Skip to main content

Arpino Centennial Celebration

By September 20, 2023No Comments

Arpino Centennial Celebration

September 22-23, 2023

Arpino Centennial Celebration

The dance world eagerly awaits the Arpino Centennial Celebration in Chicago this weekend. This will be a grand event presented by the Gerald Arpino Foundation to honor one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, Gerald Arpino. The event encapsulates lectures, masterclasses, and performances of Arpino ballets on several American dance companies. Verb, “Ohio Contemporary Ballet” is honored to have been selected by the foundation to mount his work, Celebration.

Verb, “Ohio Contemporary Ballet” is proud to open the festival on Saturday and share the company’s technical brilliance and virtuosity with the national dance community. We are the only other company to ever perform Celebration outside of the Joffrey Ballet. Ballet aficionados can expect to witness performances from renowned companies such as The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Eugene Ballet, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Each company will bring to life Arpino’s legendary choreography, showcasing works that have left an enduring impact on American ballet.


September 22-23, 2023

Chicago, IL


Gerald Arpino

Gerald Arpino (1923-2008) was the Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of The Joffrey Ballet, the company he co-founded with Robert Joffrey in 1956. Born on Staten Island, New York, he met Robert Joffrey while stationed in Seattle with the Coast Guard. He studied with Mary Ann Wells, at the School of American Ballet, danced with Graham dancers May O’Donnell and Gertrude Schurr, and was a principal dancer with the original Joffrey company.

As resident choreographer, Arpino created over one third of the commissioned repertory for the Joffrey Ballet, including Sea Shadow, Viva Vivaldi, Olympics, The Clowns, Trinity, Kettentanz, Suite Saint-Saens, and Light Rain. He also had wide experience in Broadway musicals, on television, in opera, and staged musicals for the country’s leading festivals. Arpino’s ballets have been performed at the White House on several occasions, as well as around the world, to critical acclaim as well as controversial appraisal. So varied was his output, that one critic commented, “He’s not a single artist. He must be an alliance.” As one of the recipients of the 1974 Dance Magazine Award, his citation read: “To Gerald Arpino – more than any other choreographer, he has recognized the spirit of the times. His work speaks clearly of the anguish and the joy of being young in America today.” Upon Robert Joffrey’s passing, Arpino directed the Joffrey Ballet from 1988 until 2008, continuing Joffrey’s vision for the company by restaging important dance historical works, such as Léonide Massine’s symphonic ballet Les Presages (1933), and Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella (1948), as well as taking risks with new commissions such as the rock ballet Billboards (1993) to music by Prince. In 1995, Arpino moved the Joffrey Ballet to Chicago, where he established the Joffrey as a world-class company in the heart of the American Midwest, which continues to thrive today

Latest Articles

Dance Classes

Community Open House

Community Open House Week June 3-8, 2024 Join us for the Ohio Contemporary Ballet Center…

Triple your donation

The first $10,000 received before our end-of-month fundraising deadline will be matched twice by two…

Cain Park

Kick off the summer season with an exhilarating, FREE performance at Cain Park. This performance…