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Joffrey's Cameron Basden "calls it quits"

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The Chicago Sun Times' Hedy Weiss reported on Friday that Cameron Basden, Joffrey Ballet associate artistic director, has resigned from the Joffrey. "It's the latest indication of major changes taking place since the arrival of new artistic director Ashley Wheater", according to Weiss. "Basden, who was responsible for maintaining the overall quality of the Joffrey repertory and its dancers, is one of few people to be given the authority to stage ballets by Ashton, Cranko, Massine and Nijinsky, as well as other more contemporary works."

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Hmmm. Interesting indeed. I wonder how Basden's departure will affect plans to stage Les Noces and Rite of Spring next season?

It does seem there is quite an allegiance to Gerald Arpino among long-time company members. In the article, Basden had this to say about her plans:

"I plan to catch my breath after such a long alliance," Basden said. "But I hope to take some time to do a bit of everything for now -- staging some of Mr. Arpino's ballets and other works, doing some teaching, and leading some master classes.

And on Friday, dancer Maia Wilkins -- whose contract is not being renewed after 18 years with the company -- was quoted in the Chicago Tribune about her future plans. I cannot located the (very short) article online, and have recycled my paper copy, but she mentioned plans to document Arpino's choreography.

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"Paging Dr. Hodson....Paging Dr. Millicent Hodson...."

But what about the Ashton, Cranko and Massine ballets? I would hate to think that the Joffrey won't be able to readily stage those in the near future.

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Charthel Arthur yet lives.

And the company maintained rehearsal videos of the Massines for restaging purposes. I don't think they did so with Cranko or Ashton, but Georgette Tsingurides was called in the last time they remounted a Cranko work, and Ashton has been multiply notated.

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Sid Smith in the Chicago Tribune has a column today on current happenings at the Joffrey.

The Joffrey Ballet of late seems simultaneously blessed and besieged, an organization in transition or trouble, depending on the day or the headline.

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Even in the 80's when I was there (at the Joffrey) they were video taping productions of some of the classic ballets so those works will not be lost (but they will require translation by whomever stages them). However, your question is a good one. Who will be the driving force behind some of the classics in the reportoir? When he was alive, Bob Joffrey was the man who pushed, prodded and chewed them up... he tracked down obscure tombs, choreographers, artists etc... to recreate some of those old masterpieces. He was like a bulldog with a bone and wouldn't let go until he had tracked down and recreated every aspect of a classic piece. Jerry Arpino (as I remember him) was a great guy but his focus was more inclined to creating new forms of dance expressions and ways to interconnect dance. But not to worry... like I said, the classics are all on file... so they can be revisited... any volunteers???

"Paging Dr. Hodson....Paging Dr. Millicent Hodson...."

But what about the Ashton, Cranko and Massine ballets? I would hate to think that the Joffrey won't be able to readily stage those in the near future.

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