A Chicago-based entity, the Joffrey Ballet is making its way to Los Angeles for three much-awaited, uniquely designed performances.
The engagements, which take place Feb. 1-3 at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, feature an acclaimed groundbreaking reconstruction of the original 1913 Nijinsky-Stravinsky “Le Sacre du Printemps “ (The Rite of Spring) on its 100th anniversary, according to a prepared statement.
Each performance sports the piece “The Rite of Spring,” and dancer John Mark Giragosian suggests why it’s significant and important.
“The technique is not classical,” said Giragosian, who has been with the Joffrey Ballet for more than five years. “For instance, the feet turned in would not classify as modern because it’s nothing like anything else I’ve ever done. It’s very much its own entity, at least this version.”
Giragosian’s seen action as the prince in Robert Joffrey’s “The Nutcracker” and as Jester in Frederick Ashton’s “Cinderella,” among others,
On top of “The Rite of Spring,” the opening night (Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.) will also feature Christopher Wheeldon’s “After the Rain” and Stanton Welch’s “Son of Chamber Symphony” – a West Coast premiere. For the two remaining shows (Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.), William Forsythe’s “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated” and Edwaard Liang’s “Age of Innocence” are scheduled to be performed.
“Joffrey has the dancers to do the ballet because we are used to jumping back and forth between classical, modern, contemporary repertoire,” said Giragosian while mentioning that the company has approximately 45 dancing members.
According to a prepared statement, the shows are also celebrating the 25th anniversary of “The Rite of Spring” reconstruction by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer. They’re part of “L.A.’s Rite: Stravinsky, Innovation, and Dance,” which is a festival honoring the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps.”
The performances are also accompanied by an exhibition about Stravinsky and early L.A. dance innovators, said the prepared statement.
Ashley C. Wheater, a Scotland product who’s devoted his life to the art of dance, is the artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet. Giragosian said Wheater gets the best out of dancers.
“All dancers are expected to be able to dance it all, but Ashley does a good job of understanding which dancers can make the most out of every role,” he said.
Wheater’s guided The Joffrey Ballet since 2007, and since then, he’s invited popular choreographers and fresh young talent to formulate new dance pieces for the company.
Most often than not, change is good. And the Joffrey Ballet, the first-ever ballet company to perform at The White House, has made it a tendency to produce innovative work throughout its years of existence.
“…The company is always changing and being on the cutting edge working with contemporary choreographers, dancers and audience of Chicago,” said Giragosian.
Perhaps this cutting edge will delight the L.A. audience.
The Joffrey Ballet has performances Feb. 1-3 at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. For more information, click here.
Kelly Hargraves contributed to this story.