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The Inspiring History of the Joffrey Ballet

The Joffrey Ballet brings an edge of modern style to the age-old discipline of Ballet. Going even further to stretch the very boundaries of the most elegant of the arts, the Joffrey Ballet reaches even further than the New York City Ballet, begun by Russian immigrant George Balanchine.

From a very modest beginning in 1956 in New York City, the Joffrey Ballet was first known as the Robert Joffrey Theatre Ballet. It was renamed simply the Joffrey Ballet when it opened a West Coast branch in Los Angeles. In 1995, founders Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino decided to make a permanent move to the city that had first welcomed its traveling troupe in the very early years. Renamed the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago until 2004 when it once again reverted to its former Joffrey Ballet name, the company continues to dance in Chicago and tour the world. It has grown from two directors with a passion for modernism in a classical world and six talented dancers to a world-renowned company. The company now has forty-two dancers that perform a regular season from October through May at their home theater at Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Theater in Chicago.

The beautiful and stylish Joffrey Ballet was founded with a pioneering spirit, and as such is known as a company of firsts. The first ballet company to perform at the White House, the first to incorporate rock music into ballet performances, the first to perform a rock music based ballet in Russia, and the first to be on the cover of Time Magazine. “The Company” was also the very first major movie to revolve around a ballet company.

You can see the magnificent Joffrey Ballet for yourself with tickets available for their American Legends performance of four wonderful ballets, one of which will premiere in Chicago in February. The others are Joffrey Ballet standards: Interplay by Jerome Robbins, Sea Shadow by the original artistic director of the Joffrey, Gerald Arpino and Nine Sinatra Songs created by Twyla Tharp and made famous by the great Mikhail Baryshnikov when he performed with Joffrey Ballet.

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