Posted inDance

Man meets monster at the Joffrey

Just before the lights dimmed and the Lyric Opera Orchestra signaled that the show was about to begin, two glamorous older women beside me kept repeating to each other, “We are blessed.” The characters in Frankenstein are not so lucky. In this Joffrey Ballet production, the story is condensed into three acts that use tension […]

Posted inDance

Malevolent enchantment

Through a wash of watercolor sea, as if glimpsed through a periscope, a lighted box appears, within which a poet writes lines in cursive script: “Far far out to sea, where the water is blue as a cornflower and clear as a crystal . . .” It isn’t once upon a time in Hans Christian […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A dance of contrasts

Scene: A blustery, freezing February night in Chicago. As we approach the Civic Opera House, a cluster of protestors come into focus. They’re holding aloft bloodied ballerina soft sculptures, signs that sport slogans like “supporting ‘great Russian culture’ is supporting the war,” and large-scale images of Oleksandr Shapoval, a Ukrainian ballet dancer and teacher who […]

Posted inDance

Different but the same

Though differing in mood, the three works in Joffrey’s Beyond Borders program are structurally of a type: abstract, ensemble-based, heavy on unison choreography that exhibits the patterns that can be formed by dancers forged according to an exacting technique. Featuring a world premiere by Chanel DaSilva, alongside a 2013 work by the late Liam Scarlett, […]

Posted inDance

Romance languages

Two years into this pestilence, the misery of war, the disappointment of mankind day after day weighing down desperate minds, with a future certain of nothing but social and planetary destruction, do we not long for a reprieve? As the nobleman Alonso Quijano sought glory in the guise of the knight Don Quixote, as a […]

Posted inDance

Binary ballets

The evening begins with Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk’s melancholy Melody meandering through the auditorium, a haunting tune that invites contemplation. Curtain down, panels bordering the stage lit in blue and yellow, vines rise in relief where pillars would seem to stand: a ruin retaken by foliage or a reminder of the interdependence of nature and […]

Posted inDance

Home is where the heart is

Twenty months and one (ongoing) pandemic since their last performance at the Auditorium Theatre, their home of 20 years, the Joffrey Ballet launched its new tenure on the stage at the Lyric Opera House with a dazzlingly triumphant program of three new works by Chanel DaSilva, Nicolas Blanc, and Yoshihisa Arai and a classic by […]