The Joffrey Ballet, Chicago’s world-renowned ballet company that has toured to over 80 countries throughout its storied history (more than any other dance company), today hosted an international cadre of NATO dignitary spouses and other representations at its Loop home, Joffrey Tower, at 10 East Randolph Street. The special event, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in cooperation with Blair House, included a short performance and reception, entertaining guests and sharing with them a part of Chicago’s vibrant cultural and artistic community.
Among the visitors was Mayor Rahm Emanuel. See below for a photo of Emanuel at the event!
This afternoon, some 42 international visitors arrived and were greeted by student dancers from the Joffrey’s Academy of Dance (hailing from China, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Russia and the U.S.). Guests were escorted to the main dance studio on the fourth floor where Conway welcomed them and introduced The Joffrey Ballet, its mission and its values. Following was a performance of two excerpts from recent Joffrey commissions, including Age of Innocence choreographed by Edwaard Liang, inspired by the social themes of Jane Austen’s novels, and Bells choreographed by Yuri Possokhov, inspired by Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The works were danced by four of Joffrey’s international dancers, including Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili (both from the Democratic Republic of Georgia), Christine Rocas (from the Philippines) and Olgucan Borova (from Turkey).
Following the performance, the delegation moved to an adjacent studio for a dessert reception with the dancers and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Joffrey’s Honorary Board Chair, his wife Amy Rule, and members of the Joffrey’s Board of Directors, including Board Chairman Jason J. Tyler (Northern Trust Bank), Helen Melchior, Maureen Dwyer Smith, Susan Noyes (owner of Make It Better magazine) and Cheryl Berman (Joffrey brand advisor and retired Chief Creative Officer and Chairman of Leo Burnett, North America). Each NATO guest was presented with a limited edition, Picasso-inspired silk scarf based on designs developed for the ballet Parade.
NATO member nations represented in the group included Albania, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States of America.
Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its company, audiences and repertoire. For more than a half-century, The Joffrey Ballet’s commitment to taking world-class, artistically vibrant work to a broad and varied audience has created a solid foundation that continues to support the company’s unprecedented capacity for achieving important “firsts” for any dance company. The Joffrey’s commitment to accessibility is met through the most extensive touring schedule of any dance company in history, an innovative and highly effective education program including the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, and collaborations with myriad other visual and performing arts organizations. Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet today thrives under Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater and Executive Director Conway.
For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, classes and upcoming season, visit Joffrey.org.
Joffrey Ballet Board Chair Jason Tyler, wife Yolanda Tyler, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Joffrey Exec Director Christopher Clinton Conway
Mayor Rahm Emanuel greets Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance Students
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