Joffrey on pointe for 10-year gala
Joffrey Ballet 10th anniversary gala co-chairmen Mary Jo Basler (from left) of Lake Forest, Nancy Gottlieb Bauer of Northbrook and Anne Kaplan of Highland Park. | Lee Litas~For Sun-Times Media
Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph St., Chicago; (312) 739-0120 or joffrey.org
Updated: July 15, 2012 6:04AM
The Event: More than 800 aficionados of the sinewy, athletic art form that is ballet converged on the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on May 6 to celebrate this second city’s premier ballet troupe — the Joffrey Ballet — which celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Candace Collins Jordan and Helen Hall Melchior served as chairmen of the event with members of the Women’s Board serving as co-chairmen. The high-caliber celebration opened with a potpourri of the best of the Joffrey on the Auditorium’s stage, continued with commendations by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel inside the Palmer House Hilton and finished in the wee hours of the morning with an after-party that had everyone kicking up their heels.
Cause Célèbre: “Chicago is based on hard-working people and relationships and it has embraced this Joffrey Ballet and, indeed, the Joffrey has reached out to the community by bringing ballet not just to a few people but to the many,” said gala co-chairman Mary Jo Basler.
Through performances in Millennium Park and public school outreach programs, Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Christopher Clinton Conway are seeking to make the Joffrey one of Chicago’s “cultural gems.”
“It’s one of the most beautiful art forms we have in our city and it deserves as much affection as the symphony and the opera,” said former board chairman Maureen Smith.
Continual improvement is on Joffrey’s agenda, according to gala co-chairman Anne Kaplan.
“I think change is important and our troupe is changing,” she said. “We’re dancing better than ever, our national reviews are wonderful, our programs are amazing — so we are really humming.”
But for those who think the ballet is all pink tutus and fairy dust, gala co-chairman Nancy Gottlieb Bauer offered this: “For me, it’s the athleticism, the stamina; it’s unbelievable what the dancers themselves can do.”
Bottom Line: The event raised $1.2 million for the Joffrey Ballet.