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Joffrey Ballet presents brand new “Don Quixote,” Oct. 12-23

Joffrey Ballet presents brand new “Don Quixote,” Oct. 12-23

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The Joffrey Ballet’s 2011-2012 subscription season, titled New Generation, launches this fall with the World Premiere of Yuri Possokhov’s re-imagined Don Quixote.  For this new story-ballet – the first commission of an evening-length piece by The Joffrey Ballet in over 60 years – Possokhov returns to the Joffrey to present a fresh interpretation of the classic story written by Miguel de Cervantes.  The Joffrey Ballet will perform Don Quixote at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, in ten performances only, October 12 – 23.


Possokhov, a former principal dancer with Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet, danced Don Quixote by famed choreographer Marius Petipa many times and sections of Possokhov’s own creation will be based on the original Petipa choreography.  With this new production, Possokhov seeks to tell the traditional Spanish story – with familiar characters Kitri and her beloved Basilio, the foppish Gamache, side-kick Sancho Panza, plus toreadors and mythical Dryads – but from the perspective of Don Quixote himself.  An aging nobleman obsessed with reading books about chivalry, Don Quixote imagines himself to be a valiant knight off to rescue the damsel Dulcinea in a world where windmills become monsters and a new adventure awaits beyond every horizon.  Possokhov uses humor and drama to breathe new life into the timeless tale about love, honor and passion.

Set and lighting design by Jack Mehler and animated projections by Wendell Harrington (whose work was seen in Joffrey’s production of Othello in 2009) will bring Don Quixote’s dream world vividly to life, as his “illusions” are projected across the “real world” through transparent mesh in the scenery.  This multi-media approach will create a uniquely layered vision, revealing to the audience the world as seen through Don Quixote’s eyes – a combination of reality and fantasy.  A life-sized, animated puppet of Don Quixote’s horse, Rocinante, will be designed by Cynthia Von Orthal and original costumes by the Joffrey’s own Travis Halsey will invigorate the colorful characters.  The design elements are inspired by the famous line-etched illustrations of Gustave Doré.  The Chicago Sinfonietta will provide live accompaniment of the Léon Minkus score, completing this new production.

“Don Quixote has become a staple of the ballet world, and has earned this position, in part, because of its universal themes of bravery, chivalry, and pure romance,” said Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater.  “Ironically, in many productions, Don Quixote has become a secondary character, a footnote to the courtship of Kitri and Basilio.  In the new Joffrey production, choreographer Yuri Possokhov has placed Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza, at the center of the story once again.  We retain much of the well-known choreography, but look at the tale through Don Quixote’s eyes.  The story rings true because we understand the ‘fantasy’ is a creation of Don Quixote’s fertile (some would say ‘delusional’) imagination.  Don Quixote is a truly sympathetic character, and we trust that the audience will want to join his fanciful journey.”


About the Choreographer
Yuri Possokhov received his dance training at the Moscow Ballet School and danced with the Bolshoi Ballet for ten years, working primarily with Ballet Master Yuri Grigorovich.  During this decade, he was promoted through the ranks to principal dancer.  In 1992 he joined the Royal Danish Ballet as a principal dancer at the invitation of Ballet Master Frank Andersen. The following December, Possokhov was cast as Prince Desiré in Helgi Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty and after being invited to perform in San Francisco Ballet’s opening night gala, he moved west and in 1994 he joined San Francisco Ballet as a principal dancer.  As a choreographer, Possokhov’s credits include Songs of Spain, choreographed in 1997 for former San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer Muriel Maffre; A Duet for Two, created the same year for former San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer Joanna Berman; and Impromptu Scriabin, for former San Francisco Ballet Soloist Felipe Diaz.  In 2000 he completed a new work for a dancer at the Mariinsky Ballet, as well as 5 Mazurkas for the Marin Dance Theatre.  Possokhov’s Magrittomania, a work inspired by the paintings of René Magritte, was commissioned for San Francisco Ballet’s Discovery Program in 2000.  Possokhov has gone on to contribute many other works to San Francisco Ballet’s repertory.  In 2008, The Georgia State Ballet gave the American premiere of Possokhov’s one-act work, Sagalobeli, which was performed on the company’s first-ever American tour.  Last spring the Joffrey premiered Possokhov’s new work, Bells, to critical praise as a part of the Rising Stars program.


Performance Schedule and Ticket Information

The Joffrey Ballet’s new production of Don Quixote runs Wednesday, October 12 through Sunday, October 23.  The complete schedule of performances is as follows:


Wednesday, October 12 at 7:30 pm; Friday, October 14 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, October 15 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday, October 16 at 2 pm; Thursday, October 20 at 7:30 pm; Friday, October 21 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, October 22 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday, October 23 at 2 pm.

Single tickets range from $25 to $149 and are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street, as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at (800) 982-2787, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.