Joffrey Ballet extends COVID-19 cancellations into 2021

Chicago dance company calls off next year’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ and ‘Little Mermaid’ premieres.

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Joffrey Ballet dancers perform Justin Peck’s “Year of the Rabbit” in 2017.

Cheryl Mann

Already off stage through the end of the year, the Joffrey Ballet on Thursday extended its dark period into 2021 and said it doesn’t expect to resume live performances until next fall.

The Chicago dance company canceled all of the season’s remaining performances in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the casualties is February’s dual program featuring the world premiere of Cathy Marston’s “Of Mice and Men” and the Joffrey premiere of George Balanchine’s “Serenade.”

The Chicago premiere of John Neumeier’s “The Little Mermaid,” scheduled for April and May, also is off. This month’s planned production of Kenneth MacMillan’s “Manon” and the annual holiday run of Christopher Wheeldon’s “The Nutcracker” were axed in June.

“Pending the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Joffrey aims to return to the stage for its inaugural year performing at Lyric Opera House in the fall of 2021,” the company said in a statement.

To help fill the void, the company on Thursday announced two virtual initiatives: The Joffrey Studio Series, with interviews and behind-the-scenes content from the Joffrey Tower, with the artists of the Joffrey, and “25 for 25,” a yearlong series of free performances, programs, and partnerships with peer organizations from around the city, celebrating 25 years since the company arrived in Chicago in 1995.

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