It has been quite some time since Joffrey Ballet gave Chicago a full-length narrative ballet, but the company opens its new season with the premiere of Lar Lubovitch’s “Othello.” The story of the ill-fated Venetian general dates back well before Shakespeare’s telling to Giraldo Cintio’s original legend published in 1566. Lubovitch’s adaptation uses strong moving images to paint an impression of the classic tale with a definite modern brush. This rendering of these characters gives the Joffrey dancers the opportunity to show exactly why they are known for elegance, grace, power, strength and athleticism. Desdemona is light and lovely and heartbreakingly tragic in her final moments as danced by April Daly. Fabrice Calmel’s Othello is a masculine presence commanding the stage. Though Lubovitch’s choreography infuses a contemporary aesthetic into the classical, I must admit that at times the modern movement feels forced when he works with a single dancer or a group. However, none of that matters when he turns his attention to amazingly crafted duets. Dance after dance, when Lubovitch works with two dancers magic happens; he creates movement that flows from a deeply rooted tradition and wakes it up. Iago (Matthew Adamczyk) and his wife Emilia (Valerie Robin) embody this meeting of styles in angular and angry moments of dance that transcend everything else in this already powerful ballet. (William Scott)
At the Auditorium Theater, 50 E. Congress Pkwy, (312)902-1500. Through October 25. $25-$145.