Featured facts about The Joffrey Ballet

March 21, 2023
Featured facts about The Joffrey Ballet

Steinbeck, Skyfall, and Serenade—Learn about The Joffrey Ballet and some featured facts surrounding the Mar 25 and 26 performances at Northrop.

Film Meets Ballet

Grammy-Award winner Thomas Newman brought his film composition skills to ballet, creating the soundtrack for Of Mice and Men—part of the Northrop program. Newman’s Academy Award-winning soundtracks include Finding Nemo, The Shawshank Redemption, Little Women, and Skyfall

Two male dancers - one casually sitting against and the other lying under a bench. Both looking to the upper right and one is pointing.

Xavier Núñez and Dylan Gutierrez in Joffrey Ballet’s Of Mice and Men. Photo © Todd Rosenberg Photography

Happily Ever After

Although the novel Of Mice and Men ends in a tragedy, The Joffrey Ballet and Thomas Newman wanted to tell the story of Lenny and George in the frame of friendship. Working in collaboration, choreographer Cathy Marston and composer Newman found themselves blending their interpretations of the classic words by author John Steinbeck. It’s the momentum in the music that Marston says really allowed her to propel the story’s takeaway—the value of friendship.

The Joffery Ballet in "Anna Karenina"

Yoshihisa Arai and Anais Bueno in Anna Karenina. Photo © Cheryl Mann, courtesy of the Joffrey Ballet.

A Northrop Audience Favorite

Northrop audiences last saw The Joffrey Ballet in 2019 in a work that honored another literary classic—Anna Karenina. An audience favorite, The Joffrey Ballet has performed at Northrop a total of fifteen times, with their first-ever appearance on the Northrop stage in 1976. 

The company in a rehearsal - a tight group reaches up to assist a solo female dancer who is raised above them.

Jeraldine Mendoza and the ensemble in rehearsal for The Times Are Racing. Photo courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet

A Mixed Bag Repertoire

The Times Are Racing—danced in sneakers and streetwear to the second half of electronic musician Dan Deacon’s America album—seamlessly blends classical ballet, contemporary ballet, tap, and jazz. This final piece concludes a Northrop program that Artistic Director Ashley Wheater describes as a “mixed bag".

Two female dancers in white, light costumes one a blue lit stage. One in full arabesque and one in pose on the floor.

The Joffrey Ballet in Serenade. Photo © Cheryl Mann.

Serenade and Steinbeck

Balanchine’s Serenade was his first original full-length ballet in the United States. In this program, The Joffrey Ballet combines this iconic work with the Minnesota premiere of Of Mice and Men—almost one year after it made its world premiere at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago.