Joffrey Ballet and Cal Performances Launch 5-Year Residency

Fabrice Calmels and Anais Bueno in Anabelle Lopez Ochoa's "Mammatus." Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Cal Performances.

The Joffrey Ballet and University of California—Berkeley's Cal Performances have joined forces on a five-year residency series that offers the public in-depth, behind-the-scenes access to the art of ballet. The first installment runs Nov. 13–19 with repertory classes taught by Joffrey dancers, a panel discussion and open rehearsals as well as performances in Zellerbach Hall November 17–19.

"There is so much interesting work happening, and we want to share it," says Joffrey artistic director Ashley Wheater, whose Bay Area ties go back to his days as a San Francisco Ballet principal dancer and ballet master. He has slated Justin Peck's In Creases, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Mammatus, the West Coast premiere of Alexander Ekman's Joy and Joffrey ballet master Nicolas Blanc's Encounter for this year's bill.


Joffrey Ballet dancers in rehearsal for Alexsander Eckman's "Joy." Photo by Todd Rosenberg, Courtesy Cal Performances.


Both organizations value community engagement as much as artistic innovation, so the residency encourages an up-close, personal experience of dance. "People will be able to watch the creative process happening," Wheater says, at three open rehearsals with Blanc and the dancers, who will be working on a new piece co-commissioned by Cal Performances and slated for performance during the Joffrey's next visit. A pair of all-abilities ballet classes, plus a public forum on the choreographic process, round out the programming.

The Joffrey is scheduled to return in 2019 for the second of three visits over the five-year commitment. But, says Cal Performances associate director Rob Bailis, "this first visit is going to define how we nuance the next set of activities. It could be more-frequent visiting, it could be a different approach."


The Joffrey Ballet in Justin Peck's "In Creases." Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Cal Performances.

What's certain is the partners' shared dedication to making ballet accessible and appealing to wider audiences. "For years and years, the ballet world has been this private domain," Wheater says. "Taking down the walls and inviting people in is our responsibility."

Ballet Training
Karin Ellis-Wentz and Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance student Elliana Teuscher. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet.

"Hopping on pointe is a bit of a weird feeling," says Karin Ellis-Wentz, head of pre-professional programs at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. But, she adds, it's a skill advanced dancers need "because it's in so many variations." Here, she takes us through the techniques and exercises that help her students master this necessary trick.

Keep reading... Show less
The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

Keep reading... Show less
Trending
Francesca Hayward in the new CATS trailer. NBCUniversal Pictures, via YouTube.

What do you get when you add Royal Ballet principal Francesca Hayward, Taylor Swift, Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, CGI fur technology, giant sets and unitards galore? The answer is the new CATS film, scheduled for major release December 20, 2019.

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

Dreams, drama, and capital-D DANCE: The brand-new High Strung Free Dance trailer just dropped, and it is chock-full of everything we love.

Keep reading... Show less