Ballet Stars
Amanda Assucena with Grieg Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

The Joffrey Ballet opened its 2019–20 season with Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre, where the title role propelled company dancers Amanda Assucena and Yumi Kanazawa to new heights. Assucena, as Jane, brought impressive complexity to the canonical heroine, who grapples with the strict moral compass of her monastic upbringing and her passionate desires. Viewing a flashback of her childhood, she looked on as Kanazawa commanded the first third of the ballet as Young Jane. Virtuosic in her entanglements with the D-Men—a recurring men's corps that serves as a metaphor for Jane's conflicted emotions—Kanazawa's characterization was aptly naïve and immature, but also wise beyond her years.

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Ballet Stars
Fabrice Calmels as Othello in Lar Lubovitch's Othello. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Larisa Elizondo.

After nearly 19 years, Joffrey Ballet dancer Fabrice Calmels announced Monday that he'll take his final bow with the company after a performance of Nutcracker on December 29. Born in France, Calmels trained at the Paris Opéra Ballet School before moving to the United States to study at the Rock School, Boston Ballet School and School of American Ballet. In addition to the long list of roles he's danced at the Joffrey, Calmels has worked as a model, and in 2014 won the Guinness World Record as the world's tallest ballet dancer.

We caught up with Calmels to hear about why he's leaving, and what his future after the Joffrey will hold.

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Ballet Stars
Kristie Kahns

There isn't a color or pattern too bold for The Joffrey Ballet's Brooke Linford. "I think it brings life and energy into my day-to-day activities," the company artist says of her style. And playing with color isn't only limited to her studio and off-duty looks—Linford has even experimented with dyeing her long blonde waves bubblegum pink. While she takes her styling cues from Pinterest and Instagram, Linford also looks to her husband, fellow Joffrey dancer Graham Maverick, for ideas. "He wears so much color that it started to inspire my wardrobe," she says.

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Viral Videos

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats (in Korean!) with Joffrey Ballet artist Gayeon Jung before a performance of Anna Karenina earlier this year to hear all of her pointe shoe hacks and customizations. Jung shares her thoughts on Gaynor Minden verse Freed, why she rotates between different shank strengths, and the joy she felt when she saw her name stamped on the bottom of her shoes for the first time.

Ballet Stars
Quinn Wharton

The Joffrey Ballet's Jeraldine Mendoza is a minimalist. This is evident from her well-organized sewing kit to her slim Goyard wallet, which she bought in Paris while on tour with the company last summer. "I never carry cash; all that's in there is my ID and my credit cards," she says. She keeps her wallet, phone and keys in her red Kenzo bucket bag, and her pointe shoes and other dancewear and accessories in her Baggu duffel. "I like things in order," she says. "Knowing where everything is is a priority for me."

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The lack of female leaders in ballet is an old conversation. But a just-launched website, called the Dance Data Project, has brought something new to the discussion: actual numbers, not just anecdotal evidence.

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News
Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights.

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News
Joffrey Ballet's Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili in "Orphée et Eurydice" with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Photo courtesy "Great Performances."

You might say, "You just had to be there," about the Joffrey Ballet's 2017 world premiere of John Neumeier's reimagined Orphée et Eurydice with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. But on January 18, audiences from around the country will have a chance to witness this extraordinary collaboration up close, from the comfort of their living rooms, as PBS stations broadcast Orphée et Eurydice on "Great Performances".


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Ballet Stars
A madcap solstice celebration: The Joffrey Ballet in Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

During Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream, a singer croons: "By morning the dancers/Will start to wonder/Had it all been a dream?/Had it all been a blunder?" While The Joffrey Ballet's performances of Ekman's 2015 full-length last April were most certainly the former, they could not have been further from the latter.

Ekman's 'Midsummer Night's Dream' | Official Trailer www.youtube.com

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New York City Ballet soloist Claire Kretzschmar as the Sugarplum Fairy in Balanchine's "The Nutcracker." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

What bunhead hasn't dreamed of dancing Clara in Nutcracker? But with so many young dancers aspiring to the role, casting disappointments are inevitable each year. Today, three professionals share their childhood Clara casting disappointments and what helped them move on and learn from the experience. We hope their stories will encourage you this Nutcracker season!

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Viral Videos
Josephine Lee takes Chicago. Photo Courtesy Lee.

Earlier this summer, we followed master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based The Pointe Shop as she made her on a pointe shoe fitting tour around the West Coast and California. Now she's back, this time on a 45-day tour from California to Chicago, educating students on all things pointe shoes and helping them to find their perfect fit. Lee's making stops at top ballet companies and academies across the country, interviewing school directors and chatting with professional ballerinas to find out how they customize and break in their pointe shoes. Below, check out Lee's final stop: Chicago's Joffrey Ballet. She touches base with Ashley Wheater, artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet and the Joffrey Academy of Dance.

Ashley Wheater on the Joffrey Academy of Dance youtu.be

Missed Lee's stops at Ballet West, Colorado Ballet, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Oklahoma City Ballet or Kansas City Ballet? Check them out now!

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April Day is celebrating her 16th season with The Joffrey Ballet. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet.

Joffrey Ballet Star April Daly shares how she stays conditioned throughout the season—and makes her summers intense.

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