Willy Shives -
2021 Guest Instructor
WILLY SHIVES has been recognized as one of the most charismatic dancers of his time and declared by the New York Times as “an astounding dancer.” He danced his way into an enduring and award-winning professional career that included companies in New York, Chicago, Austin, Tulsa, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh. Shives held a brilliant 16- year tenure with the Joffrey Ballet, first as a leading dancer before moving into the role of ballet master. He was named Chicagoan of the Year in 2003. In 2004, the Chicago Dance and Music Alliance honored him with an award for “Outstanding Artistry.” Later in 2005, the Dallas Dance Council presented Shives with the Natalie Skelton Texas Legacy Award for Artistic Achievement.
In 2015, Shives was named Artistic Director of Ballet San Antonio. He is credited for elevating the overall esthetic of the Texas ballet company, earning the distinction “Best Arts Organization” in 2017 by San Antonio Magazine. In 2018 Shives changed course, leaving San Antonio to pursue other creative and international projects, which include master classes, coaching and choreography. He has created over a dozen original works and reconstructed and restaged four full-length classical ballets in the last three years: Don Quixote, Giselle, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. Shives remains an active répétiteur for the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust and the Gerald Arpino Foundation. He is part of an esteemed international panel of master teachers and judges for the World Ballet Competition (WBC).
Shives received his early start in dance with the Rio Grande Valley Ballet in Texas. He went on to receive his formal ballet training under George Balanchine at the School of American Ballet in New York City on a Ford Foundation Scholarship. He also trained at the Houston Ballet Academy and at the Harkness Ballet in New York City. In 1981, Shives married his childhood sweetheart Evie Peña. Thirty-seven years later, the Shives' and their two beautiful daughters have remained steadfast and passionate, choosing to live a life filled with family, art, laughter, and love.