In the decade since the Joffrey Ballet made the bold decision to leave New York City and replant itself in Chicago, the Joffrey has taken the city to its heart, and vice versa. Any arts organization making it to the half-century mark is an event in a country such as ours where the arts are not government sponsored, and indeed, Joffrey has had its close calls, even in Chicago. But artistic director and co-founder Gerald Arpino has made it his personal mission to make sure that “there will always be a Joffrey,” and his drive is as contagious as his enthusiasm and artistic vision for dance. This company repertoire retrospective covers the gamut of the Joffrey’s vast repertoire, from uniquely American takes on traditional ballets and early twentieth-century Cubism to freeform and abstract dance pointing the way to a new millennium of movement. This special celebration fulfills a wish of Grant Park Music Festival artistic and general director James Palermo since Joffrey arrived in Chicago to have Joffrey collaborate onstage with the luxurious accompaniment of the Grant Park Orchestra, which will be conducted by Carlos Kalmar. (Dennis Polkow)
Joffrey Ballet 50th Birthday Gala takes place June 17 at 7:30pm, in Pritzker Pavilion, Michigan between Randolph and Monroe,(312)742-7638. Free.