The family-friendly event kicks off with movement classes featuring partner organizations

May 20, 2024 (Chicago) – The Joffrey Ballet announces the programming for the Joffrey for All free performance, which will feature a mixed repertory program in Millennium Park by Joffrey Company Artists and students from the Joffrey Academy of Dance Community Engagement programs. The program is comprised of a series of powerful performances by the most pioneering choreographers from around the globe, including Cathy Marston, Justin Peck, Yuri Possokhov, Christopher Wheeldon, and 2024 Winning Works Choreographer Manoela Gonçalves. The Joffrey Ballet for All free performance kicks off with family-friendly movement classes featuring partner organizations, including the Poetry Foundation and Ensemble Español, starting at 4:15pm on the lawn, followed by the mixed rep program at 5:30pm on Sunday, June 16, 2024.

The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE says, "The Joffrey for All free performance is truly a gift to the people of Chicago, offering the opportunity to see works by powerhouse choreographers, in addition to pieces illustrating the breadth of our Academy and Community Engagement programs. I am especially delighted to share an excerpt from Carousel: A Dance by Christopher Wheeldon, which will be the final performance by retiring artist Christine Rocas, who celebrates 20 illustrious years at the Joffrey. Audiences will also see works from our upcoming 2024-2025 season: Yuri Possokhov's Andante and Cathy Marston's Heimat (a preview of the beauty to come in our season opener, Atonement)."

Joffrey President and CEO Greg Cameron says, "The first-ever Joffrey for All free performance took place in June 2023, opening our arms to over 7,500 Chicagoans in the heart of the city. This year, with gratitude to our Producing Sponsor, Gallagher, we are planning an even larger celebration by partnering with community organizations for free dance workshops to allow everyone to experience the joy of dance. The Joffrey for All free performance reflects the collaborative spirit of the city of Chicago and the power of the arts to bring people together.

The Joffrey for All free performance features world-class works that are captivating for audiences of all ages. Highlights include Yuri Possokhov's Andante, a pas de trois set to Shostakovich's Piano Concerto #2; Cathy Marston's Heimat, which paints a halcyon picture of a family in the Swiss countryside; an excerpt from Carousel: A Dance by Christopher Wheeldon, the internationally renowned choreographer of the Joffrey's perennial favorite, The Nutcracker; and The Times Are Racing, a modern piece by West Side Story and Illinoise choreographer Justin Peck, set to the last four tracks of Dan Deacon's expansive 2012 album, America.

The program also features a moving new solo by 2024 Winning Works choreographer Manoela Gonçalves, Benteveo (saudade), set to a score by Nina Simone. Benteveo, named after the famous Latin American bird known for its singing, is Gonçalves's tribute to her late father, who she describes as "the inspiration for this piece. His freedom could only be represented by a bird following the melody of its own song."

The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of the Joffrey for All free performance Producing Sponsor Gallagher, and Presenting Sponsors The Chicago Free for All Fund through the Chicago Community Trust, Anne L. Kaplan, The Negaunee Foundation, The Women’s Board of The Joffrey Ballet, and Zell Family Foundation.

Co-Chairs: AARP Illinois, Abbott, Crain’s Chicago Business, Brendan Fernandes, Sonja and Conrad Fischer, ITW, Kovler Family Foundation, Willie and Nichelle Mayberry, and Sarah Wills.

About Joffrey for All

The Joffrey Ballet’s Joffrey for All free performance commemorates the Joffrey’s mission to create a Joffrey for All. In the last decade, Joffrey has launched several initiatives to welcome dancers of all backgrounds into the Chicago dance community. These include offering more than $500,000 in scholarships and financial aid annually to increase access to professional and educational opportunities regardless of financial barriers, and a state-of-the-art studio space at 1920 S. Wabash to expand the Company’s access to students from Chicago’s south and west sides.

The Joffrey for All strategic plan forms pathways for every person to experience the joy of dance. Launched in summer 2023, Dancing with Parkinson's, offered by the Joffrey Ballet’s Community Engagement division in partnership with Northwestern Medicine, is a supportive space to explore dance for people with Parkinson's and their caregivers. The Joffrey Academy of Dance also offers Adaptive Dance programs for neurodivergent students and students with diverse movement abilities to improve their mind and body awareness while engaging in creative expression.