Joffrey Ballet exceeds match for Nureyev Foundation endowment grant

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Impressive news from the Joffrey Ballet: The company has raised more than the required $1 million needed to meet the challenge grant of $500,000 it received from the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation in the Fall of 2013.

As a result, the Joffrey, led by artistic director Ashley Wheater and executive director Greg Cameron, will now have its first ever endowment – a fund topping $1.5 million and earmarked for the creation, production and presentation of full-length ballets.

The newly-established endowment will help fund the North American premiere of “Sylvia” (Oct. 14-25 at the Auditorium Theatre), by the internationally-acclaimed, Milwaukee-born choreographer John Neumeier, artistic director of Germany’s Hamburg Ballet. It also will help underwrite the 2016 world premiere commission of a new production of “The Nutcracker” by Christopher Wheeldon (winner of the 2015 Tony Award for choreography for his work on the new hit Broadway musical, “An American in Paris”).

In a prepared statement, Barry L. Weinstein, board president of the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation, said: “This challenge grant represents one of the largest grants awarded to a single cultural institution in the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation’s history. The Joffrey Ballet has become one of the formidable companies in America, and on behalf of the Foundation’s board of directors, we are extremely pleased to make this grant and assist the company with its continued commitment to telling stories through the art of ballet.”

Founded in 1992 and based in Chicago, the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation has contributed over $6,000,000 in grants to benefit dance in the United States in memory of Rudolf Nureyev. The Joffrey Ballet has, in the past, received funding from the Foundation for a revival of Nijinsky’s “L’Apres Midi d’un Faune” in honor of Rudolf Nureyev (1997), for “An Evening of Nureyev” (2004), and for programming surrounding the company’s two-year 50th anniversary celebration (2005-2006).

“Story ballets serve as a great entry point for new audiences to discover dance, and for dancers to discover their art, and story ballets have always been an integral part of the Company’s repertoire,” said Wheater. “With this endowment, the Joffrey can continue to produce and present full length works of the highest caliber, from the world’s most exciting choreographic talent.

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