Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-07-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

DANCIN' FEATS Joffrey dancers reflect on 'Nutcracker'
by Vicki Crain
2012-12-12

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


"Every time I do it, it gets easier," said veteran Joffrey Ballet dancer Derrick Agnoletti, 31, referring to dancing the beloved ballet The Nutcracker playing through Dec. 27 at The Auditorium Theater. "I would never say it is easy, but you learn to pace yourself and take things one at a time."

Fellow dancer Michael Smith, 30, agreed. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Robert Joffrey's version of the holiday classic, which was given the Goldstar National Nutcracker Award (or "Nutty") in 2011 as the "Best Loved Nutcracker" in the U.S.

This year also marks milestones for Agnoletti and Smith, who have been dancing in Joffrey's Nutcracker for 10 and 14 years, respectively. Between the two, they've performed almost every part aside from the Sugar Plum Fairy. They are enjoying being the "older" dancers, passing down information and traditions they've learned over the years. Good friends inside the studio and out, they consider each other and their fellow Joffrey dancers, past and present, family.

"You're drawn to certain people and you help them through," Smith said. "This career is so short, if you can give a little advice to help in any way, it makes the process of being in this field much easier." Smith "schooled" Agnoletti when he first joined the company. "Back in the day, the older dancers would school you," he said. "We looked up to them, because when you saw them on stage, they were so professional."

Both dancers say it isn't hard to keep performances fresh, even after dancing them for years in a row. Agnoletti said, "I learned from the older generation how to make up stories. They always had a story behind everything they did."

Smith plays off the people around him to keep things fresh, while actively pushing himself for new ideas. "There is always something different or another way to approach it," he said. "It's kind of like being on autopilot, but the more you're comfortable within a role, the more you can live in it. Sure you have to be stiff as a soldier, but there are moments artistically you can play with and explore."

To celebrate the silver anniversary, the company is going retro by restoring pieces of the original 1987 choreography by Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino that had been altered over the years. What makes this iteration unique is it is set in America instead of Europe, the use of men in traditionally all-female corps dances and the way the characters are thread throughout the entire ballet. "There is something about its raw quality," Smith said. "The story is told in this pop-up book kind of way and the way things feed through the entire ballet like how the kids get the toys in the beginning, then the toys fight in the battle and carry on in the Act II divertissements, it stays true to the puzzle of all of it."

Another notable difference in Joffrey's Nutcracker is the way the ballet ends. SPOILER ALERT: Where most versions have Clara (a.k.a the girl who gets the nutcracker) waking up from her dream safe at home, this one has her floating away in a hot-air balloon. "To me it has a very American, Wizard of Oz feel," said Smith. "If you know the story, it's already implied that it's a dream. It doesn't need to be literal. It's more magical if she floats away. That's kind of what Joffrey and Arpino were about. Keeping the magic always going even outside the theater."

Agnoletti saw that magic first hand for the first time earlier this month while the company was on tour in Ohio. "I'd never seen it all the way through, but I had a night off," he said. "I liked seeing Mr. Arpino's choreography. I love the Snow Scene. The Arpino style is brought into it so well, because it's icy and sharp and fast. You have to know how to control your body and you have to make it look clean. When I'm in it, I try my best to keep it at the level that he trained us to do."

Arpino, affectionately known as Mr. A., is a presence still felt by the older dancers, especially during Nutcracker season. "There's a small group of us that were connected with Mr. A., that got to be in the studio and work with him. It's cool to see Arpino-isms being put into other people," said Smith. "It's interesting to be in a role where you are the one passing down the information."

The Joffrey Ballet presents Robert Joffrey's The Nutcracker at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., through Dec. 27. Performance times vary. Tickets are $31-$132; call 800-982-2787 or visit www.ticketmaster.com .

Other holiday shows:

Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockkettes at the Akoo Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont, Friday, Dec. 14—Sunday, Dec. 31, performance times vary. Tickets are $30-$89; call 800-745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com .

Chicago Tap Theatre presents Tidings of Tap! at the University of Illinois at Chicago Theater, 1044 W. Harrison St., Friday-Saturday, Dec. 14-15, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15-$35; call 773-655-1175 or visit www.chicagotaptheatre.com .

Ruth Page Civic Ballet's The Nutcracker will be performed at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts at the College of Lake County, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake, Saturday, Dec. 15, at 1 and 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10-$25; call 847-543-2300 or visit www.clcillinois.edu/tickets.

Salt Creek Ballet presents The Nutcracker at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, Saturday, Dec. 15, at 1 and 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $24.50-$39.50; call 847-673-6300 or visit www.northshorecenter.org .

Ballet Chicago's The Nutcracker at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2:30 p.m., as well as Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 22 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 23 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $26-$37; call 773-935-6875 or visit www.athenaeumtheatre.org .


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

ICE has new guidance on care of transgender immigrants in custody 2015-06-29
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Jerry Mitchell talks about achieving 'Feet' 2015-06-24
THEATER REVIEWS On Your Feet! 2015-06-24
Cece Peniston 'finally' finds fashion 2015-06-24
Upcoming: Dance for Life, Chefs and the City, Bingo, Tap, Tommy Tune 2015-06-24
SEVEN Dance Club, set to open in former Spin Nightclub 2015-06-20
TELEVISION Paula Abdul: So she thinks she can judge 2015-06-17
HBHC has 'ball' with competition event 2015-06-16
Groups from across the nation to converge for dancing festival 2015-06-13
DANCIN' FEATS A very Royal engagement 2015-06-10
Upcoming: Music, dance, theater 2015-06-09
THEATER Gloria and Emilio Estefan land on their feet 2015-06-03
Upcoming: Pride Fest; Black Alphabet Film Fest; EXPO Chicago; Dance for Life 2015-06-03
SUMMER DANCE SPECIAL Summer is for lovers of dance 2015-05-27
Chicago Tap Theatre presents Circo Tap one night 2015-05-26
Harris Theatre unveils 2015-16 dance season 2015-05-20
DANCIN' FEATS Chicago dance is super-gay 2015-05-13
Harris Theater presents 2015-16 season See The Dance 2015-05-07
Upcoming: Film, cabaret, brunch, lecture, competition, honors, dance 2015-04-28
Upcoming: Bon Foster; Wainwright; Fashion; Lean Times dance; more 2015-04-21
'Dancer as Insurgent' part of queer-themed Hull House event 2015-04-14
DANCIN' FEATS Lane Alexander is 'building community with rhythm' 2015-04-08
DOWS hosts women's dance 2015-03-23
SPRING DANCE PREVIEW Chicago Dance Month and much more 2015-03-18
DIFFA/Chicago Auxiliary Board hosts Dance For A DIFFArence Winter Ball 2015-03-12
DANCIN' FEATS Art imitates life, captures imagination 2015-03-11
International Women's Day Dance returns 2015-03-08
Gaga, Vaughn take polar plunge; Michael Sam to take up 'Dancing' 2015-03-03
Upcoming: Kim Gordon; Kelly Clarkson; Women's Day Dance; 'Frost Fest' 2015-02-25
Upcoming events: Internat'l Women's Dance; gays on 'Hate in America'; Knuckles film 2015-02-18
DANCIN' FEATS Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to Chicago 2015-02-11
Bob Fosse, Sybil Shearer celebrated at North Shore Center Feb. 21 2015-02-05
Music and Dance dates: Steve Grand CD; 'Drag Race' tour; Country-western dance 2015-02-04
Events coming up: Disney; casting call; Women's Day Dance; jewelry tour 2015-02-03
International Women's Day Dance March 7 2015-02-02
Event headlines in dance, music, art 2015-01-27
WINTER DANCE SPECIAL Plenty of dance to heat up the winter 2015-01-21
DANCIN' FEATS Rousseve's 'Stardust' explores technology, race, queerness 2015-01-14
Local entertainment coming up 2015-01-06
Chicago's dance world mourns loss of Eric Eatherly 2014-12-31
 



Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.