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JOFFREY BALLET HISTORY

Compiled by Deborah Sakamoto

1956: The Joffrey Ballet is born as six dancers embark on a tour of 23 one-night performances.

1963: The Joffrey dances for the first time at the White House, in the presence of President Kennedy and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.

1964: After a U.S. tour, the company is disbanded in March, after disagreements on policy with the Rebekah Harkness Foundation, which controls most of the dancer’s contracts and the recent repertoire.

1965: A new company is formed, assisted by a Ford Foundation grant, making its debut at Jacob’s Pillow in August and dancing in New York for the first time at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

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The company goes on its first State Department tour of the Near East.

1966: Joffrey Ballet becomes the resident company at New York City Center.

1967: Joffrey Ballet makes the cover of Time magazine.

1970: Joffrey II Company is formed, an apprentice group directed by Jonathon Watts and Sally Brayley Bliss, to develop young dancers.

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1974: The company makes its second State Department tour, visiting the Soviet Union and introducing rock. Arpino’s “Trinity” has 42 curtain calls closing night in Moscow.

1976: Joffrey inaugurates public TV’s new “Dance in America” series.

1979: President Carter invites the Joffrey to perform at a gala at Kennedy Center in honor of Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiao Ping.

1980: The company has its first gala at the Metropolitan Opera House; The Joffrey dances while singers Lena Horne and Judith Blegen appear as guests, and Gene Kelly emcees.

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1981: President and Mrs. Reagan attend the second Metropolitan Opera House gala; the company celebrates its 25 anniversary.

1982: Joffrey receives a major grant from Philip Morris Inc. for a national tour.

On June 28, the Joffrey Ballet is invited to become the first resident dance company at the Music Center of Los Angeles County.

1983: The Joffrey has a triumphant inaugural season as the resident dance company at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center in Los Angeles. Fall season opens with another first: Joffrey and the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform together.

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1986: The Joffrey Ballet celebrates three anniversaries: the 30th year of its founding in 1956 by Robert Joffrey, the 25th anniversary of Gerald Arpino, associate director, as a choreographer, and the 20th anniversary of the company in residence at New York’s City Center.

1987: The Joffrey Ballet opens its first engagement at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa.

1988: On March 25, Robert Joffrey dies in New York City at 57. Arpino is named artistic director.

May 1, 1990: Gerald Arpino submits his resignation as artistic director in a company power struggle and, a day later, prohibits the performance of his ballets and those belonging to the estate of Robert Joffrey.

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