The Joffrey Ballet Heats Up Winter with Four Sensual and Romantic Ballets At the Auditorium Theatre, February 13 – 24

image001Just in time for Valentine’s Day, The Joffrey Ballet heats up the winter season with a mixed repertory program of four sensual, romantic and playful ballets by master choreographers in “American Legends,” presented in ten performances only at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, February 13 – 24, 2013.

The “American Legends” features includes Jerome Robbins’ 1945 work Interplay, an energetic, light-hearted and brightly colored ballet with music by Morton Gould that conveys the wonderful playfulness and unfettered curiosity of youth.  This is one of Robbins’ truly American works, with movement in the same style as his later Broadway choreography for West Side StoryInterplay hasn’t been performed by the Joffrey since its Company Premiere in 1972.

Gerald Arpino’s classic Sea Shadow returns to the Joffrey stage, a magical and sensual duet set to music by Maurice Ravel about a young man on a beach enamored with an enchanting sea nymph.  The Joffrey presents this work in honor of what would have been Arpino’s 90th birthday in 2013.

The program also includes the Company Premiere of a wildly popular Twyla Tharp classic, Nine Sinatra Songs, capturing the social dancing of the 1950’s through variously sultry, comic and glamorous vignettes, all costumed by Oscar de la Renta.  Each Sinatra song has its own pair of characters, portraying various stages of romance with styles ranging from elegant ballroom to steamy tango to lively swing.

The “American Legends” program also includes the Chicago Premiere of Son of Chamber Symphony, a new work choreographed by Stanton Welch, Artistic Director of the Houston Ballet, that had its World Premiere by The Joffrey at the Jacob’s Pillow Festival in August, 2012.  With shapes reminiscent of such classical ballets as Swan Lake, but placed within a distinctly contemporary perspective and set to a score by John Adams, Son of Chamber Symphony mixes classicism, virtuosity and exuberant theatricality.

“Each piece in our winter program is an American portrait, created by some of our most important choreographers, with music by some of our most significant composers,” said Joffrey Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater.  “Underlying is a sense of whimsy, vitality, romance, warmth, sensuality, and most importantly, dynamism.  Combining the work of Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, Gerald Arpino and Stanton Welch on the same stage offers an opportunity to witness the diversity, and the shared thread, of the American experience.”

“The Joffrey is America’s ballet company, and we’re celebrating that with a ‘made in America’ program,” added Joffrey Executive Director Christopher Clinton Conway.  “In light of all the frustration with politics in Washington over the Fiscal Cliff, we need to celebrate what makes this country the greatest – it is the people and the art that they freely create, perform and celebrate.”

Tickets and Scheduling

Single tickets, which range from $31 to $152, are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street, as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at (800) 982-2787, or online at

“American Legends” is performed Wednesday, February 13 through Sunday, February 24.  The complete performance schedule is as follows:  Wednesday, February 13 at 7:30 pm; Friday, February 15 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, February 16 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday, February 17 at 2 pm; Thursday, February 21 at 7:30 pm; Friday, February 22 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, February 23 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday, February 24 at 2 pm.

About the Choreographers

Gerald Arpino was born in Staten Island, New York in 1923 and passed away in Chicago in 2008.  He co-founded The Joffrey Ballet with Robert Joffrey in 1956 and served as Associate Director.  Upon Joffrey’s death in 1988, Arpino succeeded him as Artistic Director.  Arpino choreographed his first work, Ropes, in 1961.  Shortly thereafter, he became the company’s resident choreographer.  He created more than one-third of the company’s repertoire and his ballets are in the repertoires of companies around the world.  Arpino was the first choreographer commissioned to create a ballet to honor the office of the American presidency; he was the first American commissioned by a city, San Antonio, to do a ballet; in 1993, he produced America’s first full-evening rock ballet, Billboards, set to the music of Prince.  Arpino received numerous awards and honors over his long and prestigious career.  In 1995, he moved The Joffrey Ballet to Chicago.  Prior to that move, no ballet company had ever successfully been transplanted from one part of the country to another.

Jerome Robbins is world-renowned for his work as a choreographer of ballets as well as his work as a director and choreographer in theater, movies and television.  His Broadway shows include On the TownBillion Dollar Baby, High Button ShoesWest Side StoryThe King and IGypsyPeter PanMiss LibertyCall Me Madam and Fiddler on the Roof.  Among the more than 60 ballets he created are Fancy FreeAfternoon of a FaunThe ConcertDances At a GatheringIn the NightIn G MajorOther DancesGlass Pieces and Ives, Songs, which are in the repertories of New York City Ballet and other major dance companies throughout the world.  His last ballets include A Suite of Dances created for Mikhail Baryshnikov (1994), 2 & 3 Part Inventions (1994), West Side Story Suite (1995) and Brandenburg (1996).  In addition to two Academy® Awards for the film West Side Story, Robbins has received four Tony® Awards, five Donaldson Awards, two Emmy® Awards, the Screen Directors’ Guild Award and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award.  Robbins was a 1981 Kennedy Center Honors Recipient and was awarded the French Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur.  He passed away in 1998.

Twyla Tharp has choreographed more than 135 dances, five Hollywood movies, and directed and choreographed four Broadway shows.  She received one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, 19 honorary doctorates, the Vietnam Veterans of America President’s Award, the 2004 National Medal of the Arts, the 2008 Jerome Robbins Prize, and a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor.  Her dances are known for creativity, wit and technical precision coupled with a streetwise nonchalance.  By combining different forms of movement – such as jazz, ballet, boxing and inventions of her own – Tharp’s work expands the boundaries of American ballet and modern dance.  In addition to choreographing for her own company, she has created dances for American Ballet Theatre, The Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, The Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Miami City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Stanton Welch was born in Melbourne, Australia and began his training in 1986, quickly winning a scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School.  In 1989, he was engaged as a dancer with The Australian Ballet, where he rose to the rank of leading soloist.  Welch’s choreographic career developed during his time with The Australian Ballet.  In 1990, he received his first choreographic commission from the company, marking the beginning of a series of commissioned works over the next fourteen years and developing his diverse choreographic style.  In 1995, Welch was named resident choreographer of The Australian Ballet.  In 2003, Welch assumed the leadership of Houston Ballet, America’s fourth largest ballet company, as Artistic Director.  Since his arrival, Welch has transformed Houston Ballet by raising the level of classical technique, infusing the company with new energy, drive and vision; introducing works by distinguished choreographers to the repertoire; and attracting some of the world’s best coaches to Houston to work with the dancers.  He has created works for such prestigious international companies as Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet.

Upcoming In celebration of Lar Lubovitch’s 70th birthday in 2013, the Joffrey’s season concludes in the spring with the return of the native Chicagoan’s three-act ballet Othello.  Set to music by Elliot B. Goldenthal, Othello uses contemporary ballet and innovative stage design to tell the dramatic story of the Venetian Moor, Othello, his beloved Desdemona and the conniving Iago, in a timeless tale of love and betrayal.  Othello is presented April 24 – May 5.

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the 2012-2013 Season Sponsors and Partners.  With special thanks to The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, “American Legends” Production Sponsor; Jane Ellen Murray Foundation, Nine Sinatra Songs Production Sponsor; Orli and Bill Staley, Son of Chamber Symphony Production Sponsor; Abbott Fund and NIB Foundation, co-sponsors of the 2012-2013 Season; United Airlines, Official & Exclusive Airline; Vanguard Chicago Center for Orthopedics, Official Healthcare Provider; JW Marriott, Official Hotel Sponsor; AthletiCo, Official Provider of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Services; MAC, Official Cosmetic Sponsor; and our Season Partners, Allstate, Chicago Athletic Clubs and Sara Lee Foundation.

For more information about The Joffrey Ballet and its programs visit