A FALL PROGRAM FEATURING WORKS BY MASTER CHOREOGRAPHERS
GEORGE BALANCHINE, JEROME ROBBINS, AND CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON
CHICAGO – September 13, 2010 – Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater presents the 2010-2011 Stars season, launching with All Stars, a mixed repertory program
of four works—three of which are Company Premieres—by three iconic New York
choreographers: George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Christopher Wheeldon. The All Stars program will be presented at the
Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, October
13 – 24, 2010. All Stars marks the first Joffrey program to include an additional
Thursday performance on October 21, making ten performances throughout the run
– up from nine in previous seasons.
“The autumn program features ballets created on the New York
City Ballet by three of its resident choreographers: George Balanchine, Jerome
Robbins, and Christopher Wheeldon,” said Wheater.
“The relationship between these choreographers and the Joffrey Ballet is nearly
as old as the Joffrey itself. When
Robert Joffrey first started the Company, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
offered their choreography in support of the fledgling troupe. When I became Artistic Director, Christopher
Wheeldon offered Carousel, and now, After the Rain, to the
Joffrey. I would like to dedicate this series of performances to the
creative force of the New York City Ballet, in gratitude for the support we
have received through the years from these master choreographers.”
The All Stars
program opens with the Joffrey Premiere of George
Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin
Concerto, which was revised in 1972 from a previous choreographic endeavor
titled Balustrade that premiered in
1941. Using the opening
"Toccata," two central “Arias” and the final "Capriccio"
from Igor Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto in D, Balanchine forms contrasting pas
de deux, one soft and lyrical while the other is sharply angular, framed by
grand ensemble sections. The
choreography for this festive work is rooted in the folk dance traditions of
Georgia, then a part of the Soviet Union, imbuing Balanchine’s characteristically
intricate and demanding movement with a Russian flavor appropriate for an
homage to the genius of Stravinsky.
The program continues with Christopher Wheeldon’s emotionally resonant After the Rain (2005), also a Joffrey Premiere. While many dance companies have performed
parts of this work, The Joffrey Ballet is the first company outside of
Wheeldon’s own to be awarded the rights to perform the entire piece. Set to the minimalist, classical music of
Arvo Pärt, After the Rain is in two
sections that are strikingly different in tone, with the first section marked
by steel gray costumes and backdrop with three couples creating bold lines and
intricate lifts. The second section
shifts to a warmer palette as dancers embody an emotional relationship, at
times becoming tender and connected while at other times pulling away or
struggling to find each other. The work
juxtaposes the harsh with the soft as dancers explore the space between them in
an emotional push-and-pull.
The program will also include Balanchine’s Tarantella (1964),
set to the Grand Tarantelle for Piano and Orchestra, op.67, by Louis Moreau
Gottschalk and Hershy Kay. The profusion
of steps and the quick changes of direction in this brief but explosive pas de
deux typify the ways in which Balanchine expanded the traditional vocabulary of
classical dance. Tarantella premiered on The Joffrey Ballet last Spring.
The program will close with the Company Premiere of Jerome Robbins’ The Concert (or The Perils of Everybody), originally created in
1956. Set to music by Frédérick Chopin
played by an on-stage pianist, The
Concert (or The Perils of Everybody) is a light-hearted satire of dance
itself, setting off-beat characters in a series of comedic vignettes about how
people’s minds roam during a concert. Audiences
are introduced to the Ballerina, the Angry Woman, the Shy Boy, the Husband and
Wife, the chatty Matinee Girls, and an ensemble of likewise colorful
personalities as fantasies and daydreams are played out to great comedic
effect. This playful and charming ballet
showcases Robbins’ signature balance of physical humor and technical virtuosity.
About the Choreographers
born in St. Petersburg, Russia, is regarded as the foremost contemporary
choreographer in the world of ballet.
After serving as the ballet master for Russia’s Les Ballet Russe, he
came to the United States in late 1933 at the age of 29, accepting the
invitation of the young American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein. With Kirstein’s help, Balanchine opened the
School of American Ballet a year later and by 1935 the two founded The American
Ballet. In 1948 the New York City Ballet
was formed, with Balanchine serving as its ballet master and principal
choreographer until his death in 1983. A
major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Balanchine revolutionized the
look of classical ballet. Taking
classicism as his base, he heightened, quickened, expanded, streamlined, and
even inverted the fundamentals of the 400-year-old language of academic dance. Although at first his style seemed
particularly suited to the energy and speed of American dancers, especially
those he trained, his ballets are now performed by all the major classical
ballet companies throughout the world.
In the spring of 1975, Balanchine was inducted into the Entertainment
Hall of Fame in Hollywood and in 1978, he was one of the first recipients of
the Kennedy Center Honors. The most
prestigious of awards that was given to Balanchine was the 1983 Presidential
Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor that can be conferred on a
civilian in the United States. The
Joffrey Ballet’s most recent performance of a full Balanchine ballet was Apollo in 2006.
Jerome Robbins is
world-renowned for his work as a choreographer of ballets as well as his work
as a director and choreographer in theater, movies and television. Although he began as a modern dancer, his
start on Broadway was as a chorus dancer before joining the corps de ballet of
American Ballet Theatre in 1939, where he went on to dance principal roles in
the works of Fokine, Tudor, Massine, Balanchine, Lichine and de Mille. While embarking on his career in the theater,
Robbins simultaneously created ballets for New York City Ballet, which he
joined in 1949, and became an Associate Artistic Director with George
Balanchine. In addition
to two Academy® Awards for the film West Side Story, Robbins has
received four Tony® Awards, five Donaldson Awards, two Emmy® Awards, the Screen
Directors' Guild Award, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Robbins was a 1981 Kennedy Center Honors Recipient
and was awarded the French Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de la Legion
d'Honneur. Robbins passed away in 1998. The Joffrey Ballet last performed Robbins’ In the Night in Fall 2008.
is among today’s most innovative contemporary ballet choreographers. Born in Somerset, England, Wheeldon developed
an affinity for music and movement at an early age. At age 11, after studying at the East Coker
Ballet School, Wheeldon entered The Royal Ballet School and joined The Royal
Ballet company in 1991. In 1993
Christopher Wheeldon traveled to New York where he soon accepted a position
with New York City Ballet, where he served as Resident Choreographer from 2001
to 2008. Wheeldon has shown his
versatility by working in various mediums. He choreographed the ballet sequences in
Nicholas Hytner’s film Center Stage
(2000) and they collaborated again on the Broadway musical The Sweet Smell of Success (2002). Wheeldon made his operatic debut with the
“Dance of the Hours” in the Metropolitan Opera House’s revival of Amilcare
Ponchiellis’ La Gianconda (2006). Wheeldon
founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company in 2007 with the goal of introducing a
new spirit of innovation to classical ballet.
He resigned as Artistic Director of Morphoses in February 2010 and
continues to work as a freelance choreographer. Joffrey last performed a Wheeldon work, Carousel (A Dance), in Spring 2009.
Schedule and Pricing for All Stars:
The performance schedule for All Stars at the Auditorium Theatre is as
follows: Wednesday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, October 15 at 7:30 p.m.;
Saturday, October 16 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, October 17 at 2:00
p.m.; Thursday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m.;
Saturday, October 23 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, October 24 at 2:00
Single tickets, priced from $25 to $145, are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s
official Box Office, located in the lobby of 10 E. Randolph Street, as well as
the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University box office, all Ticketmaster
Ticket Centers, by telephone at (800) 982-2787 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
The Stars season continues with America’s #1
Nutcracker and Chicagoland’s most
tradition, Robert Joffrey’s production of The Nutcracker, which
will again transform the Auditorium Theatre into a winter wonderland complete
with magical toys, dancing snowflakes and exotic sweets. The Tchaikovsky masterpiece, featuring the
full Joffrey company, local children’s choruses and more than 120 young
dancers, will be presented in seventeen performances, December
10 – 26, 2010.
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful
for the support from its 2010-2011 Season Sponsors and extends special thanks
to Abbott Fund and NIB Foundation, co-sponsors of the Stars season; United Airlines, Official & Exclusive Airline;
Weiss Memorial Hospital, Official Healthcare Provider; UBS, Live Music Sponsor;
AthletiCo, Official Provider of Rehabilitation, Fitness and Performance; and
MAC, Official Cosmetic Sponsor. The
Joffrey would also like to acknowledge its Stars
Season Partners, including: Sara Lee Foundation, Groupon, and Whole Foods
Market; and the W Chicago Hotel, Official Hotel Sponsor for All Stars.
For more information on The Joffrey Ballet, please visit its
newly redesigned website at joffrey.org.
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