By now you think I am totally obsessed with the Joffrey and guess what you would be correct. My love for them began when they made their first visit to Chicago when they were still new and based in New York. I was lucky to tag along with my BFF, Barbara Varro, who at the time was fashion editor at the Chicago Sun-Times and was given the assignment to see a performance and interview Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino backstage after the performance! What a thrill!! I have loved ballet since I was a little girl sitting on my father’s lap watching all the wonder of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo…wow, I am really dating myself. Fast forward to me at Saks when I had the opportunity to work with the Joffrey for many special events benefiting the organization. Mr. Arpino graciously always attended and I was able to chat with him about his incredible productions…again What A Thrill! Fast forward even further when I became fast friends with the current outstanding team that is the Joffrey today, Ashley Wheater, Greg Cameron and Brian Smith… as well as another bestie, a Joffrey alum, Michael Anderson, again lucky me! It is, therefore, my privilege to share the advanced information on the Gerald Arpino Centennial Celebration on September 23 and 24 at the Auditorium Theater. Tickets go on sale in March….mark your calendar now, this is obviously a once in a lifetime opportunity to see so many outstanding Arpino ballets performed by so many diverse companies…who knows this might be the catalyst to end my seclusion!


The Arpino Chicago Centennial Celebration takes place September 23 and 24, 2023 at the historic Auditorium Theatre. Video courtesy of HMS.

January 14, 2023 marked the 100th birthday of Gerald Arpino, one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. As the culminating event in a multiyear salute to this extraordinary choreographer and co-founder/director of The Joffrey Ballet, The Gerald Arpino Foundationannounces the Chicago Centennial Celebration featuring ballet companies from around the country performing the choreographer’s work on one stage. Performances take place September 23 and 24, 2023 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago. Tickets go on sale in March 2023 at

The participating companies and the works they are performing are as follows:

Saturday, September 23, 7:30 p.m.
American Ballet Theatre (New York): Sea Shadow
Ballet West (Utah): RUTH, Ricordi per Due
The Joffrey Ballet (Illinois): Suite Saint-Saëns
Oklahoma City Ballet (Oklahoma): Birthday Variations
San Francisco Ballet (California): L’Air D’Esprit

Sunday, September 24, 2:00 p.m.
Ballet West (Utah): Light Rain
Complexions Contemporary Ballet (New York): Valentine
Eugene Ballet (Oregon): Reflections
The Joffrey Ballet (Illinois): Round of Angels
San Francisco Ballet (California): L’Air D’Esprit

Updates will be available on the Foundation’s website, All programming is subject to change.

Gerald Arpino (1923–2008) was a visionary choreographer who, along with Robert Joffrey, created a ballet company and a body of work that has made a singular and enduring impact on American ballet. Throughout his 50-year career, Arpino created nearly 50 ballets for The Joffrey Ballet. From landmark works like Trinity and Round of Angels to Suite Saint-Saëns and Light Rain, Arpino was a masterful artist and entertainer whose work brought audiences to their feet time and again.

The Gerald Arpino Foundation is committed to preserving and promoting the choreographic works of Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey while maintaining the integrity of their works through the highest level of artistic excellence. The Foundation allows qualified organizations the right to license Arpino’s and Joffrey’s choreographic works and offers repertory workshops, lectures, and master classes to teach a new generation of dancers the choreography and style of Joffrey and Arpino.

For more information, visit

Still photos top to bottom:
The Joffrey Ballet in Suite Saint-Saëns, photo by Cheryl Mann
Former Ballet West artists Arolyn Williams and Christopher Ruud in RUTH, Ricordi per Due, photo by Beau Pearson
Gerald Arpino, photo by Herbert Migdoll


  1. Shelley January 16, 2023 / 9:10 pm

    Nena, so excited to learn of this wonderful celebration! This will be a fantastic weekend! Gerald was such a good friend and mentor. This will be a wonderful accumulation of his works. It is on my calendar!

    • nenasnotes January 16, 2023 / 9:26 pm

      I could not agree more!!!! It is definitely a once in a lifetime event!!!!! Hugs….

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