About Jodie Gates

Laguna Beach, California

Jodie Gates (CBA ’22) has established a longstanding career as an artistic director, arts educator, choreographer, stager, curator and dancer. In January 2022, Ms. Gates was appointed Artistic Director of Cincinnati Ballet, where she will officially begin her new position in the summer of 2022. Her recent work has been as facilitator for the “Artistic Directors Coalition for Ballet in America”, a group of directors and educators who are addressing systemic racism and inequities within the culture of ballet. She is formerly a principal ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Complexions. She has choreographed over sixty original dance works for stage and screen, with commissions performed at the Kennedy Center, New York’s City Center Theater, Staatsballett Berlin, and the Vail International Dance Festival, among others. She has also choreographed for companies including Ballet West, Cincinnati Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Complexions, Kansas City Ballet, and BalletX. Gates represents William Forsythe Productions as a stager, and has taught and coached productions at The Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Prague National Theater, Zurich Opera Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Houston Ballet, Scottish Ballet and Teatro La Scala, among others. She is an American Ballet Theater/Altria Choreography Fellow and a recipient of the Jerome Robbins Foundation New Essential Works Program and the American Association of University Women. Currently, she is Artistic Director of the Laguna Dance Festival and is the Founding Director of the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at the University of Southern California, where she is also a Professor of Dance. She received a Psychology of Leadership Certificate from Cornell University SC Johnson College of Business and studied at the Higher Education Leadership Program for Women at Bryn Mawr College.

Embracing a Broader Vision of Inclusion and Identity in Ballet
At CBA, Gates documented ways in which ballet can move forward as an inclusive and relevant movement model for artistic identity. Gates’s research examines the culture and identity in ballet through her lived experience as a professional ballerina, choreographer, arts educator and director, while exploring new positive leadership models that can be implemented with practical knowledge. Ballet inherently has systemic obstacles that exclude individuals, and with this study the hope is to acknowledge the issues within historical practices and power structures, and uncover new approaches to support all individuals who wish to practice ballet, and demystify the art form. At the core of the research is common humanity and how individual experience captures different cultures and epochs and brings this information into the creative dance space. During the CBA fellowship residency, she worked with a small group of dance artists whose experiences, shared through ballet vocabulary, explore the “image and idealism” of ballet that evokes a deep universal response.


Headshot of Jodie Gates wearing a blue blouse. Jodie has brown, shoulder-length hair.

Photo by Ralph Palumbo.

No credit.

Photo by Ian Carney.

Photo by Enrico Nawrath.

Headshot of Jodie Gates wearing a blue blouse. Jodie has brown, shoulder-length hair.