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Dance Fri Sep 19 2014

Joffrey Ballet kicks off 20th Chicago season

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Joffrey Ballet residing in Chicago. To celebrate, the company welcomes the 2014-2015 season with a special, one-weekend show, "Stories in Motion."

"Stories in Motion" opens ahead of Joffrey's usual season of three programs. Consisting of three pieces, the show examines the idea of story ballet. Both George Balanchine's Prodigal Son and Antony Tudor's Lilac Garden, two Joffrey favorites, will be presented in a fresh way alongside with Yuri Possokhov's Chicago premiere of RAkU.

"With 'Stories in Motion,' the Joffrey Ballet explores the ways by which stories are told with physical movement and music," said Artistic Director Ashley Wheater in a release. "We tend to think of only full-length ballets as our narrative food, so I wanted to focus on telling a complete story in a very short space of time."

The Joffrey has not performed Prodigal Son since 2000. The piece is based on the Gospel of Luke and tells the story of a boy who leaves his family and falls into sin before returning home and finding redemption. Wheater performs in this piece as the father.

Lilac Garden is a more psychological ballet, delivering mental motivation through movement. The Victorian melodrama focuses on a young woman facing an arranged marriage and saying goodbye to her lover the night before. The Joffrey Ballet last performed the piece in 2008.

RAkU makes it Chicago debut, brought by San Francisco Ballet's Resident Choreographer Possokhov. The contemporary ballet explores the tale of a Japanese emperor and princess separated by war and a Buddhist monk's obsessive love.

"We present three very distinct narrative works and hope to show that the language of dance is as expressive and nuanced as the spoken or written word," Wheater said. "As with all great stories, human nature is the source of these ballets. Emotions are rendered through movement without, longing, passion, jealousy, sorrow, revenge and forgiveness."

"Stories in Motion" runs tonight through Sunday at the Auditorium Theatre. Shows are at 7:30pm tonight and Saturday and 2pm Saturday and Sunday. For tickets, visit the Joffrey Ballet box office or

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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