The Chicago Academy for the Arts has brought internationally acclaimed choreographers to the school, both as faculty members and guest instructors for three decades.
The Chicago Academy for the Arts Repertory Dance Company, under the guidance of Artistic Director Randy Duncan and Associate Director Natalie Rast with special coaching by Harriet Ross, engages several outstanding Academy dancers to participate in additional performances throughout the year. The Company aims to preserve world-class works of professional choreographers and to promote Academy students as youth ambassadors to Chicago’s dance community, representing pre-professional artists.
The Repertory Dance Company routinely replaces professional dance companies at the National High School Dance Festival as the event’s professional guest. Exemplary dancers also have the opportunity to present Dance Department Chair Randy Duncan’s choreography in the annual Dance for Life event, a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS research. Additionally, Mr. Duncan frequently invites these dancers to be demonstrators in professional masterclasses.
The Repertory Company also has the privilege of working with highly respected and world-class dance coach Harriet Ross. Ross has been a key figure in The Academy’s dance family for many years, serving as an advisor, coach, student mentor, and fierce advocate for the school in the wider Chicagoland dance community. Ross is a graduate of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York and The Juilliard School. Ross served as General Manager of The Joffrey Ballet since its beginning in Chicago, 1995 to 2006, and was Founding Managing Director of the Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey Foundation until 2011. She is a core member of Chicago Dancers United, which organizes Dance For Life Chicago, an event that has raised millions of dollars to support organizations and dance community professionals with critical health issues including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS though the art of dance. Furthermore, in 1994, Ross founded the Dancer’s Fund, which gives direct grants to those in the dance world fighting disease.