Tuesday, March 4th @ 7:30
Interplay (Jerome Robbins)
Son of Chamber (Staton Welch)
Nine Sinatra Songs (Twyla Tharp)
Wednesday, March 5th @ 7:30
"Body & Soul"
Crossing Ashland (Brock Clawson)
Bells (Yuri Possokhov)
Episode 31 (Alexander Ekman)
“American Legends”: Interplay/Son of Chamber Symphony/Nine Sinatra Songs
Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Music: Interplay by Morton Gould
Like a kinetic kaleidoscope, lines, diagonals, circles, squares and more complex patterns continually evolve from each other. The choreography’s style matches Morton Gould’s score - with its jazzy orchestration and use of swingtime rhythms of the 1940s. The ballet is divided into 4 sections: First movement – Free-Play; Second movement – Horse-Play; Third movement – By-Play; Fourth movement – Team-Play
Son of Chamber Symphony
Choreography by Stanton Welch, Music: John Adams
The ballet opens with one woman in this quintessential ballet costume, a tutu, surrounded by four men. This could be the set up for the Rose Adagio from Sleeping Beauty, but see how quickly this allusion is shattered and the choreography takes off in new directions. The second movement is a pas de deux, another essential element of most classical ballets, but there are many things going on here. It is more than just a dance for two, there is struggle and complexity. In the final movement there are allusions to a corps de ballet of swans, but the dynamics and thrust of the work show us so much more. Mr. Welch has given the group of women steps that would normally be given to principal dancers - he feels an obligation to keep moving the classical art forwards and to challenge the dancers in a way that allows them to grow. But it is not only about athleticism, at the same time Mr. Welch also looks for sensuality in his choreography.
Nine Sinatra Songs
Choreography by Twyla Tharp, Music: Frank Sinatra
Each dance in Nine Sinatra Songs is based on a couple, the traditional unit of ballroom dancing, but each one of the songs Tharp has chosen gives the dancers their own musical and dance/theater character. The opening duet (“Softly As I Leave You”) is based on the theme of infatuation, the next (“Strangers In The Night”) Tharp has characterized as a "bastardized Tango." “One For My Baby” is not based on any particular dance form, but shows a "close" couple, late at night. After a re-gathering of all the "characters" involved (“My Way”), a new dancing couple lends tart, comic relief (“Something Stupid”). Unhurried and unshowy glamour bathes the next dance (“All The Way”), while “Forget Domani”, couldn't be showier. This duo plays it straight, fast, front and center, in the manner of actual ballroom competition entrants. The capstone couple (“That’s Life”) is one engrossed in a battle of wits and maneuvers. They play it hot, hard and furious, each giving as good as he or she gets. The last movement brings the group together to a repeat of "My Way," however, danced to a later recording than the one we hear earlier in the piece.
THE JOFFREY BALLET will perform the following repertoire at the Modell Lyric on March 5th.
“Body and Soul:” Crossing Ashland/Bells/Episode 31
Choreography by Brock Clawson, Music: John Adams, Michelle Mclaughlin, Martin Tillman, M83, Jeremy Limb
Named for the well-known Chicago street, Crossing Ashland is a metaphor for facing change within us. With amazingly intertwined movement mixed with the mundaneness of urban pedestrians, the ballet explores vulnerability and the yearning for connection that exists in the human race.
Choreography by Yuri Possokhov, Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff
The second work in the triple bill is the luxurious ballet Bells by Yuri Possokhov, former Bolshoi Ballet dancer and resident choreographer of the San Francisco Ballet. Set to seven piano compositions by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Bells “mixes classic form with seething intensity…Possokhov embraces an often exhilarating tradition only to tease and tickle it whenever the mood strikes” (The Chicago Tribune). This work, a meditation on the nature of relationships, features 10 dancers displaying inventive partnering and impressive unison work. Bells features costumes by award-winning designer Sandra Woodall, who is credited with the costume design for over 200 productions all over the world, and has worked with some of the most highly-regarded companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet.
Choreography by Alexander Ekman, Music: Mikael Karlsson, Ane Brun & Erik Satie
Episode 31 is a large group piece showcasing the dancers’ youth, vigor and athleticism. The piece features contrasting pumping, almost tribal sequences with strong balletic poses. Episode 31 begins with a multimedia production embracing the Joffrey and Chicago with dancers suddenly bursting into dance sequences, in the subways, streets and parks. The Chicago Tribune said “combine vigor of the Harlem Shake, the graceful swoops of Jet Li and the stomps of a tribal rite into one dance performance, and you get Episode 31.”