JOFFREY BALLET CANCELS REMAINING
PERFORMANCES OF 2020-2021 SEASON DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC;
ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF JOFFREY STUDIO SERIES AND
‘25 FOR 25’ INITIATIVE
New Digital Offering Highlights Creativity of Joffrey Artists
“25 for 25”: Joffrey Honors 25 Years in Chicago
October 1, 2020 (Chicago) – The Joffrey Ballet today announced the cancellation of all remaining performances for the 2020-2021 season, including the world premiere of Cathy Marston’s Of Mice and Men and the Joffrey premiere of George Balanchine’s Serenade (February 17-28, 2021), as well as the Chicago premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid (April 21-May 2, 2021), as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 public health emergency. The Joffrey previously canceled the fall production of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon (October 14-25, 2020) and the annual holiday run of Christopher Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker (December 5-27, 2020). Pending the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Joffrey aims to return to the stage for its inaugural year performing at Lyric Opera House in the fall of 2021.
With the cancellation of the 2020-2021 season, the Joffrey also announces the creation of The Joffrey Studio Series, a new slate of virtual programming that invites audiences to the intimate studios at Joffrey Tower for interviews and behind-the-scenes content with the artists of the Joffrey. Additionally, the Joffrey begins “25 for 25,” a year-long series of free performances, programs, and partnerships with peer organizations from around the city, celebrating 25 years since the Company arrived in Chicago in 1995.
“After once again consulting with health officials on the state of Covid-19, we have determined that the safest course of action for our artists and audience members is to cancel the remainder of our season,” said Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet. “While this is yet another painful decision, especially for the artists, I am inspired by the positivity of the organization. We are back in the studios at Joffrey Tower, under strict safety guidelines, and benefiting from lots of creative energy. Robert Joffrey founded this Company based on innovation. We will carry on that legacy and bring art to the world regardless of the circumstances.”
“As we have seen throughout its history, the Joffrey is resilient,” added Greg Cameron, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Working with our dedicated Board of Directors, we have guaranteed the contracts of all 45 artists through May of 2021, resumed limited classes for the Company and our Academy students, and partnered with Chicago Public Schools to provide virtual curriculum through our Community Engagement programs. Our Crisis Stabilization Fund will continue to be a priority, but our mission of sharing dance with the world will not stop.”
The Joffrey Studio Series
The Joffrey’s new digital series invites audience members inside the studios of Joffrey Tower for curated, behind-the-scenes content, developed and produced with the artists and artistic team of The Joffrey Ballet. This new offering gives patrons an opportunity to learn more about the beauty of dance from the people who know it best. The Joffrey Studio Series, which incorporates in-depth conversations, physically distanced performances and interviews, launches this fall.
“Much of what we are doing is experimental and unprecedented, especially given the guidelines of social distancing,” continued Wheater. “The Joffrey Studio Series is designed to meet the demands of a virtual world. While nothing can truly replicate the magic of the stage, I am hopeful this will give the Joffrey an opportunity to connect more intimately with our patrons until our eventual return to live, in-person performances.”
“25 for 25”
The 2020-2021 season marks 25 years since the Joffrey arrived in Chicago in 1995. In honor of the occasion, the Joffrey has launched “25 for 25,” a series of free performances, programs, and partnerships in collaboration with peer organizations across the city and Chicago’s world-class arts and culture scene.
“Chicago embraced the Joffrey 25 years ago and the love affair has continued ever since,” said Joffrey Board Chair Anne L. Kaplan. “As the Joffrey’s international reputation grows, so does its affection for its chosen city. If not for Chicago, the Joffrey would not be what it is today. Honoring that relationship is important to all of us. We hope these collaborations with Chicago’s outstanding institutions will lift people’s spirits during an unprecedented year.”
Adam and Merritt DeWitt, Joffrey Director and Women’s Board member, respectively, will serve as co-chairs of “25 for 25,” leading fundraising efforts to celebrate this milestone while also ensuring the future of the Joffrey by securing leadership gifts to the Crisis Stabilization Fund.
The Joffrey Crisis Stabilization Fund
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of the Joffrey’s 2020 Spring production of Yuri Possokhov’s Don Quixote and all performances of the 2020-2021 season — an estimated earned revenue loss of more than $9 million. The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, and Joffrey Community Engagement have moved to virtual programming and limited in-person classes indefinitely.
This coming season, the Joffrey will rely almost entirely on contributed revenue to meet its financial commitments. The establishment of the Joffrey Crisis Stabilization Fund attempts to recoup lost funds stemming from Covid-19 and maintain basic operations through October 2021. To date, the Joffrey has raised nearly $7 million of its $12 million goal.
In Accordance with City and State Mandates
The Joffrey Ballet continues to make the safety of its audience, artists, and staff its priority. Joffrey Tower (10 E. Randolph St.) remains closed to the public, but open for limited classes and training for Joffrey artists and Academy students, with administrative work taking place remotely. All activities at Joffrey Tower have resumed in accordance with city and state mandates, with guidance from local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About The Joffrey Ballet
The Joffrey Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the world today, with a reputation for boundary-breaking performances for more than 60 years. The Joffrey repertoire is an extensive collection of all-time classics, modern masterpieces, and original works.
Founded in 1956 by pioneers Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the Joffrey remains dedicated to artistic expression, innovation, and first-rate education and engagement programming. The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron.
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2020-2021 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges our Season Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs, and Athletico Physical Therapy, official provider of physical therapy for The Joffrey Ballet.
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