Featuring a world premiere, a company premiere, and a couple of stage premieres, the season also includes fan favorite full-lengths by Christopher Wheeldon and Yuri Possokhov.
“After an extraordinary year of unknowns, we can think of no greater pleasure than announcing the Joffrey’s coming season of hope, renewal, and joy. The return of live performance is a welcome salve right now, a chance for all of us to come together again and share the magic of the stage. We are thrilled to present a season that represents the Joffrey on so many different levels, including three works by close members of the Joffrey family, a work of genius by Yuri Possokhov, a world-premiere adaptation of a powerful American story from Cathy Marston, and a Joffrey debut by George Balanchine—a giant of the art form. We also celebrate the return of Christopher Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker, a production that is sure to uplift spirits this holiday season. Adding to all of this is the beginning of our partnership with Lyric Opera House, which we are so proud and excited to call our new home. On behalf of everyone at the Joffrey, we cannot wait to see audiences at the theatre soon.”
Ashley Wheater MBE
Artistic Director of Joffrey Ballet
Joffrey Ballet 2021-2022 Season Schedule
Home: A Celebration | October 15-24, 2021
Lyric Opera House
Birthday Celebration by Gerald Arpino
Swing Low by Chanel DaSilva
Under the Trees’ Voices by Nicolas Blanc
Boléro by Yoshihisa Arai
Birthday Variations, choreographed by Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino with music by Giuseppe Verdi, was commissioned in 1986 by Becky D’Angelo as a birthday present to her husband Dino, who owned Chicago’s Civic Opera House and loved Verdi’s music. This lively and melodic ballet is considered one of Arpino’s most popular creations.
Joffrey’s 2020 Winning Works choreographer Chanel DaSilva finds beauty in the complex and multifaceted experience of what it means to be human with her work, Swing Low an original creation for five men, set to the avant-garde rhythms of cellist and composer Zoë Keating. Swing Low reflects DaSilva’s deep connection to the transformative power of the arts and the indelible joy of movement. The Joffrey’s world premiere of Swing Low will take place at Ravinia on September 17, 2021.
Under the Trees’ Voices is the newest ballet from Joffrey Rehearsal Director Nicolas Blanc and channels the power of community in the age of social distancing. During this world premiere for the stage, four distinct sections set to Symphony No. 2 by Italian composer Bosso, imagines a future of hope and unity. Under the Trees’ Voices had its world premiere, virtually, on April 30, 2021 as part of Joffrey’s Studio Series.
Joffrey Company Artist Yoshihisa Arai takes audiences on a journey through time and space with Boléro. During this world premiere for the stage, 15 dancers take inspiration from the seminal score of the same name by composer Maurice Ravel, and are adorned in costumes designed by Joffrey Company Artist Temur Suluashvili. Boléro had its world premiere, virtually, on February 12, 2021 as part of Joffrey’s Studio Series.
The Nutcracker | December 4-26, 2021
Lyric Opera House
The Nutcracker by Christopher Wheeldon
Christopher Wheeldon’s reimagined classic follows young Marie and the Nutcracker Prince on a Christmas Eve journey through the 1893 World’s Fair, a dazzling spectacle of sights, sounds, and enchantment. This annual holiday tradition celebrates the magic of the season and the rich cultural heritage of Chicago.
A ballet in two acts set to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker features an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author Brian Selznick, Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy/59 Productions.
Don Quixote | February 16-27, 2022
Lyric Opera House
Don Quixote by Yuri Possokhov
A family-friendly ballet full of bravery, fantasy, and love, Yuri Possokhov’s fresh interpretation of this revered ballet classic set to Ludwig Minkus’s score centers on Don Quixote, an aging and eccentric nobleman, who imagines himself to be a valiant knight. With his trusted sidekick Sancho Panza in tow, Quixote embarks on a humorous and fateful journey, ready to breathe life into a world where windmills become monsters and adventure awaits beyond the horizon.
Of Mice and Men & Serenade | April 27 – May 8, 2022
Lyric Opera House
Serenade by George Balanchine
Of Mice and Men by Cathy Marston
The Joffrey premiere of Serenade, set to the original score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is George Balanchine’s first ballet created in America in 1934 and originated as a lesson in stage technique, using unexpected events from rehearsals as the basis for the choreography.
According to The George Balanchine Trust, “When one student fell, he incorporated it. Another day, a student arrived late, and this too became part of the ballet.” Balanchine subsequently reworked the ballet several times before landing on its current iteration, which features four movements based on a score by Tchaikovsky: Sonatina, Waltz, Russian Dance, and Elegy.
The world premiere of Of Mice and Men marks Cathy Marston’s first original creation for The Joffrey Ballet. Marston previously staged the Chicago premiere of her critically acclaimed production of Jane Eyre for the Joffrey during the 2019-2020 season.
The dance story follows George Milton and Lennie Small, two drifters looking for work on the golden farms of Depression-era California. When tragedy strikes, George and Lennie face difficult choices that test the nature of their friendship. Marston goes from page-to-stage with Steinbeck’s tender tale of friendship, perseverance, and sacrifice, with an original score by Academy Award®-nominated composer Thomas Newman.