Jodie Gates

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Jodie Gates is the Vice Dean of the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at the University of Southern California, where she is also a Professor of Dance. She is the first director of the program and oversees the artistic vision of the Kaufman School. In 2005, Ms. Gates founded the non-profit presenting organization, Laguna Dance Festival. The organization is active with bringing dance performances and educational opportunities to the community and is based in Laguna Beach, California.


Jodie Gates is Vice Dean and Artistic Director of the University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, where she is also a professor of dance. She is the new school’s first 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 – this new model immerses students in a variety of foundational dance styles, and has them become fluent in technologies, such as animation and video, that increasingly impact the dance world. 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.


She has choreographed over 70 works classical ballet companies as well as contemporary ballet companies. As an internationally recognized choreographer, Ms. Gates has created original dance works for stage and screen. Her work has been called “visually compelling, powerful, beautiful,” by the Philadelphia Inquirer and “richly textured and profound,” by the Orange County Register. She worked with the musical artist, Prince, in the Joffrey Ballet's rock ballet Billboards. Her choreography has been performed by Ballet West, Staatsballett Berlin, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary, BalletX among others. Her work has also been presented in national television commercials, The Kennedy Center, New York’s City Center Theater, the Helsinki International Ballet Competition and Vail International Dance Festival. 

Gates' works include: Barely Silent premiered at The Joyce Theatre in New York City on January 2007, commissioned for Complexions Contemporary Ballet; Minor Loop for The Washington Ballet in June 2006; Momentary Play premiered in New York for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in October 2005, now and again, premiered at the Joyce Theater and created for New York City Ballet in 2005; Three at a Time for the Laguna Dance Theater in 2005; In the Arms of Morpheus for the now-disbanded Phrenic New Ballet in Philadelphia in 2004; Somewhere/In-Between, created for the now-disbanded Ballet Pacifica in 2003; Por Ti, choreographed for the American Ballet Theatre's summer workshop in 2003; and an original work for Pennsylvania Ballet dancers in 2000. [1]

Her more recent projects and collaborations include choreography for the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board "Discover Los Angeles" national commercial in 2017, which included students from the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. In the same year, she collaborated with recording artist Ryan Lott (Son Lux) on an original ballet for Ballet X in Philadelphia, PA. In September of 2019, Gates premiered a new work for Sacramento Ballet,


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 Mariinsky 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. 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, among other well-known venues. She was a muse for celebrated choreographer Robert Joffrey, originating many roles while dancing with The Joffrey Ballet, and has worked with a host of renowned choreographers, including Merce Cunningham, Agnes de Mille, Paul Taylor and Gerald Arpino. As an internationally recognized choreographer, Ms. Gates has published more than 60 original dance works. She has been commissioned by dozens of dance companies and academic institutions, and 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 worked with the musical artist, Prince, in the Joffrey Ballet's rock ballet Billboards.


Gates regularly stages the ballets of renowned choreographer William Forsythe for companies such as the Paris Opera Ballet, Scottish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Prague National Theatre Ballet, Zurich Opera Ballet, Teatro alla Scala, Houston Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet. The Glorya Kaufman School of Dance has access to a plethora of works by Forsythe because of her expertise and experience with his choreography.

Laguna Beach Dance Festival[edit]

Locally, Ms. Gates 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 and community engagement, and presented dozens of the nation’s top contemporary dance companies. The Dance Festival has brought world-class performances, choreographers, teachers and arts programs to Laguna Beach. In October of 2018, Gates curated "Stars of Dance," which was an evening consisting of both professional dancers and students of the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. The evening included works by Gates, Barak Marshall, and Aszure Barton.


Ms. Gates is a leader in arts administration and education, and was a Professor at UC Irvine from 2006 – 2013 prior to her appointment as Professor and Vie Dean at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. She is currently a Professor of Dance, teaching ballet and coaching repertory to the BFA Dance Majors within the program. Ms. Gates has taught master classes for several professional ballet and contemporary dance companies, both national and international.

Honors, Awards, and Recognitions[edit]

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. Her dance education includes the School of American Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet School, the Milwaukee Ballet School and the Sacramento Ballet School. She has been featured in numerous television programs and festivals, and has performed at the 1993 presidential inauguration, and before presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Articles, Reviews, and Recorded Content[edit]

Dance Magazine: [1] Dance USA Leadership Corner: [2] The Orange County Register Most Influential 2016: [3] My Hero Project Documentary 2014: [4] Conversations on Dance Podcast: [5] Dance Teacher Vice Dean Announcement: [6] Dance Teacher USC's Dance Season: [7] Voice of Orange County Laguna Beach Dance Festival "Stars of Dance" Review: [8] Voice of Orange County Laguna Music/Dance Festival Collaboration Article: [9]


  1. ^ "Faculty | Department of Dance | Claire Trevor School of the Arts". 2009-05-30. Retrieved 2016-12-04.

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