The Joffrey Ballet has always had a uniquely daring, adventurous style that can both surprise and shock. Only the Joffrey was bold enough to deal with the sexual revolution in Astarte, Robert Joffrey’s stunning, multimedia fertility ritual, or the peace movement and hippie life of the 60s in Gerald Arpino’s Trinity and Sacred Grove on Mount Tamalpais, all wedded to rock music. At the same time the company has always been equally dedicated to restoring lost masterpieces of the 20th century. No Swan Lakes here. Instead, in its Thursday performance, the troupe will dance the late Leonide Massine’s legendary symphonic ballet Les Presages, performed to Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and recently restaged by Tatiana Leskova, who danced in the 1933 Ballet Russe production. Billboards, a new evening-length rock ballet set to music by Prince, opens the company’s Chicago engagement and will be performed Wednesday and next Saturday and Sunday. Laura Dean, Charles Moulton, Margo Sappington, and Peter Pucci, all cutting-edge choreographers, created four separate mini ballets for the piece, and the dancing–fast-paced movement that ranges from erotic and funky to high-flying technical leaps and catches–is absolutely dazzling throughout. Though the ballet has no plot, the work touches on many modern issues, including alienation, raunchiness, and sexual dominance, all of which add piquant tones to a highly effective theatrical work. Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30; next Friday, March 19, at 8; next Saturday, March 20, at 2 and 8; and next Sunday, March 21, at 3 at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker; $10-$45. Call 902-1500 for tickets and information.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Herbert Migdoll.