“JOFFREY: Mavericks of American Dance” Lights up the Big Screen

On Thursday, September 20, the Kansas City Ballet will co-present a film which celebrates the groundbreaking cultural treasure known as the first truly American dance company.  This one-night-only, exclusive screening of JOFFREY: MAVERICKS OF AMERICAN DANCE will be introduced by William Whitener, Artistic Director of the Kansas City Ballet (who is also featured in the film.)  Showtime is 6:30pm at the Tivoli Cinemas in Westport.  Mr. Whitner will also lead a discussion following.

All seats are $10 for film and discussion. Tickets are on sale now at www.TivoliKC.com and at the Tivoli Box Office in Westport.

JOFFREY: MAVERICKS OF AMERICAN DANCE chronicles the legendary Joffrey Ballet from its humble beginnings touring the country in a borrowed station wagon to becoming one of the world’s most exciting and prominent ballet companies. Narrated by Tony® and Emmy® Award winner Mandy Patinkin and directed by Bob Hercules (Bill T. Jones: A Good Man), the film documents how the Joffrey revolutionized American ballet by daringly combining modern dance with traditional ballet technique, combining art with social statement and setting ballets to pop and rock music scores. The film features rare excerpts from many seminal Joffrey works including Astarte, Trinity and Billboards and cutting-edge choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Laura Dean and Margo Sappington.

WILLIAM WHITENER was appointed artistic director of the Kansas City Ballet in November 1996.  He has been active in the professional dance field for three decades as a renowned dancer, teacher, choreographer and director and has worked with the leaders who shaped the face of contemporary American ballet, including Robert Joffrey, Jerome Robbins, and Twyla Tharp.  Mr. Whitener has served as artistic director of both Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal.

His early ballet training was with Karen Irvin at the Cornish School in Seattle, Washington.  In 1963, at 11 years of age, he was the recipient of a Ford Foundation scholarship to study with the San Francisco Ballet School.  As a child, he performed with the Bolshoi Ballet in their production of Ballet School.  As a teenager, he was trained by Robert Joffrey, who invited him to join the New York City Opera Ballet and, subsequently, the Joffrey Ballet in 1969.  For the next eight years, he performed a wide range of principal roles in ballets by Alvin Ailey, Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Kurt Jooss, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, among others.

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