Joffrey | History of The Joffrey Ballet | American Masters | PBS
Robert Joffrey was an American choreographer who co-founded the famous Joffrey Ballet. Founder/Co-Founder: Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Ballet School he was the only offspring of his parents' meaningless marriage. The Robert Joffrey Ballet Concert was formed in and first appeared at the The sponsorship and generosity of the Harkness relationship toward Joffrey. Christian Holder, one of the Joffrey Ballet's acclaimed dancers of the past, Robert Joffrey helped define me as a performing artist; his company After Joffrey and co-founder Gerald Arpino severed their relationship with.
Adancer and choreographer, Robert Joffrey stormed onto the American ballet scene with his first company in Never intending to become a professional dancer, Joffrey turned simple medical advice into a phenomenal career.
He elevated ballet, the "conservative" art form, to new heights that were never thought of or attempted before including the production of one of the first rock ballets. Joffrey viewed ballet as not only a theatrical art form, but an art form that was forever evolving. Operating from this credo, Robert Joffrey created one of the most respected and best-known ballet companies of the s.
Even after Joffrey's death inthe reputation and ability of his company continues to amaze viewers of all ages.
History of The Joffrey Ballet
During his childhood, Joffrey experienced multiple bouts with various illnesses, most notably asthma. He was confirmed as suffering from chronic asthma in his youth by his family's doctor.
Based on the advice of his physician, Joffrey took to dancing. The doctor believed that the breathing exercises taught to the children would help alleviate some of Joffrey's asthmatic conditions thereby making the task of breathing a little easier and his overall childhood a little better.
Through her guidance and care Joffrey began to excel at dance. He performed locally on several occasions throughout his teens and even presented a solo recital of his own choreography in Additionally, Joffrey studied under Alexandra Fedoroua.
Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance | KCET
Joffrey made his professional dance debut with Roland Petit's Ballets de Paris during that troupe's New York season. Shortly after, Joffrey was invited to perform in O'Donnell's troupe between and Even while dancing under the guidance and protection of these greats, Joffrey longed to establish his own company.
Joffrey knew his ambitions lied there since the companies he worked with were either too restrictive or conservative in their approach to ballet. He continued, however, to study and master a variety of styles knowing that a successful company was dependent on successful dancers and an extensive repertoire of dances.
Student Becomes Teacher During his early years, Joffrey earned a well-deserved reputation as not only a skilled dancer but an excellent teacher.
He taught his students not only the dance technique but the interpretation as well. He also served on the board and faculty of the American Ballet Theater School. Joffrey used his skills as a teacher to produce his first ballet. Persephone, Joffrey's first ballet, was produced utilizing students of the High School of Performing Arts.
He also used the students to assist him in the production of his next two ballets as well. Persephone, was staged for the Choreographer's Workshop Program in His next two ballets, Scaramouche and Umpateedle were given in at Jacob's Pillow in Lee, Massachusetts, under the auspices of the Workshop as well.
Joffrey's reputation as a consummate and creative professional was growing rapidly. Professional Beginnings Finally in Joffrey realized his long held dream. The ballet company was well-received. In his company was invited back and again Joffrey used the opportunity to premiere another grouping of ballets. The two ballets premiered on that occasion were Harpsichord Concerto and Pierrot Lunaire.
During these years, Joffrey undertook a variety of choreography assignments. One such assignment included the summer series at the Seattle Aquatheater from to Joffrey accomplished all this besides his already heavy teaching load. However, Joffrey realized in order to keep his fledgling company afloat financially, this work was necessary. Joffrey launched his company to tour with six dancers, one of whom was longtime friend, co-founder and associate director, Gerald Arpino, and a borrowed station wagon in The group immediately set out on a 23 United States city tour.
The music they used was prerecorded by another dancer in the group who also played the piano.Remembrances, Joffrey Ballet - Choreography by Robert Joffrey
A crowning achievement for Robert Joffrey and his company came just one year earlier in Joffrey had attracted enough media and dance world attention to become the first American choreographer invited to stage his works for the prestigious Ballet Lambert in England. Joffrey performed Pas des Deesses and Persephone while exhibiting there. Although their sexual intimacy ended soon afterJoffrey and Arpino shared a domestic relationship for forty-three years, one that ended only upon Joffrey's death.
But at 5 feet 4 inches tall, Joffrey realized that his height limited his potential for a career as a dancer. He began to think of choreography and teaching as ways to contribute to dance.
Joffrey began to choreograph his own ballets. He scored an early success with Persephone He also staged dances for musicals, operas, and London's Ballet Rambert. He studied dance in Seattle and later in New York, opened a ballet school inand in formed his own small ensemble troupe, dedicated to presenting work by himself and Arpino. This ensemble gradually grew into a major national company that revolutionized American dance history. The company gained international fame and toured widely.
It commissioned the work of modern choreographers for example Deuce Coupe inand it revived great ballets of the international repertoire that were neglected by other American companies. Joffrey was an unusually gifted teacher. From the beginning, his school, the American Ballet Center, trained many important dancers. Joffrey dancers became known for their youthful sexual vitality and brilliant physical technique.
The great contributions of Robert Joffrey to American dance are his creation of a major dance company and his distinguished work as teacher and trainer of dancers. Dedicated to gender parity in ballet, he helped elevate the status of the male dancer, making male virtuosity a priority in his repertoire and in his classroom. Sometimes criticized for its commercialism, the company made ballet accessible to a large and diverse audience, including people who were not already devotees of the form.
The Joffrey's repertoire contained no overt homosexuality, but there was a great deal of covert homoeroticism as a retinue of gorgeous, bare-chested, late adolescent dancers unfailingly delighted the gay male audience.
Although Arpino has repeatedly denied the presence of homoeroticism in his work, his all-male ballet, Olympics, a tribute to athletics, featured a suggestive pas de deux.
In it became affiliated with the New York City Center. Joffrey's ballets include PersephoneAstarteRemembrancesand Postcards Joffrey produced less choreography as he devoted himself to shaping his company.