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2018-19 season: Joffrey Ballet


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The 2018-19 season has been announced: http://www.joffrey.org/1819season



October 17-28, 2018

Choreographer: © Christopher Wheeldon | Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Art intertwines with life in Wheeldon's modern retelling of one of the most famous ballets of all time. Set in the studios of the Paris Opera Ballet, a company dancer falls in love with his beautiful partner, a star ballerina who is being pursued by an arts patron with bad intentions. A ballet-within-a-ballet, Wheeldon's version combines classical elements with a touch of fantasy, as lavish sets and breathtaking choreography take hold in this timeless story danced to Tchaikovsky's mesmerizing score. 


Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov | Music: Ilya Demutsky

Leo Tolstoy's seminal tale of passion and revenge comes to life in groundbreaking fashion. Stuck in a cold marriage, the regal Anna Karenina yearns for love in dangerous places, as a sweeping affair leads to unspeakable heartbreak and death. Led by visionary choreographer Possokhov, this world premiere-collaboration between The Joffrey Ballet and The Australian Ballet enlists an all-star creative team, including Possokhov; composer Ilya Demutsky, 2016 Gold Mask Award recipient, Russia's most prestigious theatre honor; Emmy Award-winning designer Tom Pye; and renowned lighting designer David Finn.

World Premiere



Choreographer: Wayne McGregor | Music: Max Richter

Performed to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, reimagined by experimental composer Richter, Kairos, an ancient Greek word denoting "weather," combines McGregor's signature physicality with the sleek designs of award-winning London-based artist Idris Khan. Together, this stunning performance is a feast for the ears and eyes. 

Chicago Premiere


Choreographer: Frederick Ashton | Music: César Franck

Considered one of Ashton's finest works, this ethereal ballet is a true dance classic. Ashton evokes the mystical splendor of the seasons through exquisite movement, embodying everything from the calming stillness of winter to the colorful resurgence of spring and summer. 

Joffrey Premiere


Choreographer: Andrea Walker | Music: TBA

Known for his work with international sensations Coldplay and Lady Gaga, the Founder and Artistic Director of London's 201 Dance Company brings his striking vision state-side with an exclusive new work for the Joffrey. Walker combines an exciting blend of Hip-Hop and dance theatre with a penchant for topical social issues. 




Choreographer: © Christopher Wheeldon | Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Journey to Chicago's 1893 World's Fair with Wheeldon's holiday masterpiece. Magic is on the horizon for young Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the iconic Statue of the Republic. As they prepare for their annual holiday celebration, a visit from the charming but mysterious Grand Impresario sets off a Christmas Eve dream of whirlwind romance and adventure. Wheeldon's Nutcracker is a must-see tradition boldly reimagined for a new generation. 


Our annual gala performance, to be held at the Lyric Opera House for the first time, celebrates the artists who make the Joffrey one of the world's leading international dance companies. This special, one-night-only performance features a hand-curated program by Artistic Director Ashley Wheater. 


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Unfortunately the programming for Across the Pond has been changed. No more McGregor or Ashton. Now they’re doing Vespertine by Liam Scarlett - has anyone seen it, and is it any good? Andrew McNicol is making a new ballet. With this change in programming I’m thinking about skipping it - feel jipped on my season ticket purchase!

Christine Rocos and Migel Angel Blanco were very good in Swan Lake on Saturday night. She brought me to tears at the end of Act II And was very vampy in Act III. She was technically strong too - no mishaps - banged out 32 clean single fouettés. I continue to enjoy the Wheeldon production!

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I just saw the Joffrey's Anna Karenina, and I enjoyed it very much, although it was very serious, much more serious and gloomy than, say, Ratmansky's version. However, the final scene has villagers, Kitty, and Levin very happy living in the traditional way. It is very obvious that Yuri Possokhov knows the novel well. I have seen an opera version and ballet version of this story as well as movies. Rarely does a version seem to put as much weight to Levin's story alongside Anna Karenina's story. I feel Possokhov has come the closest (in less than 2 hours.....an incredible feat!). Tolstoy has so many layers in his novel, that I believe it is basically foolhardy to try to put the novel on stage as an opera or a ballet. Like I said, I think Possokhov did as well as anyone probably can. Of course, the title character is always going to be the part of the story that audiences are most interested in (the doomed love affair). However, Tolstoy's novel could just as well be titled Konstantin Levin!!!! So much of the novel centers around his suffering and love for Kitty and their eventual marriage and their traditional lifestyle and marriage directly contrasts with Anna Karenina's story. Both the choreographer and the composer (Ilya Demutsky) use both modern and traditional choreography/music. This fits with the novel which has tradition and "progress" (industrialization) intertwining. My personal take on the novel is that it is easy to just live traditionally. You fit in, you end up happy, etc. It is very hard to survive change and "progress"......and Anna is a modern woman way before her time and gets crushed (literally and figuratively) by everything. 

I think the choreography is based on traditional ballet moves but doesn't shy away from modern movement either. Possokhov actually moved me with Anna's plight through movement. I lucked out that my matinee cast was the same as the Opening Night and the cast shown all over the posters around Chicago as well as featured in news articles. I simply chose Sunday matinee because it fit in between a Saturday Traviata and a Monday Elektra at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Victoria Jaiani put her heart and soul in the role of Anna Karenina. Fabrice Calmels towered over everyone as her husband. Alberto Velazquez was a handsome Alexey Vronsky. 

I will try to write more later. I am meeting friends at Russian Tea Time for an early dinner. If you are in Chicago I highly recommend this intense work. It is much more serious and moving then Ratmansky's version (I like many Ratmansky ballets, but I think his Anna Karenina misses the mark completely).

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Bidsall, I totally agree with your review. An incredibly intense and very serious work. The score was incredible, and I loved the opera singer. I saw the Saturday evening show with Victoria Jaiani as Anna, and she gave an absolutely riveting performance. Alberto Velazquez was an incredible Vronsky, and I really enjoyed Edson Barbosa as the old station worker. The show has a very high production value - very modern sets, beautiful costumes, and creative use of lighting and video. I would love to see it again, and I hope this work remains in the Joffrey rep for many years to come. Definitely merits repeat viewing. It was quite a contrast to seeing NYCB's Sleeping Beauty earlier in the week - really made it seem like a tripe in comparison!

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Anna's final scene (throwing herself under a train) was very effective.....very devastating.....her life is basically destroyed......when I read the novel years ago I actually laughed during the chapter she kills herself because Tolstoy is so great at creating a stream of conscious chapter where she views everything as ugly and horrible and you are literally reading about a character losing her mind. I laughed despite the horror of her losing her mind, because she was becoming absurd but you knew why and it was crazy! I think Possokhov conveyed this through movement which was probably a hard thing to do! I would very much enjoy seeing this again one day. But tonight is Richard Strauss' Elektra with Nina Stemme! Can't wait!!!!!! 

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