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Saturday, November 27

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Dance Wed Sep 16 2015

Joffrey Opens 60th Season with Millennials

The Joffrey Ballet opens its 60th season tonight with Millennials. The show features new pieces from a trio of the next generation of standout choreographers. Millennials showcases world premieres by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Myles Thatcher, as well as the Chicago premiere of Fool's Gold from Christopher Wheeldon.

Lopez Ochoa's 20-minute Mammatus -- the Latin word for cloud -- features 20 dancers as birds and insects, exploring movement and nature.

"I feel they are more animals than humans," Lopez Ochoa said of the dancers in her piece. "It's really about forces of nature."

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa choreographing BalletX.
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa choreographing BalletX. Photo by Bill H Photography.

She said Mammatus seeks organization within nature's chaos. The dancing is fast-paced and athletic, and reflects Lopez Ochoa's recent interest in surrealism.

"The piece is more about energy than shape," she said. "I'm hoping to create a world more than a ballet."

Through her choreography, Lopez Ochoa hopes both the dancers and audience experience something new. Rather than telling the audience what her pieces are about or what emotions they should provoke, Lopez Ochoa prefers hearing from viewers their impressions and what world they created in their heads.

"I hope they get blown away," she said. "It's like the wind passing."

Thatcher's work, The Passengers, features nine dancers exploring ideas of transition and vulnerability through 25 minutes of movement set in a train station. The piece is San Francisco Ballet dancer Thatcher's first for Joffrey and a world premiere.

Wheeldon returns to Joffrey after a Tony Award win for Best Choreography for his work on An American in Paris and the success of his Swan Lake for Joffrey. Fool's Paradise featured nine dancers and focuses on the dancer's strength as they move through duets, solos and trios under a shower of petals. Wheeldon will return to Joffrey in December for a reimagined Nutcracker.

"Millennials provides a vibrant look at innovation in dance today by three extremely talented young artists," said Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet artistic director. "Each millennial artist works with a contemporary language to reach today's audience. It is essential that we provide these new voices a platform to explore a modern ballet idiom."

The show runs through Sept. 20 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Tickets are available at the Joffrey Ballet's box office, the Auditorium Theatre box office, by phone at 800-982-2787 or at

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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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