Joffrey Ballet presents exquisite 'Widow'

February 22, 2011
REVIEW by NWI Times
Eloise Marie Valadez

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The latest production from the Joffrey Ballet features an exquisite mix of lush choreography, rich costumes and dramatic performances.

In "The Merry Widow," a Midwest premiere which opened last week, the Chicago dance troupe is at the top of its game. The show will continue through Feb. 27 at the Auditorium Theatre.

Graceful and alluring performances abound in this piece choreographed by Ronald Hynd. The three-act ballet, set in Paris, tells the story of the wooing of wealthy widow Hanna Glawari by Pontevedro's Count Danilo who must marry a rich woman to keep his principality from financial ruin.

The ballet, with music by Franz Lehar and staging by John Meehan, features wonderful comedic scenes as well as dynamic dancing by the ensemble. Victoria Jaiani as widow Hanna and Miguel Angel Blanco as Count Danilo proved exceptional in their roles as they not only danced beautifully as a duo but were compelling in their solo work as well.

The ensemble's fun, dynamic can-can dance from Act III set in Chez Maxim was a particular joy to watch. Costumes and set design by Roberta di Bagno also received a thumbs-up in this overall sumptuous production. "The Merry Widow" runs through Feb. 27. Tickets are $24 to $145. FYI: (800) 982-2787 or www.ticketmaster.com