Though former Joffrey Ballet prima ballerina Jodie Gates no longer pirouettes across international dance stages, she has kept in constant motion as a choreographer, founding director of the Laguna Dance Festival and dance professor at UC Irvine.
Her academic career took another leap in April when the University of Southern California appointed her to become director of the new USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.
While starting work at USC in August, she will continue to live in town and lead the annual dance festival, which takes place in September.
As a professor, Gates has taught advanced ballet, choreographic composition, classical and contemporary repertory and mentored student projects. “It is an opportunity to share my vision and help birth a new, innovative dance school on the west coast,” said Gates of her new post.
Gates, who retired from the stage in 2005 and moved to Laguna Beach, founded the dance fest a year later. Since then, she has showcased a diverse group of dancers from companies such as the American Ballet Theatre, the New York City Ballet, Trey McIntyre Project and Complexions Contemporary Ballet.
Complexions’ Desmond Richardson returns to Laguna next week to teach a master class and star in a festival fundraising benefit at Seven Degrees.