The Guthrie Theater has hired a former Spike Lee and Bill T. Jones collaborator as its new director of professional training.

Maija García, the Cuban-American director, dance maker and educator who choreographed this summer's "West Side Story," will step into the job Oct. 8. She will be the theater's liaison for the University of Minnesota/Guthrie bachelor of fine arts actor training program while also overseeing the theater's internship and fellowship programs. García succeeds Marcela Lorca, who also directed and choreographed productions for the Guthrie. Lorca left those roles last spring to become artistic director of Ten Thousand Things.

The new role positions García to "empower a rising generation of theater makers who will carry the torch," she said in a statement.

García previously served as director of movement for a number of Lee projects, including his current film, "BlacKkKlansman." She also worked with director/choreographer Jones to develop the Broadway musical, "Fela!" for which she served as creative director.

In addition to helming her own company, the New York City-based Organic Magnetics, García has directed and choreographed internationally, including at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the National Theatre in London. She is also an adjunct faculty member of The City College of New York.

Having worked with García on "West Side Story," Guthrie artistic director Joseph Haj said in a statement, "I experienced her passion for mentoring young people firsthand, and her meaningful engagement with each of the actors, both onstage and offstage, was exciting to witness."