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Joffrey Academy’s Winning Works and Livestream Rehearsals
The Joffrey Ballet continues its Joffrey Studio Series—a roster of virtual programming during the COVID-19 era—headlined by the World Premiere of Under the Trees’ Voices, a new 28-minute work by Joffrey Rehearsal Director Nicolas Blanc, performed and streamed live from the Joffrey’s Gerald Arpino Black Box Theatre on April 30, 2021 at 7:00 PM. Additional virtual Spring offerings include a reimagined Winning Works, a culmination of Joffrey’s 2020 national call for ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American) artists by competition winners—Chanel DaSilva, Tsai Hsi Hung, Pablo Sánchez (recipient of the inaugural Zach Lazar Winning Works Fellowship), and Durante Verzola—to be performed on the virtual stage by Joffrey Academy Trainees and Studio Company on March 25-26 and April 8-9, 2021; and new episodes in the Joffrey’s behind-the-scenes Stage Notes program.
Blanc’s Under the Trees’ Voices features 15 Joffrey artists dancing to Symphony No. 2 by Italian composer Ezio Bosso. The performance channels the power of community in the age of social distancing. In four distinct sections, Blanc imagines a future of hope and unity. In advance of the April 30 performance, viewers also have the opportunity to experience a “window into the Joffrey,” as cameras livestream the rehearsal process on March 3 at 3:00 PM and April 7 at 3:00 PM.
“The pandemic reminds us that life is precious, that our shared sense of community and the ability to engage with one another face-to-face is one of humanity’s great joys,” said Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of the Joffrey. “Nic’s piece speaks to the idea that human interaction and socialization is essential and that we should never take it for granted.”
“Innovation, creativity, and the ability to adapt with the times have been part of the Joffrey DNA since its founding in 1956.” Added Greg Cameron, President and CEO. “Over the past year, our focus has been about the health and safe return of our Company Artists to the stage. For now, our stage is digital, a platform that has allowed the Joffrey to reach audiences across the globe with universal stories. Nic’s new creation, in addition to all the wonderful work of the Joffrey Artists, reaffirms that the fundamental quality of expressing ourselves through dance will never stop.”
The performance livestream and rehearsals of Under the Tree’s Voices will be viewable via the Joffrey’s website at Joffrey.org.
More information on all Joffrey Studio Series programming, including links for pre-registration as applicable, will be updated regularly and can be found via Joffrey.org/StudioSeries. Due to COVID-19 city and state mandates, all launch dates and livestreams are subject to change.
Other Joffrey Studio Series programming includes the following live and prerecorded content:
Joffrey Academy’s Winning Works and Livestream Rehearsals
The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, was set to present its tenth annual Winning Works performance in March 2020, however, all performances were cancelled due to the COVID-19 shut down. The four winners of the Winning Works choreographic competition—Chanel DaSilva, Tsai Hsi Hung, Pablo Sánchez and Durante Verzola—have reimagined their original works to be choreographed for a virtual performance to presented via livestream throughout 2021.
Chanel DaSilva’s world premiere of B O R D E R S will stream March 25 at 7:00 PM.
B O R D E R S imagines the boundaries—both literal and figurative—that people place on themselves and others. DaSilva challenges the audience to look at how they separate themselves from others in the world, whether through physical means or psychological ones. The 13-minute piece features a cast of 11 artists—ten women and five men.
Tsai Hsi Hung’s world premiere for the Joffrey Academy (Brushstroke) will stream on March 26 at 7:00 PM. Brushstroke takes inspiration from the work of designer Alexander McQueen and painter Jackson Pollack. Using “the line” as a central theme, Hung weaves a series of complex textures through movement that create the effect of currents of wind winding around each other. The 12-minute piece features a cast of eleven artists—eight women and three men.
Pablo Sánchez’s world premiere of the Joffrey Academy ¡VIVA! will stream on April 8 at 7:00 PM. ¡VIVA! celebrates the Joffrey Academy’s tenth anniversary year and its ongoing commitment to presenting works by under-represented groups of artists. Sánchez is inspired by his native México in creating a fresh and vibrant work titled ¡VIVA!, using music by composers Manuel Ponce and José Pablo Moncayo. “It’s an illustration of Mexican tradition with a splash of the colorful spirit for which México is beloved in our world.”
Durante Verzola’s world premiere (Ballet de Cour) will stream on April 9 at 7:00 PM. Ballet de Cour features a cast of 15 and evokes the courtly nature of classical ballet’s 17th Century origins. The piece is danced to music by Frédéric Chopin (based on a theme by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) and steeps itself in neoclassical technique, with the women dancing in pointe shoes. Through the many “micro dramas and stories” inspired by the music, Verzola uses Chopin’s lively score to explore the dancer’s innate desire to move and express it.
The Winning Works livestreams will be viewable at Joffrey.org. All launch dates subject to change.
Stage Notes, featuring commentary by Joffrey Artists
This unique, behind-the-scenes series features quick take segments, showcasing archival content with a twist: narrated commentary by the dancers involved in the works.
A discussion about the 2019 production of Yonder Blue will air April 8 featuring Company Artists and engaged couple Dylan Gutierrez and Jeraldine Mendoza. On April 22, a conversation with Company Artists will take place about the 2018 production of Midsummer Night’s Dream.
All launch dates subject to change.
The Joffrey Crisis Stabilization Fund
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of the Joffrey’s 2020 Spring production of Yuri Possokhov’s Don Quixote and all performances of the 2020-2021 season — an estimated earned revenue loss of more than $9 million. The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, and Joffrey Community Engagement have moved to virtual programming and limited in-person classes indefinitely.
This season, the Joffrey will rely almost entirely on contributed revenue to meet its financial commitments. The establishment of the Joffrey Crisis Stabilization Fund attempts to recoup lost funds stemming from COVID-19 and maintain basic operations through October 2021. To date, the Joffrey has raised $9.9 million of its $12 million goal.
About The Joffrey Ballet
The Joffrey Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the world today, with a reputation for boundary-breaking performances for more than 60 years. The Joffrey repertoire is an extensive collection of all-time classics, modern masterpieces, and original works.
Founded in 1956 by pioneers Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the Joffrey remains dedicated to artistic expression, innovation, and first-rate education and engagement programming. The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron.
About the Joffrey Academy of Dance
Founded in 2010, the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, provides students of all ages, levels, and backgrounds with a world-class education, built on a foundation of classical ballet.
Based in the heart of Chicago’s theater district, the 20,000 square foot Exelon Education Center at Joffrey Tower, home to the Academy, boasts state-of-the-art studios and facilities.
The Joffrey Academy received the distinguished honor of being named four-time Outstanding School by the Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest international student ballet competition, and the Boeing Game Changer Award in recognition of its efforts to make dance accessible to everyone.
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of Joffrey Studio Series Presenting Sponsor Nancy and Sanfred Koltun and Joffrey Studio Series Corporate Sponsor BMO Harris Bank; and its 2020-2021 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges our Season Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs, and Athletico Physical Therapy, official provider of physical therapy for The Joffrey Ballet; and its Winning Works Production Sponsors Pritzker Foundation and Wilson Garling Foundation; and Winning Works Sponsors Conagra Brands Foundation, Dan J. Epstein Family Foundation, and William Blair with Joffrey Board Member Rita Spitz.