• The Joffrey Ballet Program Book
  • The Joffrey Ballet Program Book
Program Books/The Joffrey Ballet

The Joffrey Ballet

Friday and Saturday, March 4–5, 2022, 8pm
Sunday, March 6, 2022, 3pm
Zellerbach Hall

The run time for this performance is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, with two intermissions.

Saturday evening’s performance is made possible, in part, by Patron Sponsors Daniel Johnson and Herman Winkel. 

Sunday’s matinee performance is made possible, in part, by an Anonymous Patron Sponsor. 

Program

From the Executive and Artistic Director

Jeremy Geffen

As springtime fast approaches, this weekend offers a perfect opportunity to sample the types of entertaining, diverse, and ambitious programs that make Cal Performances so special. The Joffrey Ballet, one of the crown jewels of American dance, arrives for a three-day residency (Mar 4–6), with a program featuring three highly anticipated West Coast premieres. (What a great way to conclude the company’s current six-year residency at UC Berkeley!) We also welcome the return of our longtime friends Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations with a sparkling program of early music featured in the classic 1991 film Tous les matins du monde (Mar 4); as well as the Cal Performances solo debut of the brilliant young soprano Angel Blue (with pianist Bryan Wagorn) in a recital including works by Mozart, R. Strauss, Rachmaninoff, and a powerful selection of traditional Black American spirituals (Mar 6).

I also want to make sure you know about another upcoming season highlight, the West Coast premiere of Ted Hearne and Saul Williams’ Place (Mar 12; a semi-staged secular oratorio), a bold meditation on the topographies of gentrification and displacement. One of this season’s Illuminations “Place and Displace­ment” events (see our website for more information), Place was a finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Music; it’s a remarkable work and something I don’t think you’ll want to miss. (The recording for the New Amsterdam label captured the attention of the music world, earning two 2021 Grammy nominations—for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.)

March marks the time of year that traditionally finds Cal Performances operating on all cylinders. From now through the beginning of May, the remainder of our 2021­–22 season is packed with adventurous programming. You won’t want to miss…

  • the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Mar 29 – Apr 3) returning to Zellerbach Hall for the first time since the initial pandemic shutdown in 2020; Ailey programs—featuring more than a dozen works from the company’s legendary repertory—have just been announced, so make sure to check our website for details
  • the one and only London Symphony Orchestra (Mar 20), appearing under the direction of superstar conductor Sir Simon Rattle, in a program of orchestral masterworks
  • pianist extraordinaire Mitsuko Uchida (Mar 27) playing and directing Mozart with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • the renowned English Baroque Soloists (Apr 10) with conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner in a transfixing program of works by Mozart and Haydn
  • Angélique Kidjo, our 2021–22 artist-in-residence, in her new music-theater piece Yemandja (a much-anticipated Cal Performances co-commission and Illuminations event, Apr 23).

Fasten your seatbelts; we have all of this—plus much more—in store for you!

We’re very proud of our updated winter brochure and know that a few minutes spent reviewing our schedule—in print or online—will reveal a wealth of options for your calendar; now is the perfect time to guarantee that you have the best seats for all the events you plan to attend.

I know you join us in looking forward to what lies ahead, to coming together once again to
encounter the life-changing experiences that only the live performing arts deliver. We can’t wait to share it all with you during the coming months.

Jeremy Geffen
Executive and Artistic Director, Cal Performances

Jeremy GeffenAs springtime fast approaches, this weekend offers a perfect opportunity to sample the types of entertaining, diverse, and ambitious programs that make Cal Performances so special. The Joffrey Ballet, one of the crown jewels of American dance, arrives for a three-day residency (Mar 4–6), with a program featuring three highly anticipated West Coast premieres. (What a great way to conclude the company’s current six-year residency at UC Berkeley!) We also welcome the return of our longtime friends Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations with a sparkling program of early music featured in the classic 1991 film Tous les matins du monde (Mar 4); as well as the Cal Performances solo debut of the brilliant young soprano Angel Blue (with pianist Bryan Wagorn) in a recital including works by Mozart, R. Strauss, Rachmaninoff, and a powerful selection of traditional Black American spirituals (Mar 6).

I also want to make sure you know about another upcoming season highlight, the West Coast premiere of Ted Hearne and Saul Williams’ Place (Mar 12; a semi-staged secular oratorio), a bold meditation on the topographies of gentrification and displacement. One of this season’s Illuminations “Place and Displace­ment” events (see our website for more information), Place was a finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Music; it’s a remarkable work and something I don’t think you’ll want to miss. (The recording for the New Amsterdam label captured the attention of the music world, earning two 2021 Grammy nominations—for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance and Best Contemporary Classical Composition.)

March marks the time of year that traditionally finds Cal Performances operating on all cylinders. From now through the beginning of May, the remainder of our 2021­–22 season is packed with adventurous programming. You won’t want to miss…

  • the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Mar 29 – Apr 3) returning to Zellerbach Hall for the first time since the initial pandemic shutdown in 2020; Ailey programs—featuring more than a dozen works from the company’s legendary repertory—have just been announced, so make sure to check our website for details
  • the one and only London Symphony Orchestra (Mar 20), appearing under the direction of superstar conductor Sir Simon Rattle, in a program of orchestral masterworks
  • pianist extraordinaire Mitsuko Uchida (Mar 27) playing and directing Mozart with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • the renowned English Baroque Soloists (Apr 10) with conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner in a transfixing program of works by Mozart and Haydn
  • Angélique Kidjo, our 2021–22 artist-in-residence, in her new music-theater piece Yemandja (a much-anticipated Cal Performances co-commission and Illuminations event, Apr 23).

Fasten your seatbelts; we have all of this—plus much more—in store for you!

We’re very proud of our updated winter brochure and know that a few minutes spent reviewing our schedule—in print or online—will reveal a wealth of options for your calendar; now is the perfect time to guarantee that you have the best seats for all the events you plan to attend.

I know you join us in looking forward to what lies ahead, to coming together once again to
encounter the life-changing experiences that only the live performing arts deliver. We can’t wait to share it all with you during the coming months.

Jeremy Geffen
Executive and Artistic Director, Cal Performances

About the Program

Joffrey Ballet performing Birthday Variations
Birthday Variations
Choreographed by Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino, with music by Giuseppe Verdi, Birth­day Variations was commissioned in 1986 by Becky D’Angelo as a birthday present to her husband Dino, who owned Chicago’s Civic Opera House (now the Lyric Opera House) and loved Verdi’s music. This lively and melodic ballet is considered one of Arpino’s most popular creations.

• • •

Joffrey Ballet performing Swing LowSwing Low
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Coming for to carry me home
I looked over Jordan and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home

Inspired by the powerful American spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” Chanel DaSilva creates a visceral narrative work for five men that investigates the supernatural majesty of angels and the many complexities of what it means to be human. The piece is set to the music of avant-garde cellist Zoë Keating.

• • •

Under the Trees’ Voices
Under the Trees’ Voices features 15 dancers performing to Italian composer Ezio Bosso’s Symphony No. 2.  The performance channels the power of community in the age of social distancing as well as paying tribute to an endangered nature. In four distinct sections, Nicolas Blanc imagines a future of hope and unity.

• • •

Joffrey Ballet performing The SofaThe Sofa
Created 25 years ago by Itzik Galili, The Sofa has been performed all over the world. The choreographer’s challenge was to create a work that could hold up a mirror to society, and this he achieved by means of a burlesque sketch in the spirit of a cabaret.

The work is danced by a trio but has really two central characters: a macho and a yellow sofa. As the sofa flips over, so do our emotions. In the first half, we are only drawn in by the spectacular flying and throwing of the energetic choreography, even as we begin to sense some opposite feelings. When the sofa flips over in the second half, an instantaneous laugh escapes us as understanding dawns, like discovering the how of a magician’s trick. The interest in the choreography is then overshadowed by the game of ever-changing role play. Every move provoking a burst of hilarity. Even in this unanimous reaction, the mirror is still in front of us, triggering each one’s laugh from a different place.

By provoking these mixed feelings of uneasiness, amusement and enjoyment, through a light and non-judgmental angle, the work reveals itself to be a brilliant jewel able to capture and highlight, like a mirror, society in all its diversity.

Boléro
Yoshihisa Arai envisions the lead role in Boléro as a type of muse, evoking a humanistic quality to the overall feeling of the piece, leading their “disciples” through a serene world of light and shadows. The primary inspiration for Boléro is the Spanish-flavored, orchestral work of the same name by Maurice Ravel. The famous one-movement score is known for beginning softly and ending, according to the composer’s instructions, as loudly as possible. “To me, the most fascinating quality of the music is that the rhythm remains the same throughout the piece and yet, as the instruments change from snare drum to flute, trombone  to woodwinds, and so on, an array of emotions are unleashed,” says Arai. “This inspires me most of all.”

THE CHOREOGRAPHERS

Gerald Arpino
(Birthday Variations)
Gerald Arpino (1923–2008) was Artistic Direc­­tor and Resident Choreographer of The Joffrey Ballet, the company he co-founded with Robert Joffrey in 1956. Born on Staten Island, New York, he met Robert Joffrey while stationed in Seattle with the Coast Guard. He studied with Mary Ann Wells, at the School of American Ballet, danced with Graham dancers May O’Don­nell and Gertrude Schurr, and was a principal dancer with the original Joffrey company.

As resident choreographer, Arpino created over one third of the commissioned repertory for The Joffrey Ballet, including Sea Shadow, Viva Vivaldi, Olympics, The Clowns, Trinity, Kettentanz, Suite Saint-Saëns, and Light Rain. He also had wide experience in Broadway musicals, television, opera, and staged musicals for the country’s leading festivals. Arpino’s ballets have been performed at the White House on several occasions, as well as around the world, to critical acclaim as well as controversial appraisal. So varied was his output, that one critic commented, “He’s not a single artist. He must be an alliance.” As one of the recipients of the 1974 Dance Magazine Award, his citation read: “To Gerald Arpino—more than any other choreographer, he has recognized the spirit of the times. His work speaks clearly of the anguish and the joy of being young in America today.”

Upon Robert Joffrey’s passing, Arpino directed The Joffrey Ballet from 1988 until 2008, continuing Joffrey’s vision for the company by restaging important historical dance works such as Léonide Massine’s symphonic ballet Les Presages (1933), and Frederick Ashton’s Cin­derella (1948), as well as taking risks with new commissions that ranged from the rock ballet Billboards (1993) to music by Prince. In 1995, Arpino moved The Joffrey Ballet to Chicago, where he established the Joffrey as a world-class company in the heart of the American Midwest; it continues to thrive today.

Chanel DaSilva
Swing Low
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Chanel DaSilva is a multifaceted artist and entrepreneur. She is a graduate of both LaGuardia Arts High School and the Juilliard School and was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and a Princess Grace Awardee. Chanel has performed professionally with the Trey McIntyre Project and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and has created works for The Joffrey Ballet, Parsons Dance Company, Gibney Company, American Rep­ertory Theater, and Harvard Dance Project. She has taught workshops and served as a faculty member for institutions such as the Juilliard School, Harvard University, SUNY Purchase, NYU, and LaGuardia Arts High School. In 2015, alongside Nigel Campbell, DaSilva co-founded MOVE|NYC|, a multi-pillared arts and social justice organization with the mission of creating greater equity and diversity in the dance field and beyond. Recently, DaSilva and Campbell were featured on the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine’s April 2020 issue, “Changing The Face of Dance.” www.movenyc.nyc

Nicolas Blanc
Under the Trees’ Voices
Nicolas Blanc started his dance training in Montauban, France, continuing at the Acade­mie de Danse Classique Princess Grace in Monte-Carlo. After winning a scholarship in the 1994 Prix de Lausanne, he completed his education at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

He went on to dance for Nice Opera Ballet, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Zurich Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet, where he was made Principal Dancer in 2004.

Blanc was awarded a special prize in performing arts by the city of Dusseldorf in 1998, and a special award of recognition by his hometown in 2004 and 2013. He was named one of the “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine. In 2010, he was nominated with Tina LeBlanc for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award (Best Ensemble in Wheeldon’s Within The Golden Hour).

He joined Scottish Ballet as Ballet Master in 2009 and has been a rehearsal director and principal coach for The Joffrey Ballet since 2011.

Blanc has created several works for The Joffrey Ballet, most notably Evenfall, Purple, Encounter, and Beyond the Shore, commissioned and supported by the New York Choreographic Institute and Cal Performances. In July 2014, Blanc received the choreographic award at the IBC in Jackson, Mississippi, for his duet Rendez-Vous.

Blanc was selected to participate in the 2015 National Choreographers Initiative (NCI), where he created Orphee. He was also chosen to participate in New York City Ballet’s New York Choreographic Institute, where he created Mothership, which premiered in New York City Ballet’s 2016 gala. Blanc created Tableaux Vivants and Desert Transport for Barak Ballet in 2016 and 2019.

Blanc created Under the Tree’s Voices for the digital Joffrey Studio Series this past season.

Itzik Galili
The Sofa
Born in Israel, Itzik Galili danced in Bat-Dor Dance Company, Batsheva II, and Batsheva Dance Company, where he began choreographing. Robert Cohan, the artistic director of Batsheva and the London Contemporary Dance Company, encouraged him to attend the Gulbenkian International Course for profes­sional composers and choreographers in the UK. In 1991, he moved to the Netherlands and formed his own project-based company in Amsterdam. In 1997, he was appointed Artistic Director of NND/Galili Dance in Groningen, and in 2009, he returned to Amsterdam as co-founder and artistic director of Dansgroep Amsterdam. Since 2018, he has served as Artistic Advisor for Boston Dance Theater. He has created over 80 works for many international dance companies including Stuttgart Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Gauthier Dance, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Ballett Kiel, Ballett Zürich, Basel Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, English National Ballet, Ballet de l’Opéra National de Bordeaux, Balé da Cidade, Gulbenkian Ballet, Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Finnish National Ballet, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Yoshihisa Arai
Boléro
Born in Hiroshima, Japan, Yoshihisa Arai be­gan his ballet training when he was 10 years old with the International Ballet Academy under Mika Tamaru. In 2005, he joined the Royal Ballet School in London, where he appeared before Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at Buckingham Palace, performing an original work as part of an ensemble. Arai graduated with honors and received the Royal Ballet School Achievement Award.

In 2008, Arai joined Northern Ballet under the direction of David Nixon. During his time there, he danced in many acclaimed roles. He collaborated with Dame Gillian Lynne in 2010, developing an original role for the 45th Anniversary Gala for Northern Ballet.

In 2012, he joined The Joffrey Ballet. At the Joffrey, Arai has performed a principal role in Sylvia by John Neumeier; landed a leading role in The Nutcracker, choreographed by Chris­topher Wheeldon OBE; appeared in the role of Prince in Cinderella by Sir Frederick Ashton; and performed in pieces by George Balanchine, Jiří Kylián, Wayne McGregor, and Justin Peck, among other world-renowned choreographers. In 2016, he created an original role for The Miraculous Mandarin by Yuri Posskohv and in 2018, he choreographed Afternoon Watch and a Rachmaninoff pas de deux for The Joffrey Ballet and Firebird Suite for The Joffrey Ballet Studio Company.

In addition to having Boléro featured as part of the Joffrey’s 2021–22 season-opening production, Arai created original choreography complemented by Copland’s Appalachian Spring.  The piece had its world premiere as part of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s season-opening production in October 2021 at Ozinga Chapel on the campus of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights. The piece was performed by the Joffrey Studio Company from the Joffrey Academy of Dance, the Official School of The Joffrey Ballet.

Arai also created a work collaborating with Japan’s NHK broadcasting corporation and an electric guitarist, which received its world premiere in Tokyo in October 2021.

The Joffrey Ballet
Celebrating 65 years of artistic excellence in 2021 and classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses an inclusive perspective on dance that reflects the diversity of America through its company artists, extensive repertoire, academy, and community engagement programs. Con­sidered one of the premier companies performing today, Joffrey plays a vital role in the dance community as the largest dance company and dance education provider in Chicago and the greater Midwest region.

The Joffrey Mission
The Joffrey Ballet believes in the positive, transformative power of the arts. Our mission is to promote dance through an unwavering commitment to high-quality performances, education, and innovation.

Values of IDEA—
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access
As a member of Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, The Joffrey Ballet has adopted Dance/USA’s statement on core values of equity and inclusion.

Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director
Greg Cameron, President & CEO
Robert Joffrey, Founder
Gerald Arpino, Founder

Artists of the Company
Derrick Agnoletti     Yoshihisa Arai     Amanda Assucena     Edson Barbosa     Brian Bennett     Miguel Angel Blanco     Evan Boersma     Anais Bueno     Valeria Chaykina     Nicole Ciapponi     Lucia Connolly     José Pablo Castro Cuevas     April Daly     Maxwell Dawe     Jonathan Dole     Derek Drilon     Fernando Duarte     Olivia Duryea     Anna Gerberich     Stefan Goncalvez     Dylan Gutierrez     Dara Holmes     Victoria Jaiani     Hansol Jeong     Gayeon Jung     Yumi Kanazawa     Blake Kessler     Yuchan Kim    Hyuma Kiyosawa     Brooke Linford     Graham Maverick     Jeraldine Mendoza     Xavier Núñez    Princess Reid     Aaron Renteria     Christine Rocas     Julia Rust     Chloé Sherman     Miranda Silveira     Temur Suluashvili     Miu Tanaka     Olivia Tang-Mifsud     Alberto Velazquez     Valentino Moneglia Zamora

Artistic and Production Staff
Nicolas Blanc, Rehearsal Director/Principal Coach 
Adam Blyde, Rehearsal Director/Principal Coach
Suzanne Lopez, Rehearsal Director/Principal Coach 
Scott Speck, Music Director & Conductor 
Michael Moricz, Assistant Conductor & Company Pianist 
Jorge Ivars, Company Pianist 
Bradley Renner, General Manager
Cody Chen, Director of Production
Beth Griffin, Company Manager 
Jeremy Gubman, Artistic & Production Coordinator 
Chris Maravich, Lighting Supervisor 
Jack Mehler, Touring Lighting Supervisor
Scott Wolfson, Technical Supervisor 
Katherine Selig, Principal Stage Manager
Amanda Heuermann, Stage Manager 

Wardrobe and Stagehands
Ellie Cotey, Costume Manager
Gregg Benkovich, Shoe Manager
Jerica Hucke, Draper
Barbara Luchsinger, Lead Stitcher
Debra Schoell, Stitcher
Brittany Crinson, Head of Wig and Makeup
Adam Todd, Master Carpenter
Ian Scarlato, Property Master
Matthew Carney, Master Electrician
Jeremy Hoen, Soundperson
Matthew Black, Flyperson
David Klein, Shop Carpenter
Steve Lange, Master Carpenter Emeritus

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