Joffrey Ballet American Legends
The company that is presenting the show is based in Chicago. Each year, they perform a recital of “The Nutcracker”. Having already gone through their signature ballet, they are investing in newer programs that will help them in developing and being more innovative. This choice has made them known for experimenting with modern ballets and even crossing over different genres, developing completely unique performances. They have always encouraged contemporary forms of dance including jazz and lyrical. But no matter what they do—classical or modern—they have a set benchmark which they have never failed to achieve throughout the years. The founders, Gerald Arpino
along with partner Robert Joffrey
had themselves set the bar very high because they wanted to set up a company that would eventually become known for producing competent dancers and instructors.
When it first started out in the late1940s, the Joffrey Ballet was simply a touring company that would perform their own versions of classics around the city. They were the only touring group of their time that would dance these difficult recitals in their entirety. It was by the 1950s that they chose to shorten their sets and make them sharper, focusing on quality. They would now only perform excerpts from those ballets. By this time, they had become famous for being proficient in the “Nutcracker Suite” and “Romeo and Juliet’s” famous balcony scene.
When they had become popular enough, the founders decided to put together an ensemble that was good enough to travel the world. For this reason, the twosome decided to split responsibilities so they could gather money to achieve what seemed like an impossible target. Arpino
began to orchestrate what the world tour would be like while Joffrey stayed behind to raise money that would fund this tour. He would give ballet lessons and teach at various other companies. With their endeavors, they wanted to build a dance company in New York. However, their first major feature was a showcase in Chicago which earned them a lot of fans. Thus, they settled in Chicago. This became the Joffrey Ballet as we know it today.
The founders, however, knew that in order to stay in the game, they needed to contact proficient dancers and choreographers who would help them run their company. They then had to operate from the heart of the performing arts city—New York—for some time regardless in order to gather professionals that would help them. Alvin Ailey
along with Rebekah Harkness
agreed to aid the two in their endeavors and become the biggest benefactors of the ballet of the time. Finally, through their assistance, they achieved the dream that they had first set out to fulfill—travelling the world. Unfortunately, in 1964, once this milestone was achieved, their partnership dissolved.
One of the first shows to be staged by the Joffrey Ballet as an official entity was a production of “Trinity”. This ballet was an original, and was created in lieu of the glam rock era that was so prominent at that time. This was such a huge success that it was sold out throughout the month it was on. This was followed by their version of “The Green Table” which was also so nicely received that it led to a string of revivals in that year. Now, the ballet was accepted as a leading performing arts institution of Chicago; an honor it has managed to maintain to this date.
American Legends will thus exemplify all that the ballet has built over the years. Arpino
himself has choreographed one of the four tribute segments, “Sea Shadow”. This will feature music by Maurice Ravel
. The story follows a boy as he walks on a beach and happens across a sea nymph, and the exciting and sensuous duet that follows. This segment is being showcased to honor the founder Arpino
on what would have been his 90th
birthday. People with American Legends tickets
will also witness tributes to Jerome Robbins
and Frank Sinatra