As part of its larger effort to make dance accessible to a wider audience, the Joffrey Ballet is putting on a free, one-day performance at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park this Sunday. “Joffrey for All Celebration” is the first time the renowned company will serve up an evening-length performance gratis.
The program is a mix of old and new short pieces and excerpts from longer ballets—mostly new, including two from Yuri Possokhov, whose work has been danced by the company three years running: story ballets “Don Quixote” in 2022 and the 2019 world premiere and quickly remounted masterpiece “Anna Karenina.” The show at the Pritzker will include a duet from Possokhov’s “Swimmer,” set to music by Tom Waits and based on the haunting short story by John Cheever; and the stunning pas de deux from “Anna Karenina” that somehow compresses the range and intensity of every emotion accompanying the end of a torrid affair into five minutes of movement. If it’s possible to hear a pin drop in an open amphitheater in downtown Chicago, this will be the moment.
Frequent Joffrey choreographer Nicolas Blanc also has two pieces on the program: “Convergence” set to music by Philip Glass and “Red Violin Caprices,” set to music by John Corigliano, a collaboration with violinist Philippe Quint. Music for “Joffrey for All” will be performed live by the Lyric Opera Orchestra and conducted by Joffrey music director Scott Speck.
Rounding out the program is Chanel DaSilva’s hyper-sleek “colorem” and “Suite Saint-Saëns” by Gerald Arpino, a nod to the Joffrey co-founder’s hundredth birthday and a peek into the Arpino centennial celebration that will draw eight top ballet companies from across the country to the Auditorium Theatre this fall.
“Joffrey for All Celebration” at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 East Randolph. Sunday, June 25, 5:30pm. Free.