Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Too Hot to Handel CPS Poetry Contest

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Each January, the Auditorium Theatre presents Too Hot To Handel as a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, we have invited Chicago Public School students grade 3-12 to write an original poem celebrating Dr. King's vision of the beloved community. The finalists' poems are below; vote for your favorite today!

To save $10 on tickets to Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, click HERE.

By: Ashelee W. – 8th grader
Ted Lenart Regional Gifted Center

Segreg ation,

Dr. King put that space there,
No more separate restrooms, no more inferior judgment

Segreg ation

Dr. King put that space there,
We don’t have to bow our heads or move to the back

Segreg ation

Dr. King put that space there,
Our communities can finally be one

Black and White merge in a spectacular sight;

Better jobs, better living, better relationships


Dr. King took that space out,
Everyone together, in unity forever!

Unity is Community
By: Sarah A. – 8th grader
Edison Park Elementary

One million starts with one.
This is followed by a chain reaction.

I see a storming ocean

It does not want to be cleansed

It needs new fish.

Pure water,

Calm waves.

But the water is being polluted,
Even when we try to make it serene.

We showed our care physically.

Now we need to become one.

In unison,

We are stronger.

All we need is love and the act of accepting one another,

To calm these waters.

This ocean.

This community.

An Ideal Community
By: Nia H. – 8th grader
Ted Lenart Regional Gifted Center

Dr. King had a dream, and I have one too.
It involves all people whether they’re black or blue

I just want to have unity

You and me laughing and playing for everyone to see

United we stand, together we bend

Never any cliques or clans

Dr. King had a dream and I have one too.

It involves all people including me and you.

Enter Optimism
By: Emily W. – 7th grader

Edison Park Elementary

Introduce yourself to neighbors which surround,
Pervasive enthusiasm sure gets around

Faint gestures journey a great extent,

Assist at the hospital every now and then

Gather peers, tutor for the test.

Consistently act at your personal best.

A smile offers bliss to strangers passing by,

Provide manners to elders, do not be shy!
Embrace beauteous nature every minute, every day.

A beloved community shall enter your way.

Love is the Only Way
By: Casey W. – 4th grader

Decatur Classical School

The aftermath of violence
Never turns out right

No acceptance

Darkness all night

Love is the only way
To bring light to our lives

When freedom rules the day

Our beloved community thrives

A Beloved Community
By: Joseph P. – 4th grader

Decatur Classical School

A beloved community’s hearts beat as one,
They work as one group to get the job done.

Not one of them is more respected or treated like a king,
If they were a choir, in unison, they’d sing.

Though they may not share the same opinions, thoughts, or hopes,
They’ll never leave each other’s side, like tightly bound ropes.

A beloved community respects one another,
There is love for all as they help each other.

Dr. King’s message inspired like a song,
A beloved community makes all feel like they belong.

Beloved Community
By: Kimberly G. – 5th grader

Decatur Classical School

All of the people will learn we are one
When we of all races together will run

There will be freedom from wall to wall,
Country to country, freedom for all

This place will be beautiful, very pretty
This place will be our beloved community

Oh What A Man He Was
By: Nihal K. – 5th grader

Decatur Classical School

Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King
Oh what a man he was

He had a dream, and he followed it

Oh what a man he was

Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King

Oh what a man he was

He believed everyone could come together

Oh what a man he was

Segregation would still be here

If it weren’t for MLK

Thank you, thank you MLK

Oh what a man he was.

Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community
By: Zahire S. – 3rd grader

George Pullman Elementary School

Brotherhood, equality, nonviolence and love –
Martin Luther King’s beloved community

Tolerance, color blindness, sharing and caring –
Martin Luther King’s beloved community

Integration, living in true harmony –
Martin Luther King’s dream of a beloved community!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Talking Nutcracker with Joffrey Dancer Derrick Agnoletti

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Join us as we sit down with Derrick Agnoletti, a Joffrey dancer that has been with us for almost ten years, as we discuss the upcoming Nutcracker performances (Dec. 9-27). Visit www.joffrey.org/nut for more information and tickets.

Why is the Joffrey Nutcracker special to you?

Joffrey's Nutcracker is very special to me because I not only enjoy dancing it, but I enjoy all of its elements, from the characters that exist in this particular version to the quick speeds of the choreography. I think of all the Nutcrackers that I have participated in and seen, this one has the most dancing for both the men and women. It uses the whole company. Everyone's roles color the ballet to make a stunning picture. It is also very special to me because when I first came to the Joffrey as an apprentice, I got to see amazing artistry and dancing demonstrated through this ballet, it was so inspiring.

What’s your favorite role in The Nutcracker?

I have to say, I always love dancing Fritz/Snow Prince because I was a wild little kid, but the role that sticks out the most to me as really fun is playing one of the head butlers in the party scene. You are completely responsible for making the party scene work logistically as well as developing a character. I have fun, interchanging, personalities with this character. Some nights I’m very fussy and annoyed with all the guests and their demands and other nights the other butler and I pretend to encourage Fritz and his naughty behavior. I like the hustle of it, especially if I go into snow or battle after.

Do you have any funny stories/favorite memories of performing The Nutcracker?

Yes...During my very first week of shows I was put into the role of The Butler. The Butler is part of the magic when revealing the Nutcracker doll. I can't give away how it happens, but I can say that it’s a prop I am responsible for and I couldn't find it because it was not pre-set. I thought I was going to have a heart attack! Luckily, the Drosselmeyer that was on that night knew exactly where it was and ran to get it. Company members were making me freak out even more on stage by saying "'oooooooooooo, you are so fired"... I really thought I was.

What do you do for the holidays?

In the past years, we usually dance Christmas Eve and then have the next day off for Christmas. I love Christmas so it’s hard to be away from my big Italian family. This time of the year always reminds me of the fun that my brothers and I have had throughout our childhood years. However, the dancers usually get together on Christmas day at someone's house for a big feast. A few years in a row Joffrey dancer Valerie Robin has held it at her and her husband’s house. She is an incredible cook. We all play games, eat and relax together. It’s sort of like family away from family.

Why should our readers come to see The Nutcracker?

Joffrey's Nutcracker is truly the best. I can understand when people say "Oh, I've seen it already," but in all honesty each year it changes. There are a lot of new dancers dancing fantastic new roles. The company has a youthful vibrant look to it that will be refreshing for all to see. I feel that it’s important to come every year because you will always see something new. Especially with the Chicago Sinfonietta's wonderful live music.

Is touring Nutcracker any different than performing it in the city?

Sometimes. The stages are all different sizes and shapes. Sometimes the set is too big or too small for the stage. The children's cast changes in each city also.

What is your earliest memory of The Nutcracker?

Probably seeing the New York City Ballet's version live for the first time. I remember thinking it was so cool that it was actually snowing on stage (at the time I wasn't dancing so I thought it was real)!

As a dancer, what is most challenging about performing The Nutcracker?

Nutcracker is challenging for the whole company. I still struggle getting the technicalities of the steps as well as getting the musicality down correctly. The snow scene, choreographed by Gerald Arpino, is very fast with a lot of petite allegro jumps, and yet you still have to hold your spacing and do the port de bras in the Arpino style (it’s a little more angular and sharper than classical ballet port de bras). I have been dancing it for many years but it is still something I have to work at to keep clean. I also think staying in good physical health is one of the biggest concerns. We do a lot of shows and alternate a lot of parts so you have to stay in top shape. I make sure to take class (keeps my stamina up and my technique building) and go to physical therapy (they give us exercises to build strength and stay uninjured).

For all the behind-the-scenes magic, be sure to follow the Joffrey on our official blog at http://jpointe.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Jr. Board Devil's Ball Photos!

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The Devil’s Ball: A Night in Old Chicago was the inaugural gala event hosted by the Auditorium Theatre’s Junior Board, commemorating old Chicago in all its excess and splendor. On 11/11/11, guests enjoyed a silent auction, food, libations and music in the elegant lobby of the National Historic Landmark, Auditorium Theatre, as well as the opportunity to take historic and backstage tours of the theatre. As you can tell from our event photos below, we had a wonderful evening celebrating a time toward the end of the nineteenth century when Chicago, as well as the Auditorium, was coming into its own on the world stage while proudly embracing its industrial clout and evolving cultural prominence.

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