Joffrey Ballet Presents the 26th Annual THE NUTCRACKER, 12/6-12/28

Joffrey Ballet Presents the 26th Annual THE NUTCRACKER, 12/6-12/28

CHICAGO (November 12, 2013) - The Joffrey Ballet celebrates the 26th annual presentation of Robert Joffrey's The Nutcracker, Chicago's most popular holiday tradition and America's #1 Nutcracker, in a 23-performance engagement at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, December 6 - 28, 2013.

The Chicago Philharmonic, led by Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck, provides live accompaniment of the classic score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky for every performance.

The curtains rose on The Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker on December 10, 1987 at the Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa, with the production then embarking on a national tour, and the American Nutcracker was born. When Robert Joffrey choreographed The Nutcracker, he replaced the traditional European setting with a 19th century American home, populating it with toys from his own childhood underneath the Christmas Tree of the Stahlbaum Family. This original production combines classical grace with explosive action, maintaining the purity of Robert Joffrey's original choreography while sparkling with elegant costumes, an extravagant set by Oliver Smith and a giant Mother Ginger puppet by Kermit Love.

Following a lively party on Christmas Eve, familiar characters Clara and the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer embark on a magical adventure, encountering a battle between toy soldiers and legions of mice (where Clara unexpectedly saves the day), before being whisked away with the Nutcracker Prince to an enchanted forest by the elegant Queen and King of Snow. In gratitude for Clara's bravery during the battle, the Sugar Plum Fairy presents her with an exotic array of dancing confections, including Chocolate from Spain, Coffee from Arabia, Tea from China, Nougat from Russia and Marzipan from Denmark (the five famous Nutcracker divertissements). The Nutcracker is inspired by E.T.A. Hoffman'sThe Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

Joffrey Ballet Co-Founder Gerald Arpino also contributed to Robert Joffrey's version, having choreographed the Land of the Snow scene, which closes Act I, and the Waltz of the Flowers in Act II.

The full Joffrey company is joined onstage by 118 young dancers from the Chicagoland area - dancing as Party Girls and Boys, Polichinelles (Mother Ginger's children), Battle Mice and Mounted Mice, Soldiers, Snow Tree Angels and Dolls - and young vocalists from five different local children's choirs perform the choral parts from the magical Snow Scene, including singers from the Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago, the Barrington Children's Choir, the Jones College Prep High School Treble Choir, the Pro Musica Youth Chorus and the Providence-St. Mel School Choir. The choirs also delight audiences with popular seasonal selections in the Auditorium Theatre's main lobby one half-hour prior to curtain and during intermissions at every performance.

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the generous support of The Nutcracker Presenting Sponsor, GEMS World Academy-Chicago. Opening in Lakeshore East, GEMS World Academy-Chicago is the first JK-12 international school in the United States from world-renowned educator GEMS Education. The school connects students from around the world and shares our global vision and commitment to the arts, making this a natural partnership. Sharing our enthusiasm for this partnership, Geoff Jones, GEMS World Academy-Chicago's Head of School, noted the shared values of both organizations: "Just as we support the artistic aspirations of each one of our students, we are honored to celebrate on one of the most esteemed and decorated ballet companies in the world. Fostering a lifelong love of the arts and connecting students with Chicago's world-class cultural institutions like the Joffrey is at the heart of our academic mission." To learn more about GEMS World Academy-Chicago and their mission, visit www.gemsworldacademy-chicago.com/.

Performance Schedule

The annual production schedule of Robert Joffrey's The Nutcracker is as follows: Friday, Dec. 6, 7 pm; Saturday, Dec. 7, 2 pm and 7 pm;Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 pm; Thursday, Dec. 12, 7 pm; Friday, Dec. 13, 7 pm; Saturday, Dec. 14, 2 pm and 7 pm; Sunday, Dec. 15, 2 pm and 7 pm;Thursday, Dec. 19, 7 pm; Friday, Dec. 20, 7 pm; Saturday, Dec. 21, 2 pm and 7 pm; Sunday, Dec. 22, 2 pm and 7 pm; Monday, Dec. 23, 2 pm and 7 pm; Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2 pm; Thursday, Dec. 26, 2 pm and 7 pm; Friday, Dec. 27 at 2 pm; and Saturday, Dec. 28 at 2pm.

Pricing and Tickets

Single tickets, priced between $31 and $132, are available for purchase 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 www.ticketmaster.com.

The Joffrey Ballet is Chicago's premier ballet company committed to artistic excellence and innovation, presenting a unique repertory encompassing masterpieces of the past and cutting-edge works of today. Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron. The Joffrey is also committed to providing arts education and accessible dance training through its Joffrey Academy of Dance and Community Engagement programs.

Nutcracker Family Dinner

Families may also enjoy the 16th Annual Nutcracker Family Dinner presented by the Joffrey's Women's Board at the Standard Club, 320 S. Plymouth Court, December 8. The enchanting experience will feature activity stations for children and adults alike, a delicious family-friendly dinner and, of course, a thrilling matinee performance of The Nutcracker. Often described as Chicago's "family event of the season," the Nutcracker Family Dinner continues to be an essential fundraising event for The Joffrey Ballet's productions as well as the Joffrey's Community Engagement programs, which are dedicated to sharing the art of dance with thousands of children each year, regardless of income. For more information regarding ticket or donation inquiries, contact Julia Doherty, Director of Special Events, at 312-386-8921 or nutdinner@joffrey.org.

Upcoming

The Joffrey revisits its contemporary roots in winter 2014 with a mixed repertory program titled "Contemporary Choreographers," featuring a Chicago Premiere by Brock Clawson. Named for the well-known Chicago street, Brock Clawson's Crossing Ashland, created for Milwaukee Ballet in 2012 and now a Chicago and Joffrey Premiere, is a metaphor for facing change within ourselves. With movement that intertwines routine pedestrian motions with the virtuosity of ballet, Clawson explores vulnerability and the need for connection, with music by John Adams, Michelle McLaughlin, Martin Tillman, M83 and Jeremy Limb. Also on the program is the Joffrey Premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's 2002 workContinuum, set to the modernist piano music of Gyorgy Ligeti and utilizing a contemplative pace and geometric body patterns to render music into pure movement. Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman's Episode 31 completes the bill, which Chicago audiences got a first look at during its Chicago Premiere in the Chicago Dancing Festival 2013. A work of urgent, explosive rhythm where the stage is deconstructed - literally - by black-and-white-clad dancers, Episode 31 is set to music by Mikael Karlsson, Ane Brun and Erik Satie. "Contemporary Choreographers" is presented over 10 performances, February 12 - 23, 2014.

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2013-2014 Season Sponsors and Partners. With special thanks to Abbott Fund and NIB Foundation, Co-Sponsors of the 2013-2014 Season; Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Masters of Dance Sponsor; United Airlines, Official & Exclusive Airline; Vanguard Weiss Memorial Hospital, Chicago Center for Orthopedics, Official Healthcare Provider; AthletiCo, Official Provider of Physical Therapy; and JW Marriott, Official Hotel.

For more information about The Joffrey Ballet and its programs visit joffrey.org.