Geneva Anderson digs into art

Dance Aficionado? A pioneering project brings the new film “Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance” to Santa Rosa and San Rafael this Saturday, January 28, 2012

With simulcast, a film’s world premiere, traditionally limited to one locale, can go truly global and it’s happening for the first time this weekend.  This Friday evening, Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance, a riveting feature documentary profiling the legendary Joffrey Ballet has its world premiere as the opening film at 40th Annual Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater.  On Saturday, when the film repeats at the festival, select audiences around the country can watch it streamed live via simulcast in their local theatres.   In coordination with Emerging Pictures’ electronic cinema, the film will be streamed in the Bay Area on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Santa Rosa at Summerfield Cinemas and in San Rafael at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.  The Saturday simulcast includes introductions as well as an interactive live panel discussion featuring top Joffrey stars, past and present.  Audience members throughout the US will be able to ask the stars questions live via a live Twitter feed.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance: (Director: Bob Hercules, USA, 2012, 90 min)
This insightful documentary is the first film to chronicle how the legendary Joffrey Ballet revolutionized American ballet by boldly combining modern dance with traditional ballet at a time when it such merging not routinely accepted.  Weaving a wealth of archival footage, behind-the-scene photos and interviews with over 20 former and current Joffrey star dancers, director Bob Hercules (Bill T. Jones: A Good Man) documents the struggles and achievements of the Joffrey from its newfound beginnings in 1956 to the Company’s present international success.  Many times the Joffrey Ballet had to rebound from crippling financial difficulties starting in 1964 with its acrimonious break from the Rebekah Harkness Foundation. This breakup left Robert Joffrey with only 2 dancers and no company to his name. The company nearly dissolved in the mid-90’s due to financial problems but resurrected itself in 1995 with its move to Chicago. The film features rare excerpts from many seminal Joffrey works including Astarte, Trinity and Billboards, as well as breakthrough collaborations with choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Leonid Massine, Laura Dean, and Kurt Jooss.  Founders Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino and a host of ballet notables, including Gary Chryst, Trinette Singleton, Helgi Tomasson (current Artistic Director, San Francisco Ballet), Kevin McKenzie and more, are featured in the film.  Narrated by Tony® and Emmy® Award winner Kevin McKenzie , the film is a rich chronicle of a ballet company that continues to reinvent itself, raise the bar and invigorate audiences worldwide. Executive produced by Harold Ramis and Jay Alix and produced by Una Jackman and Erica Mann Ramis. 

“Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance” will have its world premiere at the 40th Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center this weekend and will premiere simultaneously in theaters around the country via simulcast this Saturday, January 28, 2012. It will screen locally at the Summerfield Cinemas in Santa Rosa and the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael. Included in the Joffrey story is Gerald Arpino's "Light Rain." Photo: Herbert Migdoll.

The Joffrey Ballet:  Co-founded in 1956 by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey and dancer Gerald Arpino, who would become the organization’s principal choreographer, The Joffrey Ballet began as a DIY dance company of six dancers touring the United States in a borrowed station wagon.  What started as a childhood dream quickly grew into one of the world’s most exciting and prominent ballet companies.  Together, Joffrey and Arpino transformed the face of dance by merging classical ballet technique with bold new perspectives for edgy new ballets that challenged conventions.  Aggressive touring took the Company from school auditoriums across America’s Heartland, to the White House at Jacqueline Kennedy’s invitation, on to Russia for a month-long tour during the height of the Cold War, and beyond.  They also garnered extensive media attention for their daring originality, which included appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, the cover of Time Magazine, and in major motion pictures such as Save the Last Dance and Robert Altman’s The Company (which is based on the Joffrey).

Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its Company, audiences and repertoire, which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces, and contemporary works.  The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under internationally renowned Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater and Executive Director Christopher Clinton Conway.   To learn more, visit

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance screens Saturday, January 28, 2012:

Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA) at 10:30 a.m.  Purchase tickets online here.

Summerfield Cinemas (551 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa, CA) at 10:30 a.m.  Purchase tickets online here.

January 26, 2012 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment