I sat in on rehearsal this morning at Joffrey Tower. The world-renown ballet troupe, which just came back after their summer hiatus (and a nail-biting mini labor dispute) and is getting ready for a number of upcoming gigs including the Chicago Dancing Festival (CDF). The fest runs August 23 – 27 at various Chicago venues (with a Gala fundraiser opening the week on Monday, August 22). Joffrey will be represented at three of CDF’s evening concerts.
This morning, they were rehearsing Balachine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto, which they performed last fall as an opener for the All Stars program. It’s difficult. It’s hard to count (Artistic Director Ashley Wheater: “Just keep counting! It’s a six.”), most of it is lightning fast and some of the movements are awkward , but the dancers tackled it with smiles and verve. The company has been back in the studio since July 25th and there is definitely still an air of back-to-school excitement, most noted in the energetic applause for the violinist playing in rehearsal and a few silly faces aimed at partners. (Nice jazz hands M.A.)
The Joffrey will be performing Stravinsky at the Celebration of Dance show at Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday, August 27th, as well as this weekend at the Blossom Festival in Ohio. Dancers Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili will also be performing the White Swan pas from Swan Lake for CDF’s opening night gala.
UPDATE: I just got confirmation that Jaiani and Suluashvili will be performing the Act II pas from Giselle for the Masters program on August 25th. Tickets (free) are still available.