By now you know I’m obsessed with Dance…most especially with our very own The Joffrey Ballet! I did a pre-announcement about this once in a hundred years event…THE ARPINO CHICAGO CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION…now here are all the details of this extraordinary two day happening. It is especially meaningful to me since I had the great honor and pleasure of doing fund-raising events with Mr. Arpino on several occasions when I was Fashion/Special Director at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago. And, of course, I have been thrilled to witness the talent and growth of this fabulous company. The following is the official release on the event…mark your calendar for JUNE 5TH when tickets go on sale. Beyond exciting….I’m sure you agree!
ARPINO CHICAGO CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
SEPT. 23–24 AT THE AUDITORIUM THEATRE:
8 BALLET COMPANIES FROM ACROSS U.S.
PERFORM RANGE OF ARTIST’S WORK
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gerald Arpino, one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, The Gerald Arpino Foundation presents the Arpino Chicago Centennial Celebration as the culminating event of a multiyear salute to this extraordinary choreographer and co-founder/director of The Joffrey Ballet. Performances take place September 23 and 24, 2023 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago.
The two programs, which feature ballet companies from across the U.S. performing works that span Arpino’s lengthy and prolific career, include (in alphabetical order):
Saturday, September 23, 7:30 p.m.American Ballet Theatre (New York): Sea Shadow (1962), set to music by Maurice Ravel, is Arpino’s romantic ode to Ondine, a young man on the beach who is enamored with a shadow from the sea in the guise of a beautiful creature. Photo: Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili of The Joffrey Ballet, photo by Herbert MigdollBallet West (Utah): RUTH, Ricordi per Due (2004) is an elegy to music by Tomasso Albinnoni and Arpino’s final work, commissioned and underwritten by Barbara Levy Kipper in honor of her mother, Ruth Doctoroff Levy. Former Ballet West artists Arolyn Williams (front) and Christopher Ruud, photo by Beau PearsonThe Joffrey Ballet (Illinois): Suite Saint-Saëns is Arpino’s 1978 masterwork, a showcase of classical movement in neoclassical style that epitomized the choreographer’s way of moving in the ’80s—with speed, energy and quality—set to Camille Saint-Saëns. José Pablo Castro Cuevas and Natalit Taht of The Joffrey Ballet, photo by Cheryl MannOklahoma City Ballet (Oklahoma): Birthday Variations (1986) was commissioned by Becky D’Angelo as a birthday present to her husband, Dino, owner of Chicago’s Civic Opera House and a fan of Giuseppe Verdi’s music, featured in this work. Leah Reiter (L) and Flannery Werner of Oklahoma City Ballet, photo by Jana Carson San Francisco Ballet (California): L’Air D’Esprit (1978), set to music from Giselle by Adolphe Adam, is a romantic and classical work in the traditional pas de deux form and a tribute to the ballerina Olga Spessivtzeva, one of Nijinski’s partners before the fall of Czarist Russia. Tina LeBlanc of The Joffrey Ballet, photo by Herbert Migdoll
Sunday, September 24, 1 p.m. (NOTE UPDATED TIME)Ballet West (Utah): Light Rain (1981), which Arpino created for The Joffrey Ballet’s Silver Anniversary to showcase the company’s new young dancers and represent their youth and energy, is set to music by Douglas Adamz and Russ Gauthier and remains among Arpino’s most popular works. Ballet West Principal Artists Emily Adams and Hadriel Diniz, photo by Beau PearsonComplexions Contemporary Ballet (New York): Valentine (1971), set to music by Jacob Druckman, is a quirky and humorous look at the battle of the sexes using a boxing arena as the setting for staccato and contemporary movement. Julianne Spratlin and Fabrice Camels of The Joffrey Ballet, photo by Herbert MigdollEugene Ballet (Oregon): Reflections (1971) is a neoclassical, pure dance ballet and a perfect example of the Arpino style—high lifts, a flying pace and classic beauty. This fast-paced and physically challenging ballet is set to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme for Violoncello and Orchestra.” Yumelia Garcia and Temur Suluashvili of The Joffrey Ballet, photo by Herbert MigdollThe Joffrey Ballet (Illinois): Round of Angels (1983) is an emotional ballet featuring a couple, destined to part, surrounded by five broken-winged angels. Set to the haunting Adagietto from Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, this work is dedicated to the memory of James R. Howell, a Joffrey member and Arpino’s lifelong friend and artistic associate. Victoria Jaiani, Sam Pergande and dancers of The Joffrey Ballet, photo by Herbert MigdollSan Francisco Ballet (California): L’Air D’Esprit (1978), set to music from Giselle by Adolphe Adam, is a romantic and classical work in the traditional pas de deux form and a tribute to the ballerina Olga Spessivtzeva, one of Nijinski’s partners before the fall of Czarist Russia. Tina LeBlanc and Glenn Edgerton of The Joffrey Ballet, photo by Herbert Migdoll.
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 presents
the Arpino Chicago Centennial Celebration
Saturday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m.,
Sunday, September 24 at 1 p.m.
at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago.
Tickets are $45–250; single tickets* go on sale June 5, available at
312.341.2300 and the Auditorium Theatre Box Office.
* Tickets are currently available as part of an Auditorium subscription.
All programming is subject to change.
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 arpinofoundation.org.Gerald Arpino by Herbert Migdoll