The Joffrey Ballet is thrilled to announce the world premiere of Under the Trees’ Voices, a new 28-minute work by Joffrey Rehearsal Director Nicolas Blanc, performed and streamed from the Joffrey’s Gerald Arpino Black Box Theatre on April 30, 2021 at 7:00 PM CST. An archived recording of Under the Trees’ Voices will subsequently be available for viewing on the Joffrey’s YouTube channel. The performance is free to the public and can be accessed via joffrey.org.
Blanc’s Under the Trees' Voices features 15 Joffrey artists dancing to Symphony No. 2 by Italian composer Ezio Bosso. The performance channels the power of community in the age of social distancing. Much of the inspiration behind the choreography is a result of Blanc’s feelings during the Spring of 2020, when he noticed the nuances of people’s moods as the weather began to improve and pandemic restrictions eased. It was during this time that Blanc was walking along Lake Michigan in Chicago while listening to Bosso’s Symphony No. 2 that he felt inspired to create Under the Trees’ Voices.
“It was so nice to reconnect with nature, which is such a powerful component in our lives as it helps us regain more profoundly our inner-self,” said Blanc. “The piece is definitely meant to be hopeful. It’s about understanding that we have not lost our sense of humanity. Being vulnerable and reflecting on what we think is essential in our lives helps us retrieve the true meaning of connecting with each other. I think the piece is about re-discovering a strong community bond. Let us not forget that we are better together than alone.”
In four distinct sections, Blanc imagines a future of hope and unity. The first section exudes a spiritual, melancholic quality, juxtaposed by the second section, a dynamic and positive celebration of female strength. The third section, a metaphor for loss and absence, highlights individuals during this lyrical movement of Bosso’s score while the final section is a mad rush forward, embedded with urgency and fluctuation.
“The pandemic reminds us that life is precious, that our shared sense of community and the ability to engage with one another face-to-face is one of humanity’s great joys,” said Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of the Joffrey. “Nic’s piece speaks to the idea that human interaction and socialization is essential and that we should never take it for granted.”
Under the Trees’ Voices is part of the company’s Joffrey Studio Series, a comprehensive roster of free, virtual programming — from streamed performances and rehearsals to pre-recorded conversations — curated by Joffrey artists during the COVID-19 era. More information, including links for pre-registration as applicable, will be updated regularly and can be found via Joffrey.org/StudioSeries. Due to COVID-19 city and state mandates, all launch dates and streams are subject to change.
The Joffrey Crisis Stabilization Fund
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of the Joffrey’s 2020 Spring production of Yuri Possokhov’s Don Quixote and all performances of the 2020-2021 season — an estimated earned revenue loss of more than $12 million. The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, and Joffrey Community Engagement have moved to virtual programming and limited in-person classes indefinitely.
This season, the Joffrey will rely almost entirely on contributed revenue to meet its financial commitments. The establishment of the Joffrey Crisis Stabilization Fund attempts to recover lost funds stemming from COVID-19 and maintain basic operations through October 2021. To date, the Joffrey has raised $10.5 million of its $12 million goal.
About The Joffrey Ballet
The Joffrey Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the world today, with a reputation for boundary-breaking performances for more than 60 years. The Joffrey repertoire is an extensive collection of all-time classics, modern masterpieces, and original works.
Founded in 1956 by pioneers Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the Joffrey remains dedicated to artistic expression, innovation, and first-rate education and engagement programming. The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron.
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of Under the Trees’ Voices Corporate Sponsors ITW and Grubhub; Studio Series Presenting Sponsor Nancy and Sanfred Koltun; Joffrey Studio Series Corporate Sponsor BMO Harris Bank; and its 2020–2021 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges our Season Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs, and Athletico, Official Provider of Physical Therapy for The Joffrey Ballet.