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Auditorium Theatre, April 30 – May 11


CHICAGO (March 24, 2014) – The Joffrey Ballet’s 2013-14 “Masters of Dance” season comes to a close this spring with the U.S. Premiere of Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo & Juliet. Pastor, Director of the Polish National Ballet and Resident Choreographer of the Dutch National Ballet, originally created this new version of Romeo & Juliet in 2008 for the Scottish Ballet. His work has never before been seen in Chicago. Romeo & Juliet runs for 10 performances only at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 East Congress Parkway, April 30 – May 11.


A ballet in three acts, this contemporary rendition of the classic Shakespearean tale is set in Italy and uses a multimedia video backdrop to depict three different political eras of the 20th century. Throughout each time period, the timeless tale of love and loss unfolds to the darkly intense score by Sergei Prokofiev performed live by the Chicago Philharmonic under the baton of Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck.


The ballet opens with imagery of Italy in the 1930’s, the time of Mussolini and the rise of Fascism. The Capulet family represents the upper class conservatives with stiff, militaristic movement, while the Montegues represent the liberal low and middle classes, danced with loose, flowing motions laced with pedestrian naturalism.


The second act shifts to the 1950’s, the rise of the Red Brigade and increased political terrorism, a fitting scene for the tensions blocking Romeo and Juliet’s passionate romance. The third act, closer to the 1990’s during Berlusconi’s leadership and increasing social divisions, escalates the conflict toward the story’s tragic conclusion.  Costumes and sets are designed by Tatyana van Walsum.


Pastor’s counterpoint of the star-crossed lovers and real world politics heightens the universal plight – applicable to lovers from any conflicting background, political, ethnic, religious or otherwise – and amplifies the metaphor of a group sacrificing its individuals for the sake of divisive politics.


Bravura dancing, touching lyricism and epic storytelling unite in this rendering of ill-fated true love. This performance is a co-presentation with the Polish National Ballet, which just premiered Pastor’s Romeo & Juliet March 7, 2014.             


“Though most people are familiar with the Romeo and Juliet story, I was interested in exploring how we tell the tale today,” said Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director. “If a story is universal, it will translate to our time and our language: in this case, the language of classical ballet with a contemporary accent. As with Lar Lubovitch’s Othello, the narrative is explained through physical movement, rather than traditional mime. The action is driven by Prokofiev's brilliant score, brought to full realization by Maestro Scott Speck and the Chicago Philharmonic.”


“When Ashley took the artistic reins of the Joffrey seven years ago, it was with a vision of engaging new choreographers and supporting the creation of new work,” said Greg Cameron, Joffrey Ballet Executive Director. “With Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo & Juliet, we do just that, bringing a new story-ballet to the U.S. for the first time. It’s filled with beautiful choreography just as much as with political ideas that will provoke thought and discussion. It’s moving and challenging at the same time. It perfectly embodies Joffrey’s history with political dance and its long-term vision of propelling the art form forward.”


Tickets and Schedule

Single tickets, which range from $31 to $152, 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 Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at (800) 982-2787, or online at  


Romeo & Juliet runs Wednesday, April 30 through Sunday, May 11. The full performance schedule is as follows:Wednesday, April 30 at 7:30 pm; Friday, May 2 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, May 3 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday, May 4 at 2 pm; Thursday, May 8 at 7:30 pm; Friday, May 9 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, May 10 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; and Sunday, May 11 at 2 pm


About the Choreographer

Krzysztof Pastor began his training with the ballet school in his home town of Gdańsk, Poland. After his training, he joined the Polish Dance Theatre in Poznań (1975) where he worked with Conrad Drzewiecki, winning the position of one of the company’s leading young artistic personalities. Four years later, he moved to the Teatr Wielki of Łódź. In 1983, Pastor became a soloist with Le Ballet de l’Opéra of Lyon in France, dancing ballets by Gray Veredon, Hans van Manen, Kurt Jooss and others. From 1985 to 1995, he danced with the Dutch National Ballet (Het Nationale Ballet), working with many well-known choreographers such as Carolyn Carlson, Nils Christie and Nacho Duato. He danced major roles in both classical and neoclassical ballets, as well as modern dance works.


Pastor completed his first choreographic work in 1986 for an international gala performance in Łódź. He became the Dutch National Ballet’s Choreographer in Residence in the 1998. Pastor has since gained considerable recognition as an international choreographer, creating nearly 50 ballets to date. In January 2003, Krzysztof Pastor was appointed Resident Choreographer of the Dutch National Ballet, sharing the position with Hans van Manen. Pastor took the position of Director of the Polish National Ballet in 2009 while retaining his duties as Resident Choreographer of the Dutch National Ballet.


Alongside his work for the Dutch National Ballet, Pastor has created ballets for many companies in other countries, such as the Royal Swedish Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Scottish Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet Opera Dresden, Israel Ballet, Royal Flemish Ballet, Ballet of the Polish National Opera in Warsaw, National Ballet of Lithuania, National Ballet of Latvia, Donau Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, National Theatre in Brno, Ankara State Ballet, Australian Ballet, West Australian Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet and Hong Kong Ballet.


About The Joffrey Ballet

The Joffrey Ballet is Chicago’s premier ballet company committed to artistic excellence and innovation, presenting a unique repertory encompassing masterpieces of the past and cutting-edge works of today. 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 Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron. The Joffrey is also committed to providing arts education and accessible dance training through its Joffrey Academy of Dance and Community Engagement programs. 


The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2013-2014 Season Sponsors and Partners. With special thanks to Romeo & Juliet Presenting Sponsor, BMO Harris Bank; Live Music Sponsor, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Abbott Fund and NIB Foundation, Co-Sponsors of the 2013-2014Season; Alphawood Foundation Chicago, “Masters of Dance” Sponsor; United Airlines, Official Airline; Chicago Center for Orthopedics at Weiss, Official Healthcare Provider; AthletiCo, Official Provider of Physical Therapy; and JW Marriott, Official Hotel.


For more information on Krzysztof Pastor, visit here, and for more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit


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