or online at

About the Joffrey Academy Trainees and Joffrey Studio Company
The Trainee Program is a rigorous program with an internationally recognized reputation for excellence and gives students the skills needed to launch their careers into the professional world. Graduates from the Trainee Program have danced with companies around the world, including The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, Dresden Semperoper and many more.

The Joffrey Studio Company is a scholarship program of the Joffrey Academy, comprised of 10 outstanding students at the cusp of their professional careers. The individualized training and performance opportunities provided by the Joffrey Studio Company offers dancers exceptional insight into the life of a professional dancer and pushes dancers to realize their full artistic and technical potential.  

For more information on the Academy Trainees of the Joffrey Ballet, or other programs at the Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, please visit

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its “Winning Works 2015” Sponsors Katten Muchin Rosenman, LLP and The Edward and Lucy R. Minor Family Foundation, and to its Joffrey Academy of Dance Sponsors Allstate, Exelon and Athletico.

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