‘The Rite of Spring’ at the center of Joffrey program

September 15, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Hedy Weiss


For this year’s worldwide celebration of the 100th anniversary of “The Rite of Spring” (both Igor Stravinsky’s groundbreaking score and the shockingly primal choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky that put Paris into a tailspin), the Joffrey Ballet will perform the work as the centerpiece of a special “Russian Masters” program, Sept. 19-22 at the Auditorium Theatre.
The Joffrey is renowned for its 1987 premiere of Millicent Hodson’s painstaking “reconstruction” of Nijinsky’s choreography for “Rite,” drawn from archival material and interviews, and featuring replicas of the original sets and costumes. Also on the program will be works by two other choreographers with “Russian” roots: George Balanchine (whose rapidfire “Allegro Brilliante,” for 10 dancers, is set to Tchaikovsky) and Yuri Possokhov, a former Bolshoi Ballet dancer, now choreographer-in-residence with the San Francisco Ballet, who created “Bells” (to music by Rachmaninoff) for the Joffrey in 2011, and more recently devised a duet, “Adagio,” for the company’s Victoria Jaiani and her husband, Temur Suluashvili.
“This duet, which I made very quickly, is just my response to music by Khatchaturian I’ve heard since childhood, and originally was used for the Bolshoi’s ‘Spartacus’ ballet,” Possokhov said. “I tried to escape the ‘Spartacus’ references, but something remains. Victoria and Temur, who saw me dance with the Bolshoi when they were students in Tbilisi, Georgia, dance the Russian way by nature and are amazing artists.”
For tickets ($31-$152), call (800) 982-2787; visit Ticketmaster.com.