Chautauqua Institution today announced the appointment of celebrated artistic leader Sasha Janes as artistic director of its School of Dance. In this role, Janes will oversee the artistic vision and focus of one of the most respected summer programs in the dance world, cultivate a robust professional company and guest artist presence on the Institution grounds throughout the traditional nine-week Chautauqua Summer Assembly, and further dance residency initiatives year-round.
Janes, currently based in Bloomington, Indiana, serves as a professor of music in ballet at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Born in Perth, Australia, he received his formal dance training from the Australian Ballet School. He accepts his new leadership role following nearly two decades of experience with the Institution’s dance programs, beginning as a dancer in 2001 for the Chautauqua Festival Ballet, the former resident ballet company of the Institution, and then later as a choreographer, artistic advisor, director of contemporary studies, and most recently, Interim Director.
“Sasha is an incredible artist, educator, and leader, and we are fortunate at Chautauqua to benefit from his love for this community and mission as he leads the training of the next generation of dance professionals. He is deeply respected in his field and has already had a positive impact not only on our school of dance but on our relationships with top professional companies ranging from The Washington Ballet to Ballet Hispánico,” said Laura Savia, Chautauqua Institution vice president of performing and visual arts. “We are elated to announce Sasha’s appointment as artistic director and know this will thrill lovers of dance at Chautauqua who have come to know and appreciate his many talents over the past 20 years.”
Throughout his professional career, Janes has danced professionally with West Australian Ballet, Australian Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, and Dayton Ballet, performing principal roles in works by Jiri Kylian, George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Marius Petipa, Septime Webre, Anthony Tudor, Dwight Rhoden, Alonzo King, Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey, and Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, former artistic director of Charlotte Ballet, where Janes was a principal dancer for eight seasons, rehearsal director, and associate artistic director. Bonnefoux is Janes’ immediate predecessor as director of the Chautauqua School of Dance.
Janes was commissioned to choreograph his first ballet Lascia la Spina, Cogli la Rosa, in 2006 and has since choreographed over 40 ballets, including Wuthering Heights, Cinderella, Carmen, Dangerous Liaisons, We Danced Through Life, Last Lost Chance, Shelter, At First Sight, Loss, The Four Seasons, The Red Dress, Utopia, Playground Teasers, The Seed and the Soil, Chaconne, Queen, Sketches from Grace. His ballet Rhapsodic Dances was performed as part of the Kennedy Center’s Ballet Across America series in 2013. His works have been performed by Charlotte Ballet, UNCSA, Richmond Ballet, Indiana University, School of American Ballet, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
“Chautauqua has been an integral part of my creative life for over 20 years, having my first experience here as a performer at the Chautauqua Festival Ballet in 2001” Janes said. “Over the course of many summers, I have had the unique privilege of growing my artistic, creative, and administrative skills in the safety of a truly nurturing environment, not to mention, watching alongside my wife Rebecca, our children grow in confidence with every passing summer. Working alongside Jean Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride as they developed the Chautauqua School of Dance into the preeminent summer dance program it is today, I am extremely humbled and privileged to continue their legacy in this new leadership role.”
Under Janes’ leadership, the School of Dance has begun its search for a new associate director. For more information regarding the role, visit chq.org/employment.
ABOUT CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION
Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer — and year-round through the CHQ Assembly online platforms — with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through engaged dialogue.
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