The Joffrey Ballet closes its 2008-2009 season with the company premiere of Wheeldon's Carousel A Dance and a Revival of Nijinska's Les Noces

April 9, 2009
Press Release


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

April 7, 2009



Program to also feature the Joffrey Premiere of Tomasson’s Valses Poeticos and Arpino’s Round of Angels


CHICAGO – The Joffrey Ballet closes its 2008-2009 season with an eclectic romantic Spring Program featuring the Joffrey Premieres of Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance) and Helgi Tomasson’s Valses Poeticos; the revival of Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces (The Wedding), in commemoration of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes Centennial; and Round of Angels by the late Joffrey Co-Founder Gerald Arpino.  The Spring Program will take place at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, in nine performances only, April 29 – May 10, 2009.

“Our goal throughout this season has been to make ballet accessible and enjoyable for aficionados and newcomers alike,” comments Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater.  “An amalgam of great works, the Spring Program includes two Joffrey premieres: Christopher Wheeldon’s much anticipated Carousel (A Dance) to the classic score by Richard Rodgers, which is an unbelievable addition to our repertoire, and San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson’s Valses Poeticos, a beautiful series of solos and duets about love. We will also continue to honor the Diaghilev Centennial celebration with Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces, as well as and the memory of Co-Founder Gerald Arpino, with one of his most beloved works, Round of Angels. The whole program speaks of the many different levels of human love and is a wonderful way to begin the spring.”

Opening the program will be Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces (The Wedding).  First presented by the Ballets Russes in 1923, Les Noces vibrantly depicts the rituals and revelry of an ancient Russian peasant wedding.  A cast of 36 dances in four tableaux: the Blessing of the Bride, the Blessing of the Groom, the Departure of the Bride from the Parental home, and the Wedding Feast.  Nathalie Gontcharova’s mono-chromatic scenery and costumes, together with Igor Stravinsky’s ferocious musical score, adds to Nijinska’s stunning choreography.  Sister of the legendary choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky, who choreographed the famed Le Sacre du Printemps, Nijinska was also a member of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes and choreographed Les Noces for the company. This work is performed in celebration of the Ballet Russes Centennial. The Joffrey Ballet’s first performance of Les Noces took place at The Opera House of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC in 1989, to great critical acclaim.  Les Noces was last performed by The Joffrey Ballet in 2003 as part of its “Diaghilev Dynasty” program. This revival is being set by Howard Sayette.

Following will be The Joffrey Premiere of Valses Poeticos, choreographed by veteran San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson to the music of Enrique Granados.  Originally created in 1990 for Ashley Wheater while he was a member of the San Francisco Ballet, this lyrical ballet evokes deep emotion through physical movement.   Neo-classical in form, Valses Poeticos transforms love letters into dances with intimate pas de deux and solos reflecting the tenderness of a couple’s relationship.

In memory of the late Joffrey Co-Founder Gerald Arpino, his Round of Angels will also be performed. Inspired in part by an etching entitled “Ronde d’Anges” by Cavaliere d’Arpino, as well as the loss of a dear friend, Round of Angels is set to the haunting Adagietto from Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. With scenery byPenelope Curry and costumes byA. Christina Giannini, this emotional ballet is set against a starry sky and tells a turbulent and melancholy story of a couple, surrounded by five broken-winged male angels, who are destined to part.  Arpino was never afraid to tackle sensitive subjects and in this case he conveyed the depth of his feeling with astonishing sensitivity.  This is a serene work unlike many of his other ballets, which are wonders of vitality and virtuosity.  Premiered by The Joffrey Ballet in 1983, the company last performed this work in 2008 as part of Chicago Dancing Festival and again in 2009 at Gerald Arpino’s Memorial Service. Previously the work was performed as part of the “Accent Arpino” program staged in 2005.

Making its Chicago debut, the Spring Program concludes with Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance), a salute to Richard Rodgers first performed by the New York City Ballet in 2002.  Although created for a one-time-only occasion, a gala in honor of Richard Rodger's centennial, the ballet was such a success that it was kept in the repertoire and is now in the repertoire of other dance companies. A wonderful addition to The Joffrey Ballet’s repertoire, Wheeldon’s choreography is set to two selections from the beloved 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Carousel, the "Carousel Waltz" and "If I Loved You.” The work echoes the circular movement of carnival rides, evoking the gaiety and romance of the scene, as a colorful ensemble circles the stage and a young woman and man are isolated to find each other in a poignant love duet.  Carousel (A Dance) will be set by Christopher Wheeldon.

Performance Schedule and Pricing for The Joffrey Ballet’s Spring Program:
The performance schedule for The Joffrey Ballet Spring Program, April 29 – May 10, is as follows: Wednesday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 2 at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 3 at 2:00 p.m.; Friday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 9 at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, May 10 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  

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, 10 East Randolph Street, 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; and M.A.C, the Official Cosmetic of The Joffrey Ballet.

For more information about The Joffrey Ballet and current productions please call 312-739-0120 or visit