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 auditoriumtheatre.org/events-details/gerald-arpino-chicago-centennial-celebration/, 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.
It is always my pleasure to let you know what is happening in the world of dance in Chicago….and each year I an proud to share the press release announcing the DANCE FOR LIFE event. This annual happening is a not to be missed event. Mark your calendars now, tickets go on sale on JUNE 5th
CHICAGO DANCERS UNITED ANNOUNCES DANCE FOR LIFE 2023 AUGUST 19 AT THE AUDITORIUM THEATRE
Chicago Dancers United, which supports the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community, announces the program for its 32nd annual fundraiser, Dance for Life, which takes place Saturday, August 19 at 6 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago, followed by an afterparty at Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago.
Dance for Life 2023 Co-Chairs are Ted Grady, Ross Slotten, Victor Alexander, and Maray Gutierrez.
Dance for Life raises money for The Dancers’ Fund, which provides Chicago dance industry professionals with financial support for preventative health care and critical medical needs. The event showcases the city’s unique variety of dance traditions and styles by bringing together professional dance companies and dancers from throughout Chicago, who unite to support their peers by generously donating their time, energy, and artistry. Throughout its history, Dance for Life has presented more than 40 Chicago-based professional dance companies representing a variety of genres, sizes, and histories and numerous choreographers, artists, and designers. An additional beneficiary of Dance for Life is AIDS Foundation Chicago.The Program (in alphabetical order)
BOOM CRACK! Dance Company combines hip hop styles with curated choreography in Decibel, an excerpt from an evening-length production choreographed by Trae Turner with music by Paul Mond. The work explores frequency and emotions attached to sound, with an eclectic score of lo-fi sample-based production, harsh electronic instrumentals, and energetic music.
Chicago Tap Allstars, which features tap dancers from throughout the Chicago area, including from Chicago Tap Theatre and M.A.D.D. Rhythms, performs Birdland, a joyous dance choreographed by Mark Yonally with improvography from the dancers, to the music of Weather Report. Chicago Tap Allstars aims to bring professional tap dancers together in the spirit of community, inclusivity, and excellence.
Giordano Dance Chicago with Giordano II and members of South Chicago Dance Theatre join forces for Luminescence, created by Kia Smith for Giordano’s 60th anniversary season earlier this year. With music by Coldplay and U2, the work is a true celebration of community, collaboration, and light.
Hiplet Ballerinas, the professional company of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, performs React, choreographed by Trevon Lawrence and Anthony Sampson to the music of The Pussycat Dolls. From classical ballet to hip hop, this piece fuses tradition with the energy of dance.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago offers the full company in excerpts from Busk by Aszure Barton, set to music by Daniel Belanger, Ljova, Camille Saint-Saëns, and David Wikander.
The Joffrey Ballet performs excerpts of Gerald Arpino’s Birthday Variations, which was commissioned by Becky D’Angelo as a birthday present to her husband Dino, who owned Chicago’s Civic Opera House and loved the music of Giuseppe Verdi. Set to Verdi’s infectious opera-ballet music, the work is a sparkling showcase of classical dancing.
Freelance dancers Joseph Massarelli and Riho Sakamoto perform On the Nature of Daylight, a pas de deux choreographed and staged by David Dawson to music by Max Richter. This work explores the idea of love as the ordinary and the extra-ordinary—the many possibilities of finding pure love, a task that binds us as human beings, and a search that happens continually around the world on a daily basis. The piece fully encompasses the idea that love lost remains unforgettable.
Moonwater Dance Project’s work Clarity, choreographed by Hanna Brictson to music by Murcof and Venessa Wagner and Travis Lake, explores the challenge of finding transparency within oneself, taking the performers and viewers on a dynamic journey to discover purity and strength.
Muntu Dance Theatre performs Djeliya, an improvisational work by the dancers that features singing, dancing, and a traditional African drum circle.
For this year’s finale, Randy Duncan revives and expands his world-premiere finale from Dance for Life 2021, As One, with music by Ira Antelis. Created in honor of longtime Dance for Life supporter Harriet Ross, As One drew inspiration from the marches and protests during the pandemic and the hate, but also the love and healing necessary, to survive in this climate.
Chicago Dancers United presents Dance for Life 2023 Saturday, August 19 at 6 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., followed by an afterparty at Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Ave.
Tickets—$500 for the performance and afterparty, $25–125 for the performance only— go on sale June 5 at 312.341.2300, auditoriumtheatre.org, and the Auditorium Theatre Box Office. Group tickets (10 or more) are available by calling 312.341.2300. Special presale May 2–June 4: $125 tickets are on sale for $75 with code DFL2023. All programming is subject to change. The mission of Chicago Dancers United is to foster the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community by providing financial support through The Dancers’ Fundfor preventive health care and critical medical needs. Anyone working in or retired from a professional capacity within Chicago’s dance community—dancers, technical staff, administrators, choreographers, instructors, accompanists, and more—is eligible.
By now you are aware that I adore The Joffrey Ballet, interesting factoidwe began our careers in the same year…1956, The Joffrey in New Yorkand 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.
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
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,conductedby Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.
“March 14, 2022 (Chicago) – Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Directorof 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 GeraldArpino. 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’shauntingly 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.
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.
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.
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®-nominatedset and costume designerJulian 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.
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
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 presentedin 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
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.
Tickets and Subscriptions for the Joffrey’s 2022–2023 Season Performances
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.
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.
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.
The painting in the background of the photos that hangs, along with other superb Degas works at The Art Institute of Chicago.
Another of our Degas paintings that inspired the production. Both above images found on Pinterest no photo credit available
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.
Could there be a book any more perfect, I think not!!!!!
Both swan photos found on Pinterest photo credits unknown.