TUESDAY MUSINGS: THE JOFFREY BALLET CHICAGO ANNOUNCES 2022-2023 SEASON

BEYOND BORDERS KICKS OFF THE 2022-2023 SEASON
Fernando Duarte and Hansel Jeong…photo by Cheryl Mann

By now you are aware that I adore The Joffrey Ballet, interesting factoid we began our careers in the same year…1956, The Joffrey in New York and me in Chicago. I fell in love with them the first time they came to Chicago, many years ago and my delight that they now call Chicago home! Now imagine my excitement when I received the lengthy press release for the beyond enticing announcement of their 2022-2023 season! I am sharing the entire release below, and, yes, I do know it’s a lot of information but want you to get these dates on your calendar and get your season tickets NOW! But wait there is more just in case you aren’t aware of what is happening before Beyond Borders kicks off its 2022-2023 season October 12th.

Its spring program which includes the world-premiere adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men by choreographer Cathy Marston (featuring an original composition by Academy Award®-nominated composer Thomas Newman), and the Joffrey premiere of Serenade by dance pioneer George Balanchine, presented during the Joffrey’s first-ever season at the historic Lyric Opera House in downtown Chicago at 20 North Upper Wacker Drive, in 10 performance only, April 27–May 8, 2022. And Don Quixote, a family-friendly ballet full of bravery, fantasy, and love, Yuri Possokhov’s fresh interpretation of this revered ballet classic centers on Don Quixote, an aging and eccentric nobleman, who imagines himself to be a valiant knight. With his trusted sidekick Sancho Panza in tow, Quixote embarks on a humorous and fateful journey, ready to breathe life into a world where windmills become monsters and adventure awaits beyond the horizon. Performances June 2-12, choreography by Yuri Possokhov, music by Ludwig Mingus.

DON QUIXOTE
Amanda Assucena as Kitri. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

67th Season Highlights Include:

Chicago Premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid

The Return of Vespertine by Liam Scarlett and Suite Saint-Saëns by Gerald Arpino

World Premiere from Choreographer Chanel DaSilva

The Return of Yuri Possokhov’s Blockbuster Anna Karenina and
Christopher Wheeldon’s Holiday Classic The Nutcracker

Plus

World Premiere of Rita Finds Home, Joffrey’s New Family-Friendly Ballet from
Choreographer Amy Hall Garner, Author Karla Estela Rivera, Illustrator Elisa Chavarri

New Works from Choreographers Cathy Marston and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa,
in Collaboration with Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The Return of Winning Works at the MCA Chicago

All season performances take place at Lyric Opera House in downtown Chicago at 20 North Upper Wacker Drive. All programs throughout the season feature live music performed by Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.

“March 14, 2022 (Chicago) – Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet, today announces the Joffrey’s 2022–2023 Season at Lyric Opera House, featuring a world premiere from a rising choreographic star, a revival from a Joffrey icon, the return of a Joffrey blockbuster, and a full-length story ballet of such grand scale that it is rarely seen in the United States. The Joffrey Ballet begins its 67th season with Beyond Borders, October 12–23, 2022, a mixed program that pays tribute to the Joffrey’s maverick legacy with works by artists of its past and present. It includes an original work from choreographer Chanel DaSilva (creator of the Joffrey world premiere Swing Low, featured during the Joffrey’s 2021–2022 Season), and returning works by choreographerLiam Scarlett and Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino. Soon after, the Joffrey celebrates the return of Christopher Wheeldon’s magical production of The Nutcracker, December 3–27, 2022, followed by the remount of Yuri Possokhov’s blockbuster Anna Karenina, winner of the 2019 “Oscars of Dance” Benois de la Danse International Prize for Best Choreography, February 15–26, 2023. Closing the season in glorious fashion is the long-awaited Chicago premiere of John Neumeier’s hauntingly beautiful interpretation of The Little Mermaid, soon to be the largest production ever mounted by The Joffrey Ballet, April 19–April 30, 2023.

“Over the last several years, the Joffrey has striven to curate performances that speak to our ambitions, provide a voice to rising choreographic talent, and reach audiences everywhere,” said Wheater. “The Joffrey’s 67th season not only highlights inspiring new works from artists like Chanel DaSilva and classics like the Joffrey’s own Gerald Arpino, paired with grand story ballets by two giants of the art form in Yuri Possokhov and John Neumeier, but also new commissions from Cathy Marston and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and an original family-friendly ballet from Amy Hall Garner that is designed to assemble easily in neighborhoods and on stages across Chicago and beyond. We are committed to artistic excellence and a Joffrey for All, part of our mission to ensure that dance is for everyone. My hope is that this coming year shows the extent of that commitment.”

“The Joffrey mission and Ashley’s artistic vision remain at the forefront of the field,” added Greg Cameron, President and CEO of the Joffrey. “We have embraced the idea of community, much like our founder, Robert Joffrey, who believed that dance was a universal language that spoke to everyone. This season, we bring Chicago exceptional works of art that demonstrate the Joffrey’s standing among the great dance companies of the world, but also our intention to be collaborative and impactful partners in the Chicago community and beyond. As Mr. Joffrey himself once said of this company, ‘Classical ballet is our core, but it is not our circumference.’ That sentiment rings true today more than ever.”

Beyond Borders, October 12–23, 2022

“Classical ballet is our core, but it is not our circumference.” –Robert Joffrey

The Joffrey begins its 2022–2023 season with a mixed program that celebrates the company’s maverick legacy with works by artists of the Joffrey’s past and present, including Joffrey icon and co-founder Gerald Arpino, choreographer Liam Scarlett, and choreographer Chanel DaSilva, creator of the Joffrey world premiere Swing Low.

The full program is as follows:


Suite Saint-Saëns

Choreography: Gerald Arpino | Music: Camille Saint-Saëns

Joffrey co-founder Arpino’s Suite Saint-Saëns weaves classical movement with the late choreographer’s signature neo-classical style of speed, energy, and quality. With its dappled lighting and lilting score, this American masterwork was once described by choreographer Agnes DeMille as like “standing in a flight of meteors.” Learn more about Gerald Arpino here.

World Premiere

Choreography: Chanel DaSilva | Music: Cristina Spinei

DaSilva returns for a second original creation, following her 2021 critically acclaimed company debut,Swing Low (described by the Chicago Tribune as a “tour de force”). One of the most in-demand artists working today, DaSilva brings her storytelling prowess back to Chicago for another sure-to-be-glorious world premiere. Learn more about Chanel DaSilva here.

Vespertine

Choreography: Liam Scarlett | Music: Bjarte Eike, John Dowland, Arcangelo Corelli, Francesco Geminiani

Scarlett takes inspiration from Baroque era classics in this hypnotic performance of expert lyricism and elegance. Illuminated under the subtle glow of crystal chandeliers, with chic costumes designed by Scarlett himself, Vespertine puts a modern twist on the romantic era of the late 18th century. Learn more about Liam Scarlett here.

The Nutcracker, December 3–27, 2022
Choreography: © Christopher Wheeldon | Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

THE NUTCRACKER

Magic is on the horizon for young Marie and the Nutcracker Prince, thanks to a visit from the charming but mysterious Great Impresario. At the stroke of midnight on a snowy Christmas Eve, when the lines between fantasy and reality blur together, Marie sets out on an unforgettable journey through Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, a marvel of sights, sounds, and enchantment. This annual holiday tradition celebrates the magic of the season and the rich cultural heritage of Chicago.

A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker features an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author Brian Selznick, Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer
Ben Pearcy/59 Productions. Learn more about Christopher Wheeldon here.

The Nutcracker is presented in 25 performances, December 3–27, 2022.

With gratitude to The Nutcracker Commissioning Sponsors: Margot and Josef Lakonishok, Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Hancher Auditorium, University of Iowa, and the many “Believers”.

Anna Karenina, February 15–26, 2023

ANNA KARENINA
Victoria Jaiani and Alberto Velazquez
photo by Cheryl Mann

Love is all-consuming for the beautiful but married Anna, who finds herself caught in a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Vronsky. Set in the late 19th century of Imperial Russia, Possokhov’s immersive adaptation—winner of the 2019 “Oscars of Dance” Benois de la Danse International Prize for Best Choreography—returns to the Joffrey for the first time since its successful world premiere in 2019. This blockbuster ballet, based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy, features an original composition by award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky, costumes and sets by Emmy-Award-winning designer Tom Pye, and lighting by famed designer David Finn. Learn more about Yuri Possokhov here.

Choreography: Yuri Possokhov | Original Score: Ilya Demutsky

Anna Karenina is presented in 10 performances, February 15–26, 2023.

With gratitude to Anna Karenina Commissioning Sponsors: Producing Sponsors Margot and Josef Lakonishok and NIB Foundation; Major Sponsors Lorna Ferguson and Terry Clark, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, Mr. and Mrs. Joel V. Williamson, The Walter E. Heller Foundation, JHL Capital Group, Jane Ellen Murray Foundation, Diane and John Patience, Poetry Foundation, Rudolf Nureyev Fund at The Joffrey Ballet; and Sponsors Mary Jo and Doug Basler, Ethel and William Gofen, Bill and Orli Staley Foundation, and the Australian Consulate-General in Chicago.

The Little Mermaid, April 19–30, 2023
Choreography: John Neumeier | Original Score: Lera Auerbach

Chicago Premiere

A gripping tableau of shadows and colors, Neumeier’s beautifully haunting interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 fairytale follows the tormented mermaid heroine on a journey between the divergent worlds of land and sea—one utterly complex, the other magnificently serene. With sets and costumes of the grandest scale, this fantastical love story, based on Andersen’s original and decidedly complex themes, makes its long-awaited Chicago debut. Learn more about John Neumeier, Director and Chief Choreographer of The Hamburg Ballet, here. Not recommended for children ages 12 and under.

The Little Mermaid is presented in 10 performances, April 19–30, 2023. Special thanks to The Little Mermaid Production Sponsor Pamela Crutchfield.

New Commissions and Premieres in 2022

The Joffrey is also proud to announce three forthcoming world premieres in the summer and fall of 2022: the world premiere of Rita Finds Home, a new family-friendly ballet from the creative teamAmy Hall Garner (featured choreographer of the Joffrey’s Winning Works Choreographic Competition in 2011), author Karla Estela Rivera, and illustrator Elisa Chavarri; and two commissioned world premieres from choreographers Cathy Marston, choreographer of the Joffrey world premiere Of Mice and Men, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, choreographer of the original Joffrey creation Mammatus, in collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Rita Finds Home, a collaborative project between the Joffrey and Miami City Ballet, makes its debut at the Navy Pier Lake Stage, July 9–10, 2022, with additional free presentations throughout the summer; times and dates for the Joffrey’s collaboration with the CSO are to be announced.

More information for both performances will be released at a later date.

Special thanks to Rita Finds Home Commissioning Sponsors: Denise Littlefield Sobel, The Pritzker Foundation, Lorna Ferguson and Terry Clark, Greg Cameron and Greg Thompson, Dr. Rebecca L. Sherrick, Fry Foundation with Amina Dickerson, Chicago Park District, the National Endowment for the Arts; and to Courtney Shea for supporting the creation of new work by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Cathy Marston.

THE LYRIC OPERA HOUSE THE NEW HOME OF THE JOFFREY BALLET

Tickets and Subscriptions for the Joffrey’s 2022–2023 Season Performances

Three-program subscriptions for the fall, winter, and spring season productions, which do not includeThe Nutcracker,start at $108. Subscriptions are available for purchase online at joffrey.org, by mail (Joffrey Ballet Subscriptions, The Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Tower, 10 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601), by telephone at 312.386.8905, by fax at 312.739.0119 or by email atsubscriptions@joffrey.org.

Single tickets for the October, February and April performances, as well as The Nutcracker, will be available starting August 1, 2022. Single tickets are available at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of 10 East Randolph Street, by telephone at 312.386.8905 or online at joffrey.org.

All performances subject to change

About The Joffrey Ballet­­

The Joffrey Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the world today, with a reputation for boundary-breaking performances for more than 65 years. The Joffrey repertoire is an extensive collection of all-time classics, modern masterpieces, and original works.

Founded in 1956 by pioneers Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the Joffrey remains dedicated to artistic expression, innovation, and first-rate education and engagement programming. The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron.

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2022–2023 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, Anne L. Kaplan, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges our Season Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs and Athletico Physical Therapy, official provider of physical therapy for The Joffrey Ballet.

For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit joffrey.org. Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.”

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE JOFFREY BALLET

A reminder this is NOT a sponsored post, my only posts that are sponsored, by an anonymous sponsor, are my book reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                     

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PROFILE: SWAN LAKE JOFFREY BALLET STYLE

 

68FAED15-9001-4ACF-883F-EA75CFAAC1D5       Swans in a peaceful country setting on an exquisite fall day.  Photo credit, Nena’s iPhone.

i have always been enamored with the beauty of swans as well as adoring ballet since I was held on my Father’s lap to see the majesty of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake, created in 1875-76, the first of his classic trio of ballets that include Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.  Swan Lake, an initial failure, has become one of the most popular of all ballets.  I have seen dozens of performances of this well known piece and until now my all time favorite interpretation was with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev….now tied for first place is the current production of Christopher Wheeldon’s reimagining of the story of a swan brought to life and love by her prince.

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There are so many elements that I adore about this version, I must say Wheeldon’s imagination, in all he creates, is at the top of my list.  From the Joffrey’s reimagined Nutcracker, to the critically acclaimed  musical An American In Paris, his vision takes us to places not seen in dance productions before and quite frankly isn’t that what a choreographer should do…in my opinion, yes, they should. Wheeldon along with Joffrey’s dynamic The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director, Ashley Wheater and forward thinking, President and CEO, Greg Cameron have succeeded in making my favorite ballet company world class. The Company can, most certainly, make us proud on the world stage.  When Robert Joffrey and Robert Arpino brought the Joffrey to Chicago, as a visiting company, I fell under their spell….fortunately that spell has not dissipated over the years it has just gotten stronger and as a native Chicagoan and lover of ballet I am so proud they are ours!!!

Using the background of the Paris Opera Ballet and Impressionists Edgar Degas and Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec to set the scene, we are transported into a beautiful world of sets and costumes (watch for an upcoming posts on the costuming for the Joffrey’s Spring World Premiere of Anna Karinina).  The principles, and there are several couples in the two week run which ends on Sunday, October 28th, are breathtakingly brilliant, the dual role of Odette and Odile, one of the most intricate in any ballet, is matched to perfection by the Corps de Ballet….gorgeous!  Let’s not forget the male dancers…beyond perfection. The following photos were taken at our unparalleled, The Art Institute of Chicago, in front of some the iconic Impressionists paintings.

Ballerinas Dara Holmes, Yumi Kanazawa and Brooke Linford photograph by Cheryl Mann.

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The painting in the background of the photos that hangs, along with other superb Degas works at The Art Institute of Chicago.

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Another of our Degas paintings that inspired the production. Both above images found on Pinterest no photo credit available

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Jeraldine Mendoza and Grieg Matthews photograph by Cheryl Mann.

My thanks to The Art Institute of Chicago’s Gloria Groom and Nora Gainer and Joffrey’s Vicki Crain for giving me permission to share these images with you, I am forever grateful!

I have to admit I had tears of pure joy at the end of the opening night performance and to read the glowing reviews, by all media, was gratifying to say the least….I would have lost all respect from the critics if they been anything less. The long standing ovation and shouts of bravo were beyond perfection.  Run don’t walk to get your tickets for a not to be missed cultural experience, it ends Sunday, October 28th.

 I had to share the following photos with you of the daughter, of my dear friends Stephanie and Cory Lake, Odette (you read that correctly and yes, she is named for our heroine).  I did a week of posts on Stephanie in 2016, check the nenasnotes archives they are fascinating insights into a creative mind. That mind has translated to the Lake’s precious, about to be 5 year old, child. Don’t tell her but I am doing a special Birthday post for her.  Here a taste of our budding ballerina, prepare yourself Joffrey Ballet!!!!!

Looks more Odile than a Odette….versatile our little Diva at ballet class and in her swan print skirt at Pre-School….the theme continues….photos courtesy of Stephanie Lake.

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Could there be a book any more perfect, I think not!!!!!

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Both swan photos found on Pinterest photo credits unknown.