Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance
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Co-founded in 1956 by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey and dancer Gerald Arpino, The Joffrey Ballet began as a DIY company of six dancers touring the United States in a borrowed station wagon but quickly grew into one of the world’s most exciting and prominent ballet companies.
Weaving a wealth of rare archival footage and photographs along with new interviews with Joffrey star dancers and dance commentators, JOFFREY: MAVERICKS OF AMERICAN DANCE chronicles the full story of the company, from their founding in 1956 to the present. The film describes how the Joffrey repeatedly resurrected itself after devastating financial and artistic setbacks and how the company introduced cutting-edge choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Laura Dean and Margo Sappington to a larger audience. Featuring excerpts from Joffrey’s seminal works Astarte, Trinity and Billboards and their breakthrough collaborations with choreographers Kurt Jooss (The Green Table) and Leonide Massine (Parade).
- 12-page Collectible Booklet
- Full Dress Rehearsal of The Green Table Ballet
- Making Of Featurette
- Deleted Scenes (including one on the making of Robert Altman s film The Company)
- French, Spanish, and German Subtitles
Top Customer Reviews
Starting with a meager traveling band of six dancers, the film then barrels through the years with tales of huge companies, artistic highpoints, financial ruination, rebuilding, and relocating. With Mandy Patinkin narrating, the struggles and successes of The Joffrey Ballet in its various incarnations are laid out quite nicely. Additional perspective is provided with archival interviews with Joffrey and Arpino as well as many other participants of the company (a surprising array of dancers weigh in on the contemporary interviews). This is, however, a very professional tribute and not a lot of time is spent on the private lives of the principle subjects. The piece is focused on showcasing just what Joffrey and Arpino did that changed the face of ballet, and the many testimonials do just that. While that alone would make this a noteworthy documentary, it is the snippets of past performances that really stand out. You see a lot of famed ballets and dances briefly and it will leave you yearning for more, more, more.Read more ›
Then there are the ballets... Joffrey's & Arpino's wonderful works, very apropos of their time. And, not to forget, the new, talented choreographers he invited to set pieces for his company; and the amazing, historic ballets he brought here, and with their original creators. Green Table & Parade, both of which I saw at City Center in NYC in the 1980s, should not be missed, or misplaced. We have Joffrey to thank for keeping those alive.
I could go on, but will finally say that, yes, Robert Joffery was truly a Maverick of American Dance!
I'm a huge "modern dance" fan and attend at least 10 performances each year. Surprisingly the Joffrey company has not come through Philly - mainly because they were so close in New York (now based in Chicago) so I've never seen them perform live. As I watch this wonderful film, I heard the name of philanthropist Rebecca Harkness - who supported the original Joffrey company in the 1950s - and I remembered seeing the Harkness Ballet Company in NY in the late 1960s. I never knew the connection between the Harkness and Joffrey companies before, but I do now. (No, I won't share the answer here; it's a spoiler alert.)
As we find out in the film, there were actually three phases of the Joffrey and their repertoire and each was distinct. Among the firsts that the company is known for is the first all American repertoire by a NY dance company. (Even Balanchine was basing works on classic European Ballet.). They were also the first to hire Twyla Tharp (for "Deuce Coupe" based on the Beach Boys Music) and the first to do a psychedelic piece with a rock band in the pit. Even Prince was so impressed by the company that he allowed them to use his music royalty-free to create "Billboards".
As is probably obvious from the music mentioned above, this is not "old style" ballet but dance that moved with the times. The film includes lots of interviews with past (and a few present) Joffrey dancers as well the last interviews with Robert Joffrey's partner (in both life and dance) Gerald Arpino.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For a friends daughter who will go to the Joffrey's school. The family liked it, ergo it gets 5 stars.Published on September 20, 2013 by BG
If you are wondering if this is worth it, according to my mom, the dance aficionado, it is! Enjoy it!Published on August 29, 2013 by Laurel Eisenschiml
It was wonderful to find another dance company presented on film. This is not quite up to some others I.e. Paul Taylor.Published on April 30, 2013 by Martha
Lovely! A good "teling of the story"
Anyone would enjoy this............
even someone who is not a ral Joffrey fan!
And what a documentary. The history of Joffrey is at once exciting, modern and elegant. We are lucky to have such visionaries in American ballet.Published on February 17, 2013 by Katherine
I bought this for my daughter, a dancer, to introduce her to the world of the Joffrey Ballet and New York (yes, at the time Joffrey was in New York) ballet. Read morePublished on January 25, 2013 by Eros Faust
I knew the Joffrey was different and were agents of change in the world of dance, but had no idea of the rich back story. Read morePublished on November 21, 2012 by Joanne M. Dykstra
This is basically a history of the Joffrey. It is very well done with many interviews.
What we see and hear in the 82 minutes is very interesting but
I would have liked... Read more
Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance is an excellent introduction to the history of the Joffrey Ballet, and captures the excitement generated by this quintessentially American... Read morePublished on August 31, 2012 by Nicole R.