“Human Landscapes” (Joffrey Ballet) : A Thought-Provoking Expression of Human Spirit

October 21, 2012
Chicago Now
Katy Walsh


Human Landscapes is a program featuring the work of of three choreographers who each explore aspects of human spirit through dance in their own way.


The first performance, Forgotten Land, was inspired by a painting by Edvard Munch of women looking at the ocean.  It opens with the dancers’ backs towards the audience as they stare at a gloomy sea.  Throughout the performance the dancers portray the masculine and feminine elements of nature.  At times, it appeared as if there were both struggling for dominance as different couples push each other across the stage.  The act ends with the couples finally becoming one, reflecting the importance of balance both in relationships and in nature.


The second performance, Pretty Ballet, is a mix of traditional ballet and modern dance.  It explores different aspects of ballet, both the gracefulness and strength.  Moments of an all-female stage in beautiful long tutus wistfully dancing are contrasted with instants of just the male dancers displaying their strength and playfulness.  The gray and white costumes are modest, allowing the audience to focus on the dancers’ movements, which fill the stage.


The last performance, The Green Table, first premiered in 1932 just after World War I, when the Second World War was appearing more inevitable.  A group of masked diplomats in the midst of the formalities of negotiation open the performance around a green table. Their courtesies give way to threats, until war is finally declared.  The dark performance portrays the feelings and emotions that accompany war, where nobody able to escape Death.  Just as relevant as when it was first performed, The Green Table leaves the audience wondering if war will ever be avoidable.


A thought-provoking performance that plays on the dark and light aspects of the human spirit, Human Landscapes is yet another wonderfully executed performance by the Joffrey.


Running Time:  Two hours and five minutes with two fifteen minute intermissions.


At the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway


Forgotten Land – Choreographed by Jiří Kylián Assisted by Roslyn Anderson


Pretty Ballet – Choreographed by James Kudelka


Green Table – Choreographed by Kurt Jooss

10 Performances Only: October 17-28, 2012