Audience takes journey with Joffrey Ballet's 'Don Quixote'

October 14, 2011
Review by North West Indiana Times
Kathleen Quilligan


The line between dreams and reality are blurred in the Joffrey Ballet's production of "Don Quixote," leaving the audience with a satisfying happy ending where true love, with the help of some old-fashioned chivalry, conquers all.

The world premiere of the ballet, choreographed for the Joffrey by Yuri Possokhov, a former principal dancer with Russia's Bolshoi Ballet, opened the Joffrey's 2011-2012 season. The story revolves around an aging nobleman, Don Quixote, who becomes so caught up in his reading, he imagines himself to be a knight and sets off to rescue the damsel in distress that he sees in his dreams.

That damsel happens to look a lot like the innkeeper's daughter, Kitri, who is caught up in a love triangle with her true love, Basilio, and an older, wealthy nobleman her father has chosen for her to marry, Gamache.

Over the course of the two act ballet, Don Quixote's visions and reality come to life in the form of animated set projections by Wendall K. Harrington and original costumes by the Joffrey's Travis Halsey, as well as a life-sized animated puppet of Don Quixote's horse. It's a world where windmills turn into monsters, bullfighters roam the streets and Don Quixote and the audience learn the power that comes from getting caught up in a good story.

Accompanied live by the Chicago Sinfonietta, the dancers bring the story to life with elegant precision, gravity-defying moments and comedic elements provided by the hero's sidekick and villains.

"Don Quixote has become a staple of the ballet world, and has earned this position, in part, because of its universal themes of bravery, chivalry, and pure romance," said Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater. "Don Quixote is a truly sympathetic character, and we trust that the audience will want to join his fanciful journey."

The ballet premiered Wednesday and will run through Oct. 23 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway. Single tickets range from $25 to $149 and are available at