Jodie Gates — a former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet who has since become one of Southern California’s most prominent dance leaders — will become the director of the new USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Gates is a professor of dance at the University of California, Irvine.
USC announced the appointment Thursday, saying that the school will admit its first students in fall 2015.
“Jodie Gates is the perfect person for the job,” Kaufman said in a statement. “She is keenly aware of the unique needs of a dancer and the importance of a first-rate curriculum.”
In 2012, it was announced that Kaufman was donating an undisclosed sum of money to USC for the creation of the dance school. The philanthropist is the widow of Donald Kaufman, a founder of the home-building company KB Home with Eli Broad.
USC said Gates will begin her new job in August. Her official title will be vice dean and director of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. She will also hold the academic title of professor at the university.
Gates founded the Laguna Dance Festival in 2005. The event brings international dance companies to Orange County. She is also a choreographer and has worked with dance companies around the world.
The school will be housed in the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center, which is in the design phase and is expected to be completed in time for the school’s first students, according to USC.
[Updated: a previous version this post described Gates as the dean of the new school. She will be the “director” of the school.]