February 12, 2018 ( Chicago )— Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet, proudly announces an impressive 2018-19 season featuring the world premiere of Yuri Possokhov's historic reimagining of Leo Tolstoy's classic novel, Anna Karenina, presented as part of a first-time collaboration between The Joffrey Ballet and the renowned Australian Ballet, along with a world premiere by rising urban dance star Andrea Walker, the Chicago Premiere of Wayne McGregor's Kairos and the return of two popular works by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. The Joffrey Ballet kicks off its 63rd season with Wheeldon's modern re-telling of Swan Lake, October 17-28, followed by his reimagined The Nutcracker, December 1-30. For its winter engagement, the Joffrey presents Possokhov's new full-length ballet Anna Karenina, February 13-24 and concludes its season with a mixed repertory program that includes the Company premiere of McGregor's Kairos, a world premiere ( untitled ) from Walker and the Company Premiere of Sir Frederick Ashton's iconic Symphonic Variations, April 24- May 5.
All performances take place at the Joffrey's home venue, the historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, in downtown Chicago at 50 East Congress Parkway. All programs throughout the season feature live music performed by the Chicago Philharmonic conducted by Scott Speck, Music Director of The Joffrey Ballet.
Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly embracing the diversity of America with its Company, audiences and repertoire, which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works. Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron.
"The Joffrey has consistently shown a desire to lead artistically and culturally," said Artistic Director Ashley Wheater. "Our upcoming season harkens back to all-time classics, but also provides a window to the future. Our collaboration with The Australian Ballet is momentous on so many levelsfrom the scale of the production to the interpretation of Leo Tolstoy's seminal work of fiction. I am also thrilled to present a program of works by some of the United Kingdom's most influential artists including Wayne McGregor, rising star Andrea Walker, and one of ballet's most revered artists, Sir Frederick Ashton. This upcoming season is packed with substance."
"It is through Ashley Wheater's unrivaled leadership that The Joffrey Ballet continues to shine as a world-class institution and our 2018-19 season proves to be our most monumental to date," added Executive Director Greg Cameron. "This groundbreaking season honors ballet's most established stars and rising talent through bold new work, ambitious collaborations and larger-than-life classics. We are immensely proud of where the Joffrey is today and are thrilled to present these remarkable ballet experiences in the year to come."
About the 2018-19 Season
October 17-28, 2018
Christopher Wheeldon's stunning re-telling of this classic tale returns for the first time since its Chicago Premiere with the Joffrey in 2014. A ballet in four acts, Wheeldon transports one of ballet's most famous works to the studios of the Paris Opera during the 19th century, the same era Tchaikovsky composed Swan Lake in Moscow and when a young impressionist named Edgar Degas was on the rise in Paris.
A ballet-within-a-ballet, Wheeldon's modern vision combines the classical elements of Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa's original choreography with a touch of fantasy, as lavish sets and breathtaking movement inspired by Degas take hold in this timeless love story danced to Tchaikovsky's mesmerizing score. Throughout the production, Wheeldon plays with themes of illusion and transformation, juxtaposing both time, setting and characters to reveal a new way to see this classic fairytale ballet. Learn more about Christopher Wheeldon here.
Swan Lake is presented in 10 performances, October 17-28, 2018.
December 1-30, 2018
The Joffrey Ballet will once again present its reimagined holiday classic The Nutcracker by Christopher Wheeldon. Set during Chicago's 1893 World's Fair, Wheeldon's turn-of-the-century tale opens as young Marie and her mother, a sculptress creating the Fair's iconic Statue of the Republic, host a festive Christmas Eve celebration. After a surprise visit from the creator of the Chicago Columbian Exposition, the mysterious Grand Impresario, Marie embarks on a whirlwind of adventure and romance with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World's Fair.
A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky's classic score, The Nutcracker features an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author Brian Selznick, Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy.
The Nutcracker is presented in 29 performances, December 1-30, 2018.
February 13-24, 2019
Created by visionary choreographer Yuri Possokhov, this world premiere collaboration between The Joffrey Ballet and The Australian Ballet brings Leo Tolstoy's epic 19th century story of forbidden love, passion and self-destruction to life on the stage.
A ballet in two acts, Possokhov's Anna Karenina centers on the tragic tale of a married aristocrat and her ongoing love triangle in Imperial Russia, a story that explores the complex politics of family, religion, morality and gender. Possokhov is joined by an all-star creative team known for theatrical excellence. Among them: award winning Russian composer Ilya Demutsky ( 2016 Golden Mask Award recipient, Russia's most prestigious theater honor ); Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award®-nominated set designer Tom Pye ( Gloriana, Fiddler on the Roof ) and renowned lighting designer David Finn ( Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence ).
Known for his visceral and expressive style, Possokhov has created groundbreaking new works around the globe. A frequent guest artist with The Joffrey Ballet, Possokhov has received numerous critical acclaim for transforming iconic literature into inventive, emotionally driven story ballets, including the world premiere of Don Quixote with the Joffrey. Learn more about Yuri Possokhov here.
The world premiere of Anna Karenina will be presented first in Chicago in 10 performances with The Joffrey Ballet, February 13-24, 2019, and then in Melbourne with The Australian Ballet in May 2020.
Across the Pond
April 24-May 5, 2019
The Joffrey's spring engagement, a mixed repertory program entitled Across the Pond, features the United Kingdom's most influential artists, including a world premiere by London-based choreographer Andrea Walker, the Chicago Premiere of Kairos by Wayne McGregor and the Joffrey Premiere of Symphonic Variations by the iconic Sir Frederick Ashton.
After his successful Company debut with Infra in 2015, internationally celebrated choreographer Wayne McGregor returns to the Joffrey with the Chicago premiere of Kairos. Referring to an ancient Greek word denoting "weather" or the most opportune time to act, Kairos originally premiered in 2014 as part of STEPS, Switzerland's largest national contemporary dance festival hosted by the Ballett ZÃ¼rich. A visual feast set to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, reimagined by experimental composer Max Richter, this lyrical work combines McGregor's signature physicality with the sleek designs of award-winning London-based artist Idris Khan. Learn more about Wayne McGregor here.
Considered one of Sir Frederick Ashton's finest works and one of his first after returning from his posting during World War II, Symphonic Variations evokes the mystical splendor of the seasons, set to a score by 18th century composer César Franck. Originally created in 1946 for Sadler's Wells, this ethereal work for six dancers fluctuates between quartets, duets, sextets, and solos, hinting at concepts of mysticism and spirituality that Ashton studied during the War. Learn more about Sir Frederick Ashton here.
Andrea Walker, Founder and Artistic Director of London's 201 Dance Company, brings his striking sensibility state-side with a new work created exclusively for The Joffrey Ballet. Walker, a star on the rise known for his work with international sensations Coldplay and Lady Gaga, melds an exciting blend of hip- hop and dance theatre with a penchant for topical social issues. Walker's world premiere marks his first collaboration with The Joffrey Ballet. Learn more about Andrea Walker here.
Across the Pond is presented in 10 performances only, April 24-May 5, 2019
Joffrey Gala Performance
April 12, 2019
For the fourth year in a row, The Joffrey Ballet will open its special, one-hour gala performance exclusively to Joffrey subscribers and gala attendees. For the first time, the gala will be held at the Lyric Opera House and will celebrate the artists who make the Joffrey one of the world's leading international dance companies. This one-night-only performance features a specially-curated program by Artistic Director Ashley Wheater.
The Joffrey in Performance with Chicago Symphony Orchestra
May 30-June 1, 2019
A special appearance in 2019, The Joffrey Ballet makes its Chicago Symphony Orchestra ( CSO ) debut in performances that feature a world premiere work ( choreographer to be announced at a later date ) set to the music of Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks Concerto. This program also features Christopher Wheeldon's ballet Commedia, set to the music of Stravinsky's Suite from Pulcinella.
Note: The Joffrey's collaboration with CSO is not part of the Joffrey season and tickets are not available through The Joffrey Ballet. Performances take place at Symphony Center ( 220 S. Michigan Ave. ). More information can be found at CSO.org .
Notable in 2018: The Joffrey Ballet Heads to Paris
June 25-30, 2018
The Joffrey Ballet will travel to Paris, France, at the invitation of Les Ã‰tés de la Danse ( "The Summer of Dance" ), a highly-anticipated annual festival that welcomes the world's most prominent dance companies, artists and choreographers to Europe each summer. This year, the festival will present Hommage Ã JérÃ´me Robbins ( "Tribute to Jerome Robbins" ), a program honoring the 100th anniversary of Jerome Robbins' birth. Performances take place June 25-30, 2018. The Joffrey will present two works choreographed by Robbins as part of a shared bill with New York City Ballet. They include: Interplay ( first performed by the Joffrey in 2013 ), and Glass Pieces ( making its Chicago debut during the Company's Modern Masters winter program, February 7-15 ).
Founded in 2005, Les Ã‰tés de la Danse has established itself as the premier choreographic event of the Parisian summer. Summer performances are rare in Paris, but audiences are not: tourists come from near and far, as do Parisians who enjoy long summer evenings in the city. Each year, Les Ã‰tés de la Danse invites extraordinary artists to Paris, where a growing number of spectators discover new and exciting performers from around the world.
Note: The Joffrey's performance engagement in Paris is not part of the Joffrey season and tickets are not available through The Joffrey Ballet. Performances take place at La Seine Musicale in France. More information can be found at lesetesdeladanse.com/en.
Tickets and Subscriptions
Three-program subscriptions, which do not include The Nutcracker, start at $90. Subscriptions will be available for purchase as of February 12, 2018, online at joffrey.org, by mail ( Joffrey Ballet Subscriptions, The Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Tower, 10 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601 ), by telephone at 312-386-8905, by fax at 312-739-0119 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Groups of 10 or more call 312-386-8937.
Single tickets for the October, February and April/May performances as well as The Nutcracker will be available starting August 1, 2018. Single tickets are available at The Joffrey Ballet's official Box Office located in the lobby of 10 East Randolph Street, by telephone at 312-386-8905 or online at joffrey.org .
—From a Joffrey Ballet press release
About The Joffrey Ballet
Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its Company, audiences, and repertoire, which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works.
The Company's commitment to accessibility is met through an extensive touring schedule, an innovative and highly effective education program, including the much-lauded Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, Community Engagement programs and collaborations with myriad other visual and performing arts organizations.
Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under internationally renowned Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron.
For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit joffrey.org . Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.