Katlin Michael Bourgeois

Having done stints at San Francisco’s Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and DanceWorks Chicago, Katlin Michael Bourgeois comes with an enviable pedigree. Add to that the founding of a dance company in 2018 and a gig as resident choreographer for Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, and Bourgeois was the perfect choice to shape young talent as head of the Joffrey Ballet’s contemporary ballet trainee program, now in its second year. A queer, nonbinary artist originally from Louisiana and known for their fluidity and improvisation, Bourgeois, 30, mentors students from a “place of love,” they say, encouraging authenticity and self-empowerment. “My approach is more mental than physical. The students already have skill, so I’m trying to change the way they think, which will change the way they dance.”