Magazine article Dance Magazine

The Joffrey Ballet

Magazine article Dance Magazine

The Joffrey Ballet

Article excerpt

THE JOFFREY BALLET AUDITORIUM THEATRE CHICAGO, IL OCTOBER 13-24, 2004

After leaping to freedom in the West in 1961, Rudolf Nureyev held on to many of the traditional roles he had danced in his homeland. He also seized every opportunity to test himself in some of the great works choreographed by Russian masters who had left St. Petersburg decades earlier, dancing the title roles in both Balanchine's Apollo and Fokine's Petrouchka.

The Joffrey's fall program, "A Nureyev Tribute," featured productions of both these works as well as Laurencia Pas d'Action, a self-contained series of divertissements lifted from the wedding scene in Vakhtang Chabukiani's full-length ballet, which Nureyev first performed with the Kirov Ballet.

Petrouchka, part of the company's repertoire since 1970, is a treasure--a lavish spectacle that combines Fokine's rich character-based choreography, Stravinsky's dramatic score (played live), and Alexandre Benoit's glorious Russian carnival decor. Two dancers alternated in the title role: Willy Shives, a Joffrey veteran and marvelous actor, who brought a brilliantly heart-wrenching sense of unrequited love to the role as he furiously thumped his fists against his chest; and the younger, more overtly athletic John Gluckman, whose boyishness generated a different kind of pathos. Brian McSween made his narcissistic Blackamoor seem both arrogant and ignorant. As the Ballerina Doll, a crisp Maia Wilkins paired with Shives and a wide-eyed Suzanne Lopez danced opposite Gluckman. …

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