Review of The Joffrey Ballet’s Spring Program of ‘New Works’ including duo of Chicago Premieres: Justin Peck’s In Creases, Christopher Wheeldon’s Liturgy & the U.S. premiere of Evenfall by Joffrey Ballet Master Nicolas Blanc, plus return of popular Incantations by Val Caniparoli

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By: Carole Kay
Celebrating its 20th anniversary of being in Chicago, and in 2016 it’s 60th company anniversary, The Joffrey Ballet presented “New Works” to an adoring and enthusiastic audience on opening night, April 22, 2015.
“New Works” is comprised of four contemporary ballets, all of which have had their world premiers.  Three of the ballets, “In Creases,” “Liturgy,” and “Evenfall,” were a Joffrey Premier for Chicago on this opening night.   The fourth ballet performed was “Incantations,”a ballet which had had its World Premier in Chicago, 2012.
Each of the four ballets was captivating.  “In Creases” showcased eight dancers forming complex geometric structures and patterns.  It was mesmerizing.  “Liturgy,” performed by April Daly and Dylan Gutierrez, was a duet with dazzling lifts and their two bodies entwined, dancing as one, their arm movements perfectly in sync.  “Evenfall” is a ballet for five dancers, chronicling the seasons of a life’s journey from new love to the twilight years.  “Incantations” was performed by ten dancers, with individual dancers thrilling the audience with intricate choreography, and leaps and spins.  The applause and cheers of the audience evidenced their pleasure and appreciation of the dancers, the choreographers, musicians and set designers.
The Joffrey Ballet will be performing “New Works” through May 3, 2015.  Do not miss it.


presents Spring Program of ‘New Works’

including duo of Chicago Premieres: Justin Peck’s In Creases, Christopher Wheeldon’s Liturgy & the U.S. premiere of Evenfall by Joffrey Ballet Master Nicolas Blanc, plus return of popular Incantations by Val Caniparoli


Spring Program at New Location: Cadillac Palace Theatre,

April 22-May 3, 2015


CHICAGO – Following its highly praised Unique Voices triple bill, The Joffrey Ballet closes its 2014-2015 season celebrating 20 years in Chicago with “New Works,” a mixed repertory program featuring two Joffrey/Chicago Premieres — In Creases by New York City Ballet resident choreographer and soloist Justin Peck and Liturgy by Christopher Wheeldon — along with the U.S. premiere of Evenfall from the Joffrey’s own ballet master Nicolas Blanc and the return of Incantations by Val Caniparoli. The Joffrey Ballet presents “New Works” in ten performances only April 22-May 3, 2015. Please note: The National Football League has moved its annual draft from New York to Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, and the Joffrey is pleased to accommodate the NFL and help secure this event for Chicago by agreeing to relocate this program to the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph Street, Chicago.


“Whether it’s programming that’s original to our dancers, to our audiences or to the world, new work is the life blood of The Joffrey Ballet and a critical component of our company’s mission for artistic innovation and excellence,” said Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater. “This year we’ve been very forthcoming in exploring how far ballet has come while honoring its gloriously rich past, which is why we’ve chosen to end our season with ‘New Works.’ Heavily influenced by the choreography of Robbins, Balanchine and other ballet greats, this program serves as an American abstraction with highly physical, emotionally driven content that will challenge not only our dancers but our audiences as well.”


Currently a soloist and resident choreographer with New York City Ballet, and the subject of the recently released documentary Ballet 422, Peck’s first work – In Creases – premiered in 2012 at NYCB’s annual summer residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Set to minimalist composer Philip Glass’ Four Movements for Two Pianos performed by two pianists onstage, Peck’s choreography for 8 dancers playfully uses neoclassical symmetry and geometry to match the score’s energetic, looping melodies throughout seven movements that build in speed and power as they unfold. Praised for its poetic structure, musicality and invention, In Creases is a bold fusion of dance and athleticism rarely seen in classical ballet. Learn more about choreographer Justin Peck here.


Liturgy is an intriguing exploration of movement and music which Wheeldon created in 2003 during his time as resident choreographer for the New York City Ballet. An abstract duet set to the textured, evocative and haunting score Fratres by Arvo Pärt, Liturgy uses a consistent, yet challenging, vocabulary to develop the relationship between the performers in unseen ways, allowing both the dancers and audience room to fill in their own significances to the work. More about Christopher Wheeldon, who has been commissioned by the Joffrey to choreograph a new Nutcracker for the 2016-17 season and whose Broadway-bound An American in Paris marks his directorial debut, can be found here.  

A ballet master with The Joffrey Ballet since 2011, Blanc created Evenfall for Joffrey dancers Derrick Agnoletti, Fabrice Calmels, Rory Hohenstein, Anastacia Holden, and Victoria Jaiani to debut in 2013 at the Festival Danse en PlaceS in Montauban, France. Set to neoclassical composer Max Richter’s The Four Seasons, this lyrical piece follows the thread of poetry running through the lives of a couple at the beginning of their romance and then through their autumn years. Learn more about choreographer Nicolas Blanc here.

Incantations, set to a meditative score of the same name by Russian minimalist composer Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky, is an abstract work created for the Joffrey in 2012. Caniparoli’s choreography is rooted in classical ballet but influenced by all forms of movement, including modern, ethnic and social dancing. The arc of the music and the ballet is continuous movement, akin to a vortex or a mantra creating a zen-like spiral of movement and emotion. Underlying this spiral motion by 10 dancers is a sense of human spirituality, mysticism and prayer. Learn more about choreographer Val Caniparoli here.

Tickets and Schedule

The Joffrey Ballet performs “New Works” April 22 through May 3, 2015; the full performance schedule is as follows: Wednesday, April 22 at 7:30 pm; Friday, April 24 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, April 25 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday, April 26 at 2 pm; Thursday, April 30 at 7:30 pm; Friday, May 1 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, May 2 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday, May 3 at 2 pm.


Single tickets, priced from $32 to $155 are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street as well, as the Cadillac Palace Theatre Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at (800) 982-2787, or online at


Spring Gala

The Joffrey Ballet closes its 2014-2015 season with the annual Spring Gala on Friday, April 17. The evening will include an exclusive performance at the Cadillac Palace Theatre followed by cocktails, dinner and dancing at the Chicago Hilton. Joffrey Women’s Board member Noren Ungaretti and Joffrey Women’s Board member and Board Director Elizabeth Yntema are the event co-chairs. The Spring Gala’s “Be Moved” theme will celebrate the physical dance, the emotional connection with audiences and the transformation of the company in Chicago throughout the past 20 years.

A 20th anniversary toast, hosted by Moët & Chandon, will be held at the theater before guests are transported to the Chicago Hilton for an evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing to the Rich Daniels and the City Lights Orchestra. Tom Kehoe, President of Kehoe Designs, has collaborated with the gala’s co-chairs to bring the “Be Moved” celebration to life through spectacular décor and magical ambiance at the Chicago Hilton. Acclaimed and world-renowned choreographers Justin Peck and Christopher Wheeldon are expected to be in attendance.

The Joffrey Ballet would like to extend a very special thanks to Spring Gala Presenting Sponsor BMO Private Bank, Spring Gala Evening Sponsors: the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, Fred Eychaner, Elizabeth Yntema and Mark Ferguson, Premier Grand Benefactor Sponsors: Abbott, Allstate, Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Anne Kaplan, Natoma Partners, and Mr. and Mrs. Joel V. Williamson with Mayer Brown LLP. The Joffrey is thankful for the generosity of these individuals, foundations and companies.

About The Joffrey Ballet

This year, The Joffrey Ballet celebrates its 20th anniversary of being in Chicago and in 2016, its 60th company anniversary. 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. To learn more, visit


The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2014-2015 Season Sponsors and Partners and would like to acknowledge New Works Presenting Sponsor BMO Private Bank and Production Sponsor Macy’s. Special thanks to Evenfall Production Sponsor Elizabeth Yntema and Mark Ferguson and Co-Sponsors of the 2014-2015 Season: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, NIB Foundation and The Anne and Burt Kaplan Fund of the Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation; Official Provider of Physical Therapy, Athletico; Official Hotel, JW Marriott; and Official Health Club, Chicago Athletic Clubs.



For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, please visit


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