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BREAKING THE BALLET MOLD:

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JOFFREY BALLET


CENTER STAGE The 1960s and 1970s were a golden era for the company. Arpino›s 1970 rock ballet Trinity was a big hit; Joffrey revived Kurt Jooss›s The Green Table in 1967, followed by revivals of Ashton›s Façade, Cranko›s Pineapple Poll, Fokine›s Petrushka (with Rudolf Nureyev), and Massine›s Le Tricorne, Le Beau Danube and Parade. In 1973, Robert Joffrey asked Twyla Tharp to create her first commissioned ballet, Deuce Coupe. The company continued as City Center Joffrey Ballet until 1977. From 1977, it performed as the Joffrey Ballet, with a second home established in Los Angeles from (1992-1982). In 1995, the company left New York City and returned to Chicago to establish a permanent residence. The first several years in Chicago were financially arduous for the company, causing it to nearly shut its doors more than once; however, recent years have seen a significant revitalization as the performances have attracted larger and younger audiences. In 2005, the Joffrey Ballet celebrated its 10th anniversary in Chicago and in 2007 concluded a very well received two-season-long 50th anniversary celebration, including a «River to River» tour of free, outdoor performances across Iowa, sponsored by Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa.

BREAKING THE BALLET MOLD The Joffrey Ballet is a professional

They have been called dance company resident in Chicago, Illinois. The company regularly “America’s Company performs classical ballets, including & Juliet and The Nutcracker, of Firsts.”– Christina Romeo while balancing those classics with Favuzzi sits down with pioneering modern dance pieces. Many prolific choreographers have worked the dancers and with the Joffrey including Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, George Balanchine, and directors of Joffrey founders Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey. Founded as a touring company Ballet in 1956, it was based in New York City until 1995. The company is now

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POPULAR CULTURE

Courtesy of Wikipedia

headquartered in Joffrey Tower, and performs its October-May season at the Auditorium Theatre .

HISTORY

In 1956, a time during which most touring companies performed only reduced versions of ballet classics, Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino formed a unique six-dancer ensemble that toured the country in a station wagon pulling a U-Haul trailer, performing original ballets that were created by Robert Joffrey.

While Joffrey stayed in New York City to teach ballet classes and earn money to pay the dancers› salaries, Gerald Arpino led the troupe across America›s heartland. The ensemble›s first performance in a major city occurred in Chicago in 1957. The Joffrey Ballet originally settled down in New York City, under the name the Robert Joffrey Theatre Ballet. In 1962, modern choreographer Alvin Ailey was invited to make a work for the company.

Rebekah Harkness was an important early benefactor and she made international touring possible (Soviet Union, 1963). But in 1964 she and Joffrey parted ways. Joffrey started again, building up a new company that made its debut in 1965 as the Joffrey Ballet. Following a successful season at the New York City Center in 1966, it was invited to become City Center›s resident ballet company with Robert Joffrey as artistic director and Arpino as chief choreographer.

The Joffrey Ballet has been hailed as “America’s Company of Firsts.” The Joffrey Ballet’s long list of “firsts” includes being the first dance company to perform at the White House at Jacqueline Kennedy’s invitation, the first to appear on American television, the first classical dance company to use multi-media, the first to create a ballet set to rock music, the first American company to perform a rock ballet in Russia (bringing with it the first American rock band ever to perform in Russia), the first and only dance company to appear on the cover of Time magazine, and the first company to have had a major motion picture based on it, Robert Altman’s The Company.

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CHOREOGRAPHY CORNER

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UNIVERSITY DANCE PROGRAMS

Finding the right college dance program is difficult but you’re in luck! The editors of Center Stage have partnered with The Classroom of Synonym.com to take a look at the nation’s top dance departments and given them our seal of approval. Check out each school’s website for more information on their program.

Napoleon and Tabitha D’uomo – aka NappyTabs

BY KELSEY

DONOFRIO

Tabitha A. D›umo (née Cortopassi; born September 11, 1973) and Napoleon Buddy D›umo (born October 17, 1968), known together as Nappytabs, are Emmy Award-winning married choreographers who are often credited with developing lyrical hip-hop. They are best known for their choreography on the television show So You Think You Can Dance and for being supervising choreographers on America›s Best Dance Crew for the first five seasons. Since being with the former, their choreography has received both praise and criticism. They own Nappytabs urban dancewear and have been working together in the dance industry since 1996. Tabitha and Napoleon grew up on opposite coasts of the United States and met in the early 1990s as students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. They began their dance career together while still in college by choreographing industrial musicals for large corporations with the hip-hop dance company Culture Shock. They were married in 1998 and continued to work in Las Vegas but eventually decided to move to Los Angeles to expand their opportunities. After moving in 1999, they started teaching hip-hop classes at the Edge Performing Arts Center in North Hollywood and found extra work choreographing

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Butler University

indiana University

www.butler.edu/dance

www.indiana.edu

Indianapolis, Indiana

Courtesy of Wikipedia NappyTabs are regular choreographers for the hit dance show So You Think You Can Dance.

for professional sports dance teams and back-up dancing for musical artists. In 2003, they joined the faculty of Monsters of Hip Hop dance convention. Their work was introduced to mainstream audiences in 2008 when they became supervising choreographers on America›s Best Dance Crew and resident choreographers on So You Think You Can Dance. It was on the later show that their lyrical hip-hop choreography style gained exposure. The pair›s career progressed to providing creative direction for tours and live events, where they worked with Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin, Celine Dion, and Jennifer Lopez. They continued to develop their dancewear line by breaking out of its previously online-only presence and opening a physical store location in 2010. From television and concerts, their move into theater oc-

curred gradually. In 2010, they directed the JabbaWockeeZ›s MÜS.I.C. stage show and began to work with Cirque du Soleil; they choreographed Viva Elvis and were contributing choreographers for Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. In 2012, they continued to establish themselves in television as choreographers for Madonna›s Super Bowl halftime performance. They also choreographed several K-pop music videos including one for the singer BoA. Aside from their choreography, creative direction, and dancewear line, Tabitha and Napoleon continue to teach hip-hop classes at dance studios and on the convention circuit. They have also been involved with charity work for organizations that support the arts. Napoleon was born October 17, 1968. While growing up as one of three children[4]

in Victorville, California,[1] he learned b-boying, locking, and popping by traveling to Los Angeles and frequenting the b-boy scene; he was eventually cast as an extra in the movie Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo in 1984.[5] After Napoleon graduated from Apple Valley High School,[6] he joined the army[7]:13:57 and worked as a surgeon’s assistant while stationed in Germany.[1][8] Once discharged, he attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where he majored in molecular biology[9] and started taking jazz and modern dance classes.[5] Tabitha was born September 11, 1973, and grew up as an only child[4] in Galloway Township, New Jersey.[10] Her mother enrolled her in jazz dance classes when she was young.[5] Since there were no hip-hop classes, Tabitha learned by watching music videos and participating in her school’s cheer and dance continued on page 153

Bloomington, Indiana

University

of oklahoma Norman, Oklahoma

www.ou.edu/finearts/ dance

New york University

university

dance.tisch.nyu.edu

dance.fsu.edu

florida state

New York, New York

state university

of new york Purchase, New York

Tallahassee, Florida

fordham University

university

www.fordham.edu‎

www.okcu.edu/dance

Bronx, New York

www.purchase.edu

oklahoma city

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

point park

University

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

university www.pointpark.edu/ dance

of the Arts www.uarts.edu

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