Joffrey Ballet | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Joffrey Ballet


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The headliner may be Frederick Ashton's 1964 The Dream, danced to the music of Mendelssohn. But the real story is Jiri Kylian's gorgeously abstract four-movement Return to a Strange Land, set to Janacek sonatas. Its moves are complex yet feel inevitable: two men embrace across a woman suspended between them, then keep their legs entwined but part to let her slip through. In each section these human geometric patterns resolve into a beautiful final image, always sculptural but sometimes suggesting Henry Moore and sometimes Winged Victory. Nor is this just an intellectual exercise: the work's fluidity gives it tremendous emotional force. By comparison, Gerald Arpino's faux-Russian peasant Celebration seems crude and showy; it's like being fed blood sausage after savoring mousse. Through 10/30: Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, 312-902-1500 or 312-739-0120, ext. 37, for groups of ten or more. $15-$125.

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