Category In the News

Tristan Bruns, SeeChicagoDance

Mar 15, 2023

The Joffrey Ballet will once again present the “Winning Works” choreography competition and performance beginning March 16 at the Museum of Contemporary Arts. The competition is a call for ALAANA artists— African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native America—to submit work to be performed by the Joffrey Academy Trainees and Studio Company, set to a commissioned score by a composer/collaborator.

Since the program’s inception in 2000, it has grown to become one of the most impactful components of the organization. "The Joffrey Ballet's Winning Works program exemplifies a 'Joffrey for All' and our steadfast commitment to ALAANA artists," says Greg Cameron, The Joffrey Ballet President and CEO in a statement to the press. "Winning Works creates more than what we see on stage; it opens an opportunity. This program is integral to the Joffrey's commitment to uplifting emerging choreographers and our Academy dancers.”

The 2023 winners are Kameron Saunders, Mike Tyus, Christopher D’Ariano and Natasha Adorlee. The subject matter chosen by each artist varies greatly—from sandcastles to pugilism. Each artist lends themself to the experimental nature of the program. In interviews with SeeChicagoDance, the artists expand on their vision of each new work.

Kameron Saunders is not from Chicago but may be recognizable from his appearance in the Disney+ film “Spirited,” starring Will Farrel and Ryan Reynolds, and choreographed by Chloe Arnold, or from performances with such musical artists as Lizzo and Saucy Santana.

Saunders’ “Warmer” is inspired by the book “All About Love” by bell hooks set to music composed by Brandon Finklea, a former collaborator of Saunders and sound engineer for the K-pop group, “Blackpink.”

Saunders describes the work as “An abstract work that looks at the love between relationships, whether that is romantic, family, friends… What does it look like when there is an absence of love? When we are absent of vulnerability, communication and honesty with the people around us.”

Read the full review here