Chicago Parent is giving away family packs of tickets to this
year's performances as well to a very special fundraising event,
the Nutcracker Family
Highlights of last year's dinner, which follows a performance,
included personalizing the dancers' used ballet shoes as a
keepsake, an amazing dessert bar, kiddie cocktails and cookie
decorating, along with games and photos. The kid-friendly food was
served family style. The giveways will both be posted at ChicagoParent.com/Contests.
Look for the performance tickets on November 19 and the Family
Dinner tickets on December 3.
For many Chicago area families, a trip to see the Joffrey
Ballet's, "The Nutcracker," is a must-do holiday tradition.
It's something Ashley Wheater takes to heart as he works
to maintain the vision Robert Joffrey had when he created the
annual production 25 years ago. Wheater was in that first
production and now serves as Joffrey's artistic
"The performance has withstood the test of time and I
think his production has managed to maintain its enchantment," he
Expect that to continue this 25th anniversary
The dancers and the children's cast members are currently
in rehearsals for the performances, which begin Dec. 7. "I think
the company is dancing it as well as it's ever been danced,"
Wheater says. "They are really committed to it."
Willy Shives, ballet master of the Joffrey's children's cast,
says these very diligent young dancers rise to the challenge. They
have been in rehearsals since October for this 25th anniversary
"I'm having a blast," says Shives, a dad of two dancers who
also spent years in the children's cast and who admits The
Nutcracker is his favorite ballet. "I love working with the
children. I absolutely love it."
The children help make The Nutcracker so successful. "It becomes
one big, beautiful picture," Shives says. "At one point, the
children are the picture you see and the company members become the
frame for the children. But then it swaps. The company becomes the
picture and the children become the frame for the company."
Robert Joffrey's eye for detail remains everywhere,
Wheater says about the story, which at Joffrey is set in America,
Every performance, Wheater sees for himself the impact the
production has on audiences.
"You realize it is family and I think that it's also part
of the moral of the story of The Nutcracker, which is about the
value of family. It is about watching a family come together and
celebrate," says Wheater.
We visited Joffrey Ballet to meet some of the young
dancers taking the stage in this year's performance of The
Nutcracker. The older dancers perform as both the mice and the
polichinelles, while the younger dancers transform into the dolls.
All photos in the slideshow by Erika Hildegard-Johnson.
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