Joffrey and Cal State L.A.--Both to Benefit?

Times Dance Writer

“It’s been a godsend and a windfall,” Gerald Arpino, artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet, said of the new relationship between his company and Cal State University, Los Angeles, formally announced Monday.

Besides providing the Joffrey with studio space and living quarters for six-week residency periods each year, the agreement calls for Cal State L.A. to supply year-round office space for the dance company’s artistic, production and administrative staff.

The university also plans to construct in 1992 a $21-million arts complex in which the Joffrey Ballet could appear in addition to its seasons at the Music Center.

“The residency is going to give us the luxury of time,” Arpino said after a news conference on the campus, “time to create, to coach, to enhance the community with seminars, master classes and outreach programs. It’s going to strengthen and enhance our position in Los Angeles.”


The arrangement begins this winter with auditions on the university campus for the local premiere of Robert Joffrey’s production of “The Nutcracker,” scheduled to open at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Dec. 23.

Beginning next summer, the Joffrey will be on campus for a six-week rehearsal period each year--and Arpino is especially excited about the stability that this period of work will give to his bicoastal, nomadic organization.

The new relationship came about, Arpino said, through discussions in the last few years with Chancellor W. Ann Reynolds of the California State University system. “She eventually asked me if I had a wish list,” he said, “and I spoke about a place where we could do all the things that there isn’t the opportunity to do at the Music Center (because of scheduling problems and lack of studio space).” Like most visiting companies, the Joffrey has been obliged to shop for whatever space it can find for classes and rehearsals.

One of the most tantalizing prospects for Arpino in the relationship: “supporting the growth of new professional artists. There may be a new Mark Morris among the (Cal State student) group. Who knows?”