The Joffrey Ballet: American Legends

March 20, 2014
The Houston Press
Olivia Flores Alvarez


It’s an evening of work by the modern dance masters at Joffrey Ballet’s American Legends. The Joffrey, now led by Artistic Director Ashley Wheater, performs a three-act program. Jerome Robbins’s non-narrative Interplay opens the first act, followed by Christopher Wheeldon’s pas de deux After the Rain.

The second act features Stanton Welch’s Son of Chamber Symphony. Welch, who has been friends with Wheater since the 1980s, when Wheater was a dancer at the Australian Ballet — then led by Welch’s father, Garth Welch — set his Son of Chamber Symphony on the Joffrey Ballet company in 2010. Son is a complex and athletic three-movement work. In a nod to Welch’s classical but deconstructed and pulled-inside-out choreography, the dancers wear costumes that are also inside-out (there are tutus, but they’re single--layered, wafer-thin and translucent, and would be more at home in Alice in Wonderland than in Swan Lake).

The third act is Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, a work that many consider a representation of the special relationship be-tween Tharp and company founder Robert Joffrey; it features couples and music by Ol’ Blue Eyes.