Well Sunday was our final performance at the Joffrey Ballet for our 2010-2011 Season, but for some, it was their final performance with the Joffrey. It was a release for all of us because the run was finally over, a long season of performances and touring was coming to an end....and for me, I was just grateful to have made it to the finish line in one piece. But in fact, it was a day of great sadness because it was the very last performance for so many great Joffrey artists...Jonathan Dummar, Allison Walsh, Erin McAfee, Mona Meng, Brian Gephart, Tian Shuai, and Stacy Joy Keller. These wonderful people are leaving the family of the Joffrey and moving on to new wonderful things.....
It is very sad to see your friends, your coworkers, leaving the company. We share so much together, more than just time. Being around each other constantly, it's natural to grow ties similar to a family. A lot of them have decided to move on to other things, to something different, and for some they simply want to grow and change environments. But the reason truly doesn't matter.
I hope the public knows how much each and every one of us gives on that stage and to this form. For the audience, you see us at our best on stage when things are at their peak of beauty (and ready to be performed), but behind that moment on stage, there is very hard practice and effort to make your experience of the final performance flawless. There is so much to understand about trying very hard for something, and how rewarding it can be when it all comes to completion. I guess what I'm saying is that behind that reward is a lot of very hard, often grueling work.
And in addition to those dancers that are leaving us, the Joffrey is losing an incredibly influential person that has changed and shaped the Joffrey we know today...it is a very sad departure to lose our long time ballet mistress and former Joffrey ballet dancer (under the direction of founder Robert Joffrey), Charthel Arthur. Charthel has been an incredible asset to the company as the years have gone by, always teaching and carrying the original vision of this company throughout the years as the company has changed and shifted dancers and directors. She was an important asset during the reconstruction of the Joffrey school, bringing the knowledge of the major important key factors regarding R Joffrey and G Arpino's artistry. Our current artistic director, Ashley Wheater, gave a wonderful speech for her at the beginning of the show with pictures and videos, and had her come on stage for a final bow at the end of the show. It was an incredible performance honoring someone very important and with that came a lot of emotion.
We will miss you greatly Charthel....
Voila....this is it. And to conclude this wonderful season, I must bring attention to and thank a lot of fundamental supporters of our year. Thank you to the Chicago Tribune & Sid Smith, the Chicago Sun Times & Hedy Weiss, TimeOut Chicago & Zachary Whittenburg, all those dance bloggers out there, and of course, my fans. Love you all...