From the over-the-top antics of Fancy Free to the stylized realism of West Side Story, the discomfiting world of The Cage to the poignant humanity of Dances at a Gathering, the work of Jerome Robbins redefined what American dance could be. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, ballet companies across the country are performing his iconic works throughout the year. Here are a few of our favorites, but keep your eyes peeled for more Robbins tributes in 2018.
Miami City Ballet
MCB dancers channel their silly sides for Robbins' The Concert (or, the Perils of Everybody). Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy MCB
MCB's Jerome Robbins Celebration features Circus Polka, The Cage, Other Dances, In the Night and West Side Story Suite, classics spanning over 40 years and illustrating the master's stylistic range. In a delightful twist, Circus Polka will feature artistic director Lourdes Lopez in the role of Ringmaster, making her the first woman ever to perform the part originated by Robbins himself. Miami, Jan. 12–14. Fort Lauderdale, Jan. 27–28. West Palm Beach, Feb. 2–4. For a bonus Robbins treat, his comic masterpiece The Concert (or, the Perils of Everybody) will be performed on a later program with works by George Balanchine and Brian Brooks. Miami, Feb. 9–11. West Palm Beach, March 2–4. Fort Lauderdale, March 17–18. miamicityballet.org.
As part of its Modern Masters program, Joffrey Ballet will present the Chicago premiere of Glass Pieces, set to music by Philip Glass. The angular athleticism of the work, danced by a cast of 42, draws the subtly shifting repetitions in Glass' compositions into focus. Chicago, Feb. 7–18. joffrey.org.
San Francisco Ballet
SFB in Robbins' Fancy Free. Photo by Erik Tomasson, via sfballet.org.
Opus 19/The Dreamer, The Cage, Other Dances and Fancy Free are on the program for SFB's Robbins: Ballet & Broadway. Fancy Free, Robbins' breakout 1944 ballet that later inspired the musical On the Town, is set to music by Leonard Bernstein, whose 100th birthday is also celebrated this year. San Francisco, March 20–25. sfballet.org.
New York City Ballet
Of course NYCB is going all out to honor one of its co-founding choreographers. The Robbins 100 celebration boasts 19 works by the master arrayed in six programs over three weeks, plus a world premiere by resident choreographer Justin Peck inspired by Robbins and set to the music of Bernstein in honor of both men's centennials. New York City, May 3–20. nycballet.com.
And a whole lot more...
Nelson Madrigal and Whitney Jensen in Robbins' Afternoon of a Faun. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet
There's so much going on that we're not even sure we know about all of it, but here are some of the organizations planning performances, film screenings, exhibitions or other events celebrating Robbins this year. Keep an eye on individual websites and the Jerome Robbins Foundation as details and additional events are announced.
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
New York Theatre Ballet
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Les Étés de la Danse
Dutch National Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Paris Opéra Ballet
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Dance on Camera Festival
The Paley Center for Media
92nd Street Y
Spoleto Festival USA