Category In the News

Crusader Staff

January 20, 2024

The Joffrey Ballet continues its 68th season with a captivating mixed repertory program with original work choreographed by Liam Scarlett and Andrew McNicol, rounded out with a world premiere by Stina Quagebeur. Testing the limits of classical ballet with contemporary themes, scores, and breathtaking set design, “Studies in Blue” features deeply moving works that showcase the range of the Company’s repertoire with choreography by the most visionary artists in modern dance. “Studies in Blue” will be presented at the historic Lyric Opera House, 20 North Upper Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, in ten performances only, from February 15–25, 2024.  

The program begins with “Yonder Blue” by British choreographer Andrew McNicol, set to a score by Peter Gregson. McNicol creates a sense of vastness with minimalist costuming and unique lighting in this Joffrey-commissioned piece. McNicol draws inspiration from writer Siri Hustvedt’s illuminating book “A Plea for Eros.” In the book, Hustvedt describes “yonder” as a word that shifts and moves, implying distance between one place and another. The color blue similarly holds multiple associations, from honesty to melancholy.

The program continues with a world premiere by Belgian choreographer Stina Quagebeur titled, “Hungry Ghosts” with music by Jeremy Birchall. Praised for her masterful blending of classical and contemporary ballet, Quagebeur intuitively communicates universal journeys, whether that be abstract or narrative. Quagebeur’s world premiere of “Hungry Ghosts” at the Joffrey conveys the blight of addiction, and the longing to feel connected amidst devastation. Meditating on the Opioid epidemic, one of the most seismic human tragedies of modern times, she describes the work as “the story that statistics can’t tell and that words alone cannot do justice to.”  

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