In 1956, six young dancers made up what was then known as the Robert Joffrey Theater Dancers, an ensemble that toured around the United States in a borrowed station wagon pulling a U-Haul trailer filled with costumes and recorded music. Their mission was to spread an interest in classical ballet to areas that may not have ever seen it performed. Led by fellow dancer and budding choreographer Gerald Arpino, they danced in school gymnasiums, on university campuses and in small town theaters while their namesake stayed behind in New York City to run his studio and make money to pay the dancers’ salaries. From this meager beginning, the company rose to prominence as one of the major forces in American dance.
Source: Joffrey | History of The Joffrey Ballet | American Masters | PBS