The Joffrey Ballet's Winter Program honors Diaghilev's ballets russes centennial with Nijinsky's historic Le Sacre du Printemps

January 19, 2009
Press Release


Farrah Malik / Beth Silverman
The Silverman Group, Inc.
(312) 932-9950
Farrah [at] silvermangroupchicago [dot] com

January 19, 2009

Program to also feature the company premiere of Tomm Ruud’s Mobile, George Balanchine’s Hand of Fate, plus Gerald Arpino’s Kettentanz



CHICAGO – The Joffrey Ballet continues its successful 2008-2009 season with a Winter Program featuring Vaslav Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) in commemoration of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes Centennial, as well as the Joffrey Premiere of Tomm Ruud’s Mobile, George Balanchine’s Hand of Fate, and Kettentanz by Joffrey Co-Founder Gerald Arpino. The Winter Program will take place at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, in nine performances only, February 18-March 1, 2009.

“The Joffrey’s winter performances feature a program of remembrance and reflection. Throughout the nation, dance companies are joining in celebration of the Ballets Russes Centennial. The Joffrey will stage Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, which was choreographed specially for Ballets Russes in the 1900’s,” notes Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater.  “Tomm Ruud’s calming and meditative Mobile will have its Company debut and a pas de deux, Hand of Fate, from Balanchine’s Cotillon will receive a Joffrey revivalThis program also pays homage to the company’s prolific co-founder, Gerald Arpino, who has been missed since his passing last October. Kettentanz remind us of Gerry’s lively nature that brought the company where it is today. “

The Winter Program opens with Kettentanz choreographed by the late Joffrey Ballet Co-Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus Gerald Arpino. One of the most popular Arpino ballets, with music by Johann Strauss and Johann Simon Mayer, this 1971 work pays tribute to Old Vienna and the exuberance and grandeur of its dances, the Viennese polkas, gallops and waltzes. Kettentanz was created by Arpino in grateful thanks to Vienna for the warm welcome it gave the company during its tour there that year. The work was last performed as part of Chicago’s Millennium Park Blockbuster Week in September 2008.

The program continues with The Joffrey Premiere of Mobile, choreographed by Tomm Ruud with music by Aram Khachaturian.  This serene meditation was inspired by the mobile exhibit “Moving Objects Behaving In Linear Equipoise” of the famed artist Alexander Calder.  The ballet consists of a trio in which a man balances two women in slowly evolving positions that depend on balance and equilibrium, much like a mobile does. Mobile is known as one of Ruud’s most famous works and is found in the repertoire of over twenty companies worldwide.

Also on the bill is Hand of Fate, a pas de deux from ballet icon George Balanchine’s 1932 Cotillon. Set in a haunted ballroom, this work reveals the figure of fate as she visits a young girl’s cotillion. Cotillon was one of the first ballets choreographed by Balanchine after the death of the great Serge Diaghilev in 1929, in whose Ballets Russes, Balanchine had danced and choreographed. Thought to be a ''lost'' ballet, Cotillon was rediscovered by Robert Joffrey before his death and performed in its entirety for the first time since 1946 as the centerpiece of the Robert Joffrey Memorial Season in 1988.  The reconstructed Cotillon was set by dance historian Millicent Hodson and her husband, Kenneth Archer, whose collaborative success in reconstructing Vaslav Nijinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps the season prior convinced Joffrey that they should revive CotillonHand of Fate was last performed by The Joffrey Ballet in 1991.

The Joffrey Ballet’s Winter Program will close with Vaslav Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), the reenactment of a sacrificial fertility rite, which inspired audience members to storm the streets of Paris following its 1913 debut.  Set to the strident, now classic, commissioned Stravinsky score, with scenery and authentic Himalayan costumes by Nikolai Roerich, The Rite of Spring stands as one of the most magnificent musical and dance masterpieces of the twentieth century.  Disappearing after its debut, this work only reemerged after the urging of Robert Joffrey and the meticulous research of Hodson and Archer.  First staged by The Joffrey Ballet 1987, The Rite of Spring was last performed in 2003. This performance will be staged in honor of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes Centennial.

Performance Schedule and Pricing for The Joffrey Ballet’s Winter Program:

The performance schedule for The Joffrey Ballet Winter Program, February 18 – March 1, is as follows: Wednesday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, February 21 at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, February 22 at 2:00 p.m.; Friday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, February 28 at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m.

Single tickets, priced from $25 to $145, are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of the Joffrey Tower at 10 E. Randolph Street, as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University box office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at (312) 902-1500, or online at or  

The Joffrey Ballet’s 2008-2009 season will conclude with a mixed repertory program featuring the Company Premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance), the Company Premiere ofHelgi Tomasson’s Valses Poeticos and Branislava Nijiska’s Les Noces, April 29 – May 10, 2009.  The 2008-2009 season is dubbed “Time To Move! Ten Choreographers, Five Premieres, One Company” to showcase not only the company’s prodigious physical movements and season accomplishments, but also its literal move into, and first year occupying, the new Joffrey Tower at the high profile corner of State and Randolph in downtown Chicago.

The Joffrey Ballet extends special thanks to its 2008-2009 Season Sponsors the Abbott Fund and Huron Consulting Group; United Airlines, the Official & Exclusive Airline of The Joffrey Ballet; AthletiCo, the Official Provider of Rehabilitation, Fitness and Performance; M.A.C, the Official Cosmetic of The Joffrey Ballet and The Walter E. Heller Foundation, Production Sponsor for Le Sacre du Printemps. For more information about The Joffrey Ballet and current productions please call 312-739-0120 or visit