Anonymous, Visual Arts ’24. Untitled. 2021, Painting.

A student in a dance pose on stage

A Day in the Life

The Dance Conservatory leads with a student-centered, trauma-informed, and interdisciplinary approach that aims to empower young people to seek and share their unique voice, artistry, and leadership. The program is designed to give scholar-artists a strong foundation in a wide variety of dance styles that ensure all graduates are prepared to enter the professional field of dance and/or post-secondary education with scholarship opportunities. ChiArts dance scholar-artists receive professional training from top-notch faculty who have experience working with globally recognized instructors, performers, choreographers, and companies.

27 Pre-Professional & Donor-Funded Courses Offered

12 Dedicated Faculty Members

40+ Alumni Signed with Professional Companies

99% College & Training Program Attendance

Dance Alumni Stories
Alumnus Travon M. Williams in a dance pose

Travon M. Williams

The Ailey School Certificate Program
Company Member of internationally renowned Ailey II, and recently featured on HBO Max’s Legendary (TV Series)
Close up of alumna Imani English

Imani English

Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s professional training company, Encore!
Freelance Choreographer and Dance Faculty for The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts), Visceral Dancer Center, and Extensions Dance Center
Students get dance instruction in the hallway

What Do Scholar-Artists Gain?

  1. Pre-professional training in ballet/pointe, modern (Horton, Graham), contemporary (jazz, modern), conditioning, Spanish, African, hip hop, and tap.
  2. Transformative programing that embraces and affirms diversity, culture, and individuality.
  3. A foundation of holistic practices through additional courses focusing on wellness, professional development, yoga, and developing virtuosity.
  4. Master classes with nationally and internationally recognized dancers, choreographers, and companies.
A group of 14 dancers strike a complicated group pose

Performances & Arts Partnerships

ChiArts’ Dance Conservatory hosts 6+ public performances, choreography showcases, and cross-conservatory productions each year. The conservatory produces annual performance traditions such as A Not So Nutcracker, Nutcracker, RootED – a tribute to origins and creativity of Black dance, and the Senior Choreography Showcase. In 2023, dance scholar-artists had the opportunity to take a masterclasses with DanceWorks Chicago, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Mouminatou Camara, founder of Seewe African Dance Company, ChiArts Dance ’21 alum Darius Murray, and LINES Ballet Company Member, Joshua Francique. The Dance Conservatory prioritizes community engagement and youth empowerment by touring their original productions. In 2023, ChiArts scholar-artists performed excerpts of RootED for Black History Month at Chicago’s Tarkington School of Excellence.

Expert Leadership

Tracey Franklin is a powerful ChiArts leader who has showcased her skillset in both leadership and teaching artist roles. For the past ten years, Ms. Franklin has been a dedicated instructor in the ChiArts Dance Conservatory, Department Assistant, Assistant Dean, and now holds the role of Dance Department Head.

As a Chicago native, Ms. Franklin began her training at the age of 16 at Joseph Holmes Dance Theater. In 1999, Ms. Franklin graduated from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Certificate Program. In 2000, Ms. Franklin was a company member of Dallas Black Dance Theater for four years. In 2004, she returned to Chicago as a company member with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater for 12 years.

Two students perform a dance together on stage

You make it possible

With your help, the ChiArts Foundation will raise more than $3 million this year to fully fund ChiArts’ five arts conservatories and provide a safe and supportive environment for scholar-artists to flourish during and beyond high school.