Safe, dependable dance

December 04, 1997|By Judith Green

In a way, the Joffrey Ballet's coming run at the Kennedy Center shows the popular company, now based in Chicago, doing what it does best. It offers historic repertory rejuvenated and polished, spaced out with several of the pretty, unmemorable ballets known among dance critics as Arpini -- so called because artistic director Gerald Arpino used to turn out two or three of them a season, dependable, delightful, interchangeable.

So there you have the Joffrey's mixed rep program next week: "Parade" (1917), with Picasso's cubist design, Erik Satie's quirky music and choreography by Leonid Massine; and "L'Apres-midi d'un Faune" (1912), Nijinsky's scandalous solo, with its sensuous, perfumed score by Debussy. To fill out the program, two Arpini: "L'Air d'Esprit," a neoclassical ballet that looks, as its title suggests, weightless, and "Kettentanz" ("Chain Dance").

The next week, the company will offer eight performances of the late Robert Joffrey's final work, the American Victorian-era "Nutcracker."

But a question, please. When was the last time the Joffrey took a risk? Or, for that matter, produced a new work?

The mixed repertory program will be performed at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Dec. 13 and 2 p.m. Dec. 13-14. "The Nutcracker" will be performed at 8 p.m. Dec. 16-20 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 18, Dec. 20 and Dec. 21. All performances are in the Kennedy Center's Opera House. Tickets are $23.50-$58. Call 800-444-1324.

Pub Date: 12/04/97

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