Willy Shives

Ballet Instructor and Coach
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.
Shives has also garnered international acclaim for his artistry as a coach
and repetiteur. He serves both the Gerald Arpino Foundation and Antony
Tudor Trust. In 2019, he began his affiliation with the Universal Ballet in
Seoul, South Korea. He staged Apino’s “Ruth Ricordi per Due” for the
company’s Special Gala Celebration. Shives is part of an esteemed
international panel of master teachers and judges for the World Ballet
Competition (WBC).
Shives was appointed to direct Ballet San Antonio from 2015-2018. He
elevated the company during his tenure, earning the distinction “Best Arts
Organization” by San Antonio Magazine 2017. By 2018 Shives was ready
to pursue other creative and international projects. He has created over a
dozen original works and reconstructed and restaged several full-length
classical ballets including: Don Quixote, Giselle, The Nutcracker and
Sleeping Beauty.
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. Today, the Shives’ and their two beautiful
daughters have remained steadfast and passionate, choosing to live a life
filled with family, faith, art, laughter, and love.