Stories in Motion by the Joffrey Ballet

calvin_kitten_as_prodigal_son_photo_by_herbert_migdollThe Joffrey Ballet is celebrating big this year. To commemorate their 20th year in Chicago, they have added a special presentation for one weekend only, and it opened last night.

The program for Stories in Motion consists of three short works referred to as “story ballets”. Ashely Wheater, Joffrey’s Artistic Director, wanted to “focus on telling a complete story in a very short space of time”.  Each story is rich and complex and emotionally communicated as only dance can do.

The first piece, The Prodigal Son, tells the biblical story of the favored son who leaves his family in quest of adventure but instead descends into sin. He returns to the family begging for forgiveness. The part of the father is played by Wheater himself, making a rare appearance on stage. This classic tale was one of choreographer George Balanchine’s first ballets, quickly gaining him an international reputation. It first premiered in 1929 and is set to the music of Sergie Prokofiev.

Next is Lilac Garden set to the music of Ernest Chausson’s Poeme, for violin and orchestra. This piece originally premiered in 1936 and was last presented by the Joffrey Ballet in 2008. The story is of Victorian era love and romance, and an arranged marriage. The staging and costumes are glorious, matching the beautifully executed choreography of Antony Tudor.

Last, and most certainly not least, is RAkU. This Chicago premier by San Francisco Ballet’s resident choreographer Yuri Possokhov is visually stunning and emotionally fraught. The story of love between a Japanese emperor and his princess, war, and love-sick madness of another suitor is told against the backdrop of moving screens, projections, and beautiful modern costuming. This will without a doubt having you leaping out of your seat to bestow numerous rounds of applause on the dancers, choreographers and musicians who bring this tale to life.

Do not miss this special performance.  It commemorates not only the two decades the Joffrey Ballet has made Chicago its home, but the wonderful artistry of the dancers and the amazing contribution the company makes to the dance world in Chicago and beyond.

Dates & Tickets:The Joffrey Ballet performs “Stories in Motion” Friday, September 19 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, September 20 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; and Sunday, September 21 at 2 pm.

Single tickets, priced from $32 to $155, are available now at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street, as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at (800) 982-2787, or online at

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