Pierre Lockett

Lexington Ballet: Guest (1980)
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Princeton Ballet (ca. 1988-1989)
Joffrey Ballet (1989-2002)

Pierre Lockett (left) and Beatriz Rodriguez in Structure with Joffrey Ballet, photo via The Sacramento Bee.
Pierre Lockett was born ca. 1960 and raised in Mobile, Alabama. As a child, Lockett had only seen one Black person perform: a member of the June Taylor Dancers on television (Chicago Tribune).
Planning on becoming a pharmacist, Lockett attended the University of Montevallo in Alabama, but during his first year, he was encouraged to audition for the school’s dance company, beginning his training at the late age of 20. He was later accepted into New York’s Joffrey Ballet School and as a student, performed with Lexington Ballet in their production of The Nutcracker. After only two years of training, Lockett became a full company member of Dance Theatre of Harlem. His first award came not long after—he was awarded the Princess Grace Award in 1984.
As a dancer with DTH, Lockett was part of the company’s original cast of David Gordon’s Piano Movers (1985).
He performed with the Princeton Ballet in the late 1980s before joining Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet in 1989. Lockett was considered a “lead dancer” and danced many principal roles. Here he remained for 13 years, until he retired in 2002.
Pierre Lockett and Yvonne Hall in Doina for Dance Theatre of Harlem, photo via The Burlington Free Press.

Lockett has several movie credits including Save the Last Dance as Les Presages Dancer (2001) and The Company as Ballet Master #2 (2003).

He joined Joffrey’s administrative staff in 1996, serving as the Director of Community Engagement and growing the school’s programming. He has worked with numerous dance schools, Chicago Public Schools, and the Chicago Park District. It has been said that “Mr. Lockett combines his passion for dance and his desire to inspire youth through invigorating dance programs” (Princess Grace Foundation).
After his time at Joffrey, Lockett founded, and currently serves as the executive director of, Forward Momentum Chicago in 2013.

Lockett’s awards include the aforementioned Princess Grace Award (1984), the Black Theatre Alliance/Ira Aldridge Award for Best Performance in a Music or Dance Program (1999), the Artist of the Year Award from the Hyde Park School of Ballet (2006), and Distinguished Service to the Arts Award from the Lawyers for the Creative Arts (2018). He has also served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Pierre Lockett rehearsing The Nutcracker for Princeton Ballet, photo via Asbury Park Press, 1988.


Repertory List: Dance Theatre of Harlem, Columbia University Libraries
Pierre Lockett, Princess Grace Foundation-USA
Meet the Team, Forward Momentum Chicago
Pierre Lockett, Chicago Faculty Bios
Pierre Lockett, IMDB
Dance: Pierre Lockett to Leave Joffrey; Longtime Joffrey Figure Transitioning to Expanded Community Role in Chicago, BDBB: The Black Dance and Broadway Blog
What’s Happening at Springhill Dance, Mobile Alabama
Rock’n’ballet: Joffrey keeps expanding world of dance, The Sacramento Bee
Kids gain power to dance to another tune, Chicago Tribune
‘Nutcracker’ perennial favorite, Asbury Park Press
Lexington Ballet to Do ‘Nutcracker’, The Lexington Herald
A Certain Style, The Burlington Free Press
Princess Grace awards celebrated, Daily News

Video links:

After School Matters
Episode 1 | Pierre Lockett | Pratibimb-Reflections of an Artist In conversation with Bijoy Shivram

Social media:

LinkedIn Pierre Lockett

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