North Side Dancers Help Joffrey's Nutcracker Ring in 25 Years
Dancers from Lincoln Park, Lake View and Lincoln Square are among those performing the Nutcracker at an area theater this holiday season. We're providing you a list of local dancers you can expect to see, as well as a performance schedule and ticket info.
North Side dancers are among those participating in an area performance of one of the most renown holiday ballets in the U.S.
The Joffrey Ballet is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker from Dec. 7 to Dec. 27 in a 22-performance engagement at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway.
Those Lincoln Park dancers in the lineup include Jessica Ziegler, 14; Lily Kotun, 11; Maya Rose Belcove, 9; Marit Aurin, 11; Grace Wittemore, 9; and Ren Habiby, 10. Attendees can also expect to see Lake View dancers Anacecilia Munzon, 13; Grace Lyons, 11; Carolina Mohr, 9; Catherine Jacobs, 10; India Gray, 9; and Madeline Muldoon, 9. Lincoln Square resident Lulu Christov, 9, will be among performing groups, as well.
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The curtains rose on The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker on Dec. 10, 1987, at the Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa, with the production then embarking on a national tour.
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.
The 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, then being delighted by an exotic array of dancing confections from the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy.
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.
“I danced with The Joffrey Ballet when this production was created in 1987,” Joffrey Balley Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater said, in a news release. “I remember our days in Iowa City, when we learned, rehearsed and, ultimately, premiered this ballet."
She goes on to discuss Joffrey’s first act party scene, which she says is unique in its attention to detail.
"His Nutcracker is a celebration of American Christmas traditions, as meaningful today as they were during their first performance in 1987," she says. "Whether you are seeing The Nutcracker as a child for the first time, or grew up with the story, there is always something familiar and something brand new.”
Christopher Clinton Conway, Joffrey Ballet executive director, calls the 25th anniversary of the show a "milestone."
“Every year for the past quarter century, thousands of families have made a place for the Joffrey’s Nutcracker in their holiday traditions, creating treasured memories that last a lifetime," he said, in a news release. "In this day and age of uncertainty on so many levels, we need the warmth, beauty and magic that this ballet brings into our lives.”
The 25th Anniversary production schedule of Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway is as follows:
- Friday, Dec. 7: 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 8: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 9: 2 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 13: 7 p.,.
- Friday, Dec. 14: 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 15: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 16: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 20: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 21: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 22: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 23: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Monday, Dec. 24: 2 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 26: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 27: 2 p.m.
Single tickets, priced between $31 and $132, are available 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.