Chicago’s renowned Joffrey Ballet brings two compelling recent works and an 80-year-old classic to Cal Performances, Saturday, January 26 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 27 at 3:00 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall. The Joffrey Ballet has a rich history of presenting both timeless dance classics and cutting-edge, socially relevant ballet, all while balancing technical excellence with emotional punch. Its 2013 visit marks the company’s first appearance at Cal Performances since Ashley Wheater became Artistic Director in 2007. “Anyone who has seen the Joffrey Ballet perform in recent seasons knows that it is dancing better than ever,” cheered the Chicago Sun-Times in October 2012.
A Sightlines pre-performance talk with dance specialist Kathryn Roszak and the artists will take place Saturday, January 26 from 7:00–7:30 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall. This event is free to all ticket holders.
The Joffrey Ballet’s appearance at Cal Performances features two 21st-century works and one compelling and controversial 20th-century classic. Age of Innocence, a 2008 Joffrey commission by Edwaard Liang, was inspired by Jane Austen novels. Set to a heartbeat of music by Philip Glass and Thomas Newman, Age of Innocence depicts sexual tension and the human desire for self-expression in a repressive culture. The second piece on the program, Christopher Wheeldon’s 2005 After the Rain, presents three bold, sensual duets on a spare yet emotion-packed score by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. After the Rain features a stunning pas de deux in “Spiegel im Spiegel” (“mirror in mirror”), its second movement. The final work on the Joffrey Ballet program, German dancer-choreographer Kurt Jooss’s pacifist masterpiece, The Green Table, was created in 1932 but not presented in the United States until 1967 when the Joffrey Ballet revived it. Set to music by F.A. Cohen, The Green Table dramatizes the human impulse for destruction and the omnipresence of death, even in the midst of peace negotiations. The Joffrey Ballet danced The Green Table on the PBS television series Dance in America in 1992 and revived its production in 2007 for the work’s 40th anniversary in the United States.
The Joffrey Ballet has been one of the best known and most respected independent dance organizations in the United States for more than 50 years. Founded in 1956 by Robert Joffrey (1930–1988) and Gerald Arpino (1923–2008) as an ensemble of American dancers, the company today embodies an inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its artists, audiences, and repertoire. The company’s body of work includes numerous commissions and premieres, major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works. Noted for its many “firsts,” the Joffrey Ballet was the first American ballet company to appear on television, to visit Russia, and the first and only dance company to appear on the cover of Time magazine. The troupe was also the subject of Robert Altman’s 2003 film, The Company. The Joffrey Ballet is based in Chicago where the company performs in the historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, operates the Joffrey Academy of Dance and has inaugurated a close working relationship with the Chicago Philharmonic for its 2012–2013 home season. Its official website is joffrey.com.
Since 2007 the Joffrey Ballet has been led by artistic director Ashley Wheater. Only the third artistic director in company history (after Joffrey and Arpino), Wheater is known for inviting world-renowned choreographers and fresh young talent alike to create new works for the company while keeping classics, such as the annual audience favorite Nutcracker, vital and available. A native of Scotland, Wheater trained at the Royal Ballet School in England and has danced and choreographed in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States including stints as a Joffrey Ballet dancer and as ballet master and assistant to the artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet.
Tickets for the Joffrey Ballet on Saturday, January 26 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 27 at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $30.00- $92.00 and are subject to change. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.
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