National broadcast Dec 28, 2012 at 9pmET, PBS American Masters" —
For anyone interested in contemporary dance and the vagaries of having an arts organization since the Seventies, Bob Hercules’ doc is a must see" — Point of View Magazine Toronto
Whether a dance fan or not, this film will definitely convince you to part with your hard earned money for a chance to watch the dancers in performance" — CinemaEye Toronto
Now available on iTunes and Amazon" —
Sheds perspective on today’s dance world through the lens of Joffrey’s pioneering vision. A film not to be missed" — Seattle Dances
“Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance” is an exhilarating piece of dance history" — Seattle Times
It’s a story about American ballet, but also a story about daring people who gleefully threw themselves into the whirlwinds of controversy." — The Stranger (Seattle)
Scintillating with edgy, raw, passionate energy…The film reveals a legacy of gutsy change and innovation." — NOVU Newsweekly Indianapolis
A story that needs to be told" — Slant Magazine
An important piece of not only the company’s history, but also of dance history…the heritage of dance deserves it." — New York Times
A bountiful feast for true dance lovers, as well as a thrillingly human story of artistic endeavor for everyone to savor." — David Noh,Film Journal International
A deeply archived and circumspect history of the Joffrey dance company…a perfect white swan …(with) marvelous footage of the early ballets" — Village Voice
A long-overdue tribute to Robert Joffrey and his vibrant company, the Joffrey Ballet." — The New Yorker
All the angst and elation is brilliantly captured in the film through the people who were there at the time." — Berkshire on Stage
Entertaining and enlightening and sure to please lovers of dance" — Detroit News
Ballet fans will want to get their hands on a copy of Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance, a thrilling new documentary." — Huffington Post
A compelling tale well told, blessed with emotionally generous characters and infused with joy, suspense, tragedy and redemption." — Speaking of Dance
The story of the Joffrey Ballet – a thrilling, touching and turbulent account – must be seen." — Stage and Cinema
For dance fans, this is a movie well-worth watching" — Examiner.com
A marvelous celebration of dance" — GoPride.com
Hosannas and hallelujahs for the new documentary on the Joffrey Ballet." — Dance Magazine
While we cover the major triumphs of the Joffrey Ballet in the film, we also explore the struggles and near collapses of the company through the years. For Robert Joffrey, an alliance with the Rebekah Harkness Foundation in 1962 seemed like a fortuitous turn of events and it was… for a brief time.
Robert Joffrey met millionairess Rebekah Harkness Kean through a mutual connection. She had just withdrawn support of Jerome Robbins’ company Ballet:USA because she wanted greater control over artistic decisions and he did not want to grant that to her. Trained as a classical music composer, she had an interest in working with ballet, indeed her music had been used for ballets by the International Ballet of the Marquis de Cuevas and the American Festival Ballet. She even studied the art through private lessons. She established the Rebekah Harkness Foundation expressly for the purpose of fostering emerging choreographers and saw the perfect new recipient of her patronage in the Robert Joffrey Ballet.
She supplied the company with a summer residence at her Rhode Island estate, Watch Hill, using an old reconditioned fire house. That summer, Joffrey brought in many modern dance choreographers to work with his company for the first time. Alvin Ailey, Donald Saddler, Brian McDonald all came and set what would become masterpiece works on the company.
Works such as Ailey’s Feast of Ashes, Saddler’s Dreams of Glory, Arpino’s Incubus, Joffrey’s Gamelan and McDonald’s Time Out of Mind were all conceived and rehearsed during this summer of intense productivity without worry of financial burdens. Harkness paid all expenses for accommodation and a small wage to the dancers. Joffrey would say that she gave them the luxury of time; to create, polish, and perfect their work which every artist dreams of but rarely receives such an opportunity. The relationships were all very amicable that summer.
In the fall, many works from the summer were performed in a workshop showing for special invited guests and critics at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. On the strength of this new repertoire, the Robert Joffrey Ballet was invited by the American National Theater and Academy (ANTA, a non profit founded in 1935) to tour Europe, The Middle East, and Central Asian cities. The tour was sponsored by the US State Department and the Rebekah Harkness Foundation and included Portugal, Lebanon, Jordan, Afghanistan and India.
It was on this tour that the relationship with Rebekah Harkness began to unravel.
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