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Video courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet

Thirsty:  We understand that 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the great Ballets Russes under the direction of Sergei Diaghilev.  How is the Joffrey celebrating this milestone?

Ashley Wheater:  In celebration here at the Joffrey, we are reviving some of these great masterpieces from that time.  Our Winter Program showcased Nijinsky’s very controversial Le Sacre du Printemps.  I’d always felt that audiences enjoyed the work, but never really understood it, so we made an eight minute documentary explaining the story, Nijinsky’s ideas, the importance of one of Stravinsky’s greatest pieces of music as well as the inspiration that came about from the designer Roerich.  In the spring, we will celebrate another masterpiece from the Ballets Russes choreographed by Nijinsky’s sister, Bronislava Nijinska, music by Stravinsky and we will also be making a short video about this ballet called Les Noces

Thirsty:  One of the great hallmarks of the Joffrey is your commitment to both premiere new works and to revive important older works.  What has been on your calendar in that regard?

Video courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet

Ashley Wheater:  In the winter, the company performed Gerald Arpino’s Kettentanz with great athleticism and freshness and we premiered Tom Ruud’s visually stunning Mobile inspired by Alexander Calder’s art.  And, in the spring, we have two Joffrey premieres: Helgi Tomasson’s beautifully choreographed Valses Poeticos, which incidentally was choreographed on me.  It is a series of solos and duets about love. And, the other premiere is Christopher Wheeldon’s much anticipated Carousel (A Dance) to the beautiful music of Richard Rodgers.  The whole program speaks of the many different levels of human love and I would highly recommend it to your readers, especially if it would be their first time attending the ballet.  

Thirsty:  How has the economy affected the Joffrey?

Ashley Wheater:  It has been a great year and yes, like everyone else, we are very concerned about the global economy, but I feel we cannot let the arts go.  They are too important to our lives and they touch us at the deepest levels, be it visually, physically, audibly and, of course, that deep place in our hearts emotionally.

Thirsty:  As your season draws to a close, what are you planning for next year?

Ashley Wheater:  We have a very exciting 2009-2010 season with a full-length production of Othello told through the language of contemporary dance.  It is a very hip, beautiful and physically sensual production.  In addition, we will be performing Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker, Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, the World Premiere of dances by James Kudelka and by Jessica Lang.  And, in the spring, we will feature Gerald Arpino’s neoclassical work, Reflections.  It will be a very full and very exciting year.  Until then, my very best to all your readers. 

Le Sacre du Printemps (click to enlarge)

Hand Of Fate (click to enlarge)

Kettentanz (click to enlarge)

Photos courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet (photo credit: Migdoll)




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