Sierra Cinemas, Nevada City, Sun Apr 22 – JOFFREY: MAVERICKS OF AMERICAN DANCE – 1 hr 28 min – Unrated. A look at the Joffrey Ballet, the groundbreaking cultural treasure known as the first truly American dance company. Narrated by Tony and Emmy Award winner Mandy Patinkin and directed by Bob Hercules (Bill T. Jones: A Good Man), the film documents how the Joffrey revolutionized American ballet by daringly combining modern dance with traditional ballet technique, combining art with social statement and setting ballets to pop and rock music scores. The film features rare excerpts from many seminal Joffrey works including Astarte, Trinity and Billboards. As a special treat, Nevada County natives Michael Levine and Maia Wilkins, alumni of the Joffrey Ballet, will be present to talk about their experiences and answer questions.
Co-founded in 1956 by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey and dancer Gerald Arpino, who would become their principal choreographer, The Joffrey Ballet began as a DIY dance company of six dancers touring the United States in a borrowed station wagon. What started as a childhood dream quickly grew into one of the world’s most exciting and prominent ballet companies. Together, Joffrey and Arpino transformed the face of dance with bold new perspectives for edgy ballets that challenged conventions. Aggressive touring took the Company from school auditoriums across America’s Heartland, to the White House at Jacqueline Kennedy’s invitation, and on to Russia for a month-long tour during the height of the Cold War, and beyond. They also garnered extensive media attention for their daring originality, which included appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, the cover of Time magazine, and in major motion pictures such as Save the Last Dance and Robert Altman’s The Company (which is based on the Joffrey).
Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance weaves a wealth of rare archival footage and photographs along with interviews featuring former and current Joffrey star dancers, showing the full history of the Company from its founding to the present. It describes how the Joffrey repeatedly resurrected itself after devastating financial and artistic setbacks and introduced cutting-edge choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Laura Dean and Margo Sappington to larger audiences.
The film features rare excerpts from many seminal Joffrey works including Astarte, Trinity and Billboards, as well as breakthrough collaborations with choreographers Twyla Tharp (Deuce Coupe), Kurt Jooss (The Green Table) and Leonide Massine (Parade).