Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-01-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

DANCIN' FEATS Robert Joffrey's 'Nutcracker' takes final bow
by Lauren Warnecke
2015-12-09

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


December means Nutcracker in the dance world, and the Chicago area has dozens of choices. The famous story of Clara and a nutcracker doll who turns into a magical prince is based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's tale. The story was originally choreographed as a ballet by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov in 1892, set to the lush 90-minute score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

For 28 years, The Joffrey Ballet's production has been a beloved part of Chicago's holiday season. Conceived and directed by founding artistic director Robert Joffrey, Joffrey's interpretation of the dark Hoffmann tale is decidedly light and magical in a production featuring stunning sets and costumes, an astounding level of detail, and co-founder Gerald Arpino's now famous Snow and Waltz of the Flowers scenes. So loved is this production, that it was shocking to hear the company would retire it in this, its 60th season, to make way for a brand new Nutcracker by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon in 2016.

"It's very nostalgic," said veteran Joffrey dancer Derrick Agnoletti in an interview with Windy City Times. Agnoletti is best known for his roles as Fritz/Snow Prince ( uniquely cast as a duel role in Joffrey's production ) and Chinese. "Some of the people I grew up with in the company have been dancing together since day one, and have had the opportunity to have watched many dancers before us like Calvin Kitten and Suzanne Lopez." Kitten, who danced with Joffrey from 1991-2010, was also a celebrated performer in the role of Fritz/Snow Prince. "They inspired us in their roles inï申Nutcrackerï申with their dedication, hard work and incredible artistry," said Agnoletti. "It's a Joffrey tradition to take pride and work tirelessly to keep your roles fresh and technically brilliant."

Michigan native Anastacia Holden joined the company in 2005 with Agnoletti. "Saying goodbye to the Joffreyï申Nutcracker will be very difficult," she said. "There is something wonderful about dancing the choreography of Mr. Joffrey and Mr. Arpino, which is both stylistically and musically unique. That being said, Mr. Joffrey and Mr. Arpino were both innovative men interested in pushing the boundaries of the art form, trying new things, and taking risks. I see the newï申Nutcrackerï申as a continuation of that foundational piece of Mr. Joffrey's long-term vision for his dancers and his company."

Agnoletti agreed that the spirit of The Joffrey Ballet is grounded in the future, not the past. "I will definitely miss this version, as it holds a near and dear place to my heart," he said, "but … I think it's important that The Joffrey Ballet keep growing and pushing the boundaries of ballet. I am looking forward to Mr. Wheeldon coming to Joffrey and sharing his creativity and craft, as his intelligence and respect of the art form of ballet will really shine in a new version of The Nutcracker. It gives the company a new treat to bite on and artists today really thrive when they are fed with new material."

Artistic Director Ashley Wheater was a member of the Joffrey Ballet when Joffrey created the ballet in 1987, and performed the dual role of Father ( Mr. Stahlbaum ) and Snow King for its world-premiere performance in Iowa City. In an interview with Windy City Times, Wheater acknowledged that Joffrey was a proponent of innovation and technology, and would likely agree that it is time to move forward. "For years we've talked about, 'What are we going to do about The Nutcracker?'" he said. The costumes, sets, and props are disintegrating after 28 years of wear and tear, and would have to be rebuilt anyway. Christopher Wheeldon's Nutcracker will incorporate a more contemporary take on the story, modern stagecraft technology that didn't exist 30 years ago, and Chicago-centric themes based on the 1893 Columbian Exposition. The ballet will be the first full-length work set on this generation of Joffrey's dancers.

"Ballet companies now compete with Broadway," said Wheater. "They want something that is overwhelmingly magical. I don't think anybody has anything bad to say about this version of The Nutcracker, and it will always be there, but the possibilities that are coming forward—they're exciting.

"Family has a different meaning today. [Wheeldon], for me, is of our generation. He's a great storyteller, and I think that Chris comes with all the things that we really care about: humanity, the warmth of Christmas, what makes The Nutcracker a great story, and so much respect for the music."

Wheater will return to the stage for the final performance on Dec. 27, alongside April Daly as Mr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum in the party scene. The opening 20 minutes at the Stahlbaums' residence is Wheater's favorite section of the ballet, and the only one that was dreamt up by Robert Joffrey alone. Wheater calls the beautifully detailed scene "Joffrey's stamp on the ballet."

The Joffrey Ballet performs The Nutcracker at Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., through Sunday, Dec. 27. Tickets are $32-$136, available at The Joffrey Ballet's official box office, 10 E. Randolph St., as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University box office, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at 800-982-2787 or online at www.ticketmaster.com .


facebook twitter pin it 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

Gay News

Chicago LGBTQ icon/dance group co-founder Troy Winston dies 2020-01-22 - By Carrie Maxwell Imported Taste dance group co-founder and LGBTQ icon Troy Winston died Dec. 26, 2019 due to congestive heart failure. ...


Gay News

The Queer Landscape, Chicago Danztheatre presents performance on LGBTQ+ identity 2020-01-14 - CHICAGO ( January 6th, 2020 ) - Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble is pleased to announce the third installment of its 2019-20 Art & Activism ...


Gay News

Alvin Ailey company in Chicago in March 2020-01-12 - The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., on March 4-8, featuring Midwest ...


Gay News

Joffrey Presents 'The Times Are Racing,' A Mixed Rep Program 2020-01-09 - January 9, 2020 ( Chicago ) — For its winter engagement, The Joffrey Ballet presents The Times Are Racing, a mixed repertory program ...


Gay News

Bowie Ball celebrates with drag and dance Jan. 10 2020-01-07 - Heaven Malone and A Queer Pride will present "Bowie Ball: David Bowie's Birthday" Friday, Jan. 10, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., at Le Nocturne, 4810 ...


Gay News

Queen Elizabeth honors Joffrey director 2019-12-28 - Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet and a British native, has been appointed a Member of the ...


Gay News

Alla Kovgan dances with Cunningham 2019-12-27 - Filmmaker Alla Kovgan has created a new 3D documentary depicting the works of modern dance pioneer Merce Cunningham. Moscow born Kovgan has built ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Dance Nation 2019-12-20 - Playwright: Clare Barron At: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: 312-335-1650 or Steppenwolf.org; $20-$94. Runs through Feb. 2 When you ...


Gay News

Steppenwolf Theatre Company to present Dance Nation 2019-12-17 - CHICAGO ( December 16, 2019 ) — Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Chicago premiere production Pulitzer Prize FinalistDance Nation by Clare Barron, directed and choreographed ...


Gay News

Joffrey's Chicago-set 'Nutcracker' through Dec. 29 2019-12-14 - The Joffrey Ballet's reimagined classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to open the holiday season at the historic Auditorium Theatre, ...


 



Copyright © 2020 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


 



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 publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.