On April 19th Kontinent Media went to one of the most glamorous events of the year – The Joffrey Ballet Spring Gala. The performance was held at Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, and was attended by ballet lovers, supporters, and socialites of the town. The cause of the Gala was to celebrate the ballet company’s educational programs that teach thousands of children, teens and young adults each year, while making a significant impact on their lives, as well as on their abilities to appreciate and to participate in this highly popular type of art. Joffrey Ballet is widely known as a Chicago cultural gem, and contributes significantly to the city’s scene and allure. The program was curated by Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater, and highlighted the transformation and inspirations of a dancer, from the Community Engagement and Academy of Dance students to the internationally renowned company.
The ballet show consisted of a special selection of popular pieces, and was opened by Suite Classique, choreographed by Alexei Kremnev, Artistic Director of the Joffrey Academy, to the music by Sergei Prokofiev, and influenced by the Bolshoi Ballet’s original piece with the same name. The audiences welcomed warmly Academy trainees in this piece. All the other pieces, performed by the company members, created a complete and amazing experience of emotion embodied in the dance.
The show was followed by a spectacular black-tie event, organized by Women’s Board of The Joffrey Ballet, at Hilton Chicago. The guests rode a trolley directly to the destination, where they enjoyed cocktails and dinner in the Grand Ballroom. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is formerly a modern dancer himself, spoke at the dinner, noting the important role that Joffrey, and its Academy play in advancing and revitalizing cultural life in Chicago. Among the other many notables there attended Illinois State Treasurer Don Rutherford, Prince Piotr Galitzine, the event’s chairs Deborah and Cody Engle and Mrs. McKay McKinnon. A Luxury Live Auction offered impressive prize packages that, in turn, were taken up with impressive enthusiasm by the Joffrey Gala supporters. Prizes included items such as «Escape to Honduras», «First-Class British Virgin Islands Adventure», and others. Afterwards, a lively after-party ensued with music dancing, and mingling.
Some of the data provided by the Joffrey included the facts that, since 1995, The Joffrey Ballet has been Chicago’s own ballet company, reaching over 150,000 people annually through its performances, classes and outreach initiatives. Just over five years ago, the Joffrey moved into its first permanent home, Joffrey Tower, at the corner of State and Randolph Streets, in the heart of Chicago’s revitalized theater district, reinforcing its commitment to Chicago and taking its place amongst the city’s preeminent cultural institutions. Joffrey Tower, with its 52,000 square feet of space, is home not only to the Joffrey’s world-class company of dancers, but has become a family center for dance in the North Loop, dedicated to nurturing young talent while also promoting diversity and inclusion in the field of classical ballet.
The Joffrey thanked the event’s chairs Deborah and Cody Engle and Mrs. McKay McKinnon as well as their dedicated team of committee members.
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Photos by Alex Riemann