Joffrey Ballet Presents PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN NUTCRACKER Preview – Keeping The Magic Alive All Winter

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Art on theMart, November 12- December 30, 2020
Making a New American Nutcracker, December 1-31


Online and Outdoors



Stream on Joffrey Ballet’s website

Joffrey Ballet Gives a Glimpse Behind the Scenes

The Nutcracker is a yearly tradition throughout the dance world. This year, The Joffrey Ballet offers virtual programming that aims to keep the holiday spirit alive all season long. Kicking off the virtual offerings was Pulling Back the Curtain on November 7, a virtual fundraiser and behind the scenes look at the Joffrey’s version of the Nutcracker ballet, an innovation first choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon in 2016.

The program takes audiences on a guided journey of Wheeldon’s Nutcracker, which is set during the 1893 World’s Fair, featuring interviews with Wheeldon, Artistic Director Ashley Wheater, Joffrey company dancers, and the production crew. Audiences also get a glimpse of the making of this new ballet with scenes from production meetings, including the crew working with a dollhouse-sized proscenium stage that serves as a model for the show’s many projections, and production elements such as a growing Christmas tree and falling snow.  We also see rehearsal footage that gives a deeper look into Wheeldon’s creative vision. Rehearsal footage is paired with past performance clips that bring the process full circle, piecing together the puzzle of Wheeldon’s fantasy.

The Joffrey dancers weigh in throughout with stories of working with Wheeldon in the studio. They discuss what it was like to bring these new characters to life, including the elegant and regal Queen of the Fair, and the fair’s outrageous Buffalo Bill. The dancers laugh through memories of technical difficulties and share details about the challenging and precise choreography.

Victoria Jaiani, Miguel Blanco Photo by Cheryl Mann

Experience More NUTCRACKER Magic all Winter Long

Audiences can go even further behind the scenes by streaming Making a New American Nutcracker anytime from December 1- 31. The Emmy-winning PBS documentary will be available all month long on the Joffrey Ballet’s website. Narrated by actress Neve Campbell, Making a New American Nutcracker reveals the inner workings of the Joffrey creative team—from rewriting the story to the making of elaborate puppets to the choreographic process.

The Joffrey Ballet, in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, will also present The Nutcracker outside this season with Art on theMART. This presentation for Art on theMART, set to the music of Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, runs nightly from November 12 through December 30, at 7:00 and 7:30 PM, in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The projections — displayed on theMART’s 2.5 acre river-façade — can be viewed for free from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street. The opening night projection will also be livestreamed on Facebook, Thursday, November 12.

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For more information about all of the holiday offerings, visit The Joffrey Ballet’s website.

Photos by Cheryl Mann

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Hayley Ross
Hayley Ross

About the Author: Hayley Ross

Hayley Ross is a writer, arts marketer, dancer, and fitness instructor in Chicago, IL. Originally from Ohio, Hayley has studied Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Contemporary, and African dance and teaches Pilates and Barre fitness classes. She has previously worked for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, American Dance Festival, OhioDance, and The Chautauqua Institution. She is currently the Advertising and Marketing Manager for the League of Chicago Theatres.

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