• For Immediate Release:

    Hybrid Cinema Announces New Documentary
Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance

    Chronicling the History of the Groundbreaking Joffrey Ballet

    Set to Premiere in New York City
    January 2012

    Followed by a Theatrical Tour in Select Cities

    LOS ANGELES, CA – October 18, 2011 – Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance, the first film to chronicle the legendary Joffrey Ballet, is set to premiere in New York City in January 2012 at the Dance On Camera Festival (see that press release here). The feature length documentary takes a look at this groundbreaking cultural treasure, known as the first truly American dance company. Narrated by Tony® and Emmy® Award winner Mandy Patinkin and directed by Bob Hercules (Bill T. Jones: A Good Man), the film documents how the Joffrey revolutionized American ballet by daringly combining modern dance with traditional ballet, and setting it to pop and rock music scores. Following the North American premiere in late January, the film will embark on a theatrical tour to select cities in the U.S. Released through Hybrid Cinema, the documentary is expected to have a DVD release in the first quarter of 2012 as well. For more information, please visit www.joffreymovie.com.

    Joffrey Ballet founders Robert Joffrey & Gerald Arpino, early 1960's. Photo credit: unknown

    Co-founded in 1956 by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey and dancer Gerald Arpino, who would become their principal choreographer, The Joffrey Ballet began as a DIY dance company of six dancers touring the United States in a borrowed station wagon. What started as a childhood dream quickly grew into one of the world’s most exciting and prominent ballet companies. Together, Joffrey and Arpino transformed the face of dance by merging classical ballet technique with bold new perspectives for edgy new ballets that challenged conventions. Aggressive touring took the Company from school auditoriums across America’s Heartland, to the White House at Jacqueline Kennedy’s invitation, on to Russia for a month-long tour during the height of the Cold War, and beyond.  They also garnered extensive media attention for their daring originality, which included appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, the cover of Time magazine, and in major motion pictures such as Save the Last Dance and Robert Altman’s The Company (which is based on the Joffrey).

    Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance weaves a wealth of rare archival footage and photographs along with interviews featuring former and current Joffrey star dancers, showing the full history of the Company from its founding in 1956 to the present. It describes how the Joffrey repeatedly resurrected itself after devastating financial and artistic setbacks and introduced cutting-edge choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Laura Dean and Margo Sappington to larger audiences.

    The film features rare excerpts from many seminal Joffrey works including Astarte, Trinity and Billboards, as well as breakthrough collaborations with choreographers Twyla Tharp (Deuce Coupe), Kurt Jooss (The Green Table) and Leonide Massine (Parade).

 Featuring: Kevin McKenzie, Helgi Tomasson, Lar Lubovitch, Ashley C. Wheater, Gary Chryst, Trinette Singleton, Anna Kisselgoff, Adam Sklute, Christian Holder, Dermot Burke, Paul Sutherland, Francoise Martinet, Brunilda Ruiz, Jonathan WattsDiane Consoer, Sasha Anawalt, and Hedy Weiss.

    Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance:
    A Lakeview Films Production in association with Ocean Films
    A Film by Bob Hercules
    Executive Producers: Jay Alix & Harold Ramis
    Producers: Una Jackman & Erica Mann Ramis
    Writer/Director: Bob Hercules
    Narrator: Mandy Patinkin
    Directors of Photography: Michael Swanson & Keith Walker
    Original Music Composition: Mark Bandy
    Editing: Melissa Sterne
    Run Time: 87m10s

    Gerald Arpino rehearsal shot from the 1980s. Photo courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

    About Director Bob Hercules –
    Bob Hercules is an award-winning veteran producer/director (Forgiving Dr. Mengele, Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, Senator Obama Goes to Africa).  The co-founder of Media Process Group, his work has been seen widely on PBS, The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and the Independent Film Channel (IFC). He has also directed commercials for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Alzheimer’s Association, McDonald’s Corporation, Gap Clothing Stores and the Obama For President Campaign.  His documentary, A Good Man, co-directed by Gordon Quinn, chronicles the intense creative journey of Bill T. Jones – a 2010 Kennedy Center Honors recipient and two-time Tony® Award winner for Best Choreography.  It premieres November 11, 2011 on PBS’ celebrated series American Masters.

About Narrator Mandy Patinkin –
    Mandy Patinkin is an American actor of the Broadway stage, network television, and film. His credits include starring roles in musical theater presentations of Sunday in the Park with George, The Secret Garden, The Wild Party, Evita and Mamaloshen; television shows Chicago Hope, The Larry Sanders Show, Dead Like Me, and Criminal Minds; and the unforgettable Inigo Montoya in the 1987 comedy classic film The Princess Bride. Patinkin will be headlining on Broadway in November with Patti LuPone in An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin and is currently starring in the new Showtime series Homeland with Claire Danes.

About the Producers –
    The film was born through the friendship of legendary multi-hyphenate actor-producer-director-writer Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Analyze This and SCTV) and first time producer Jay Alix.  Fans of the Joffrey, they both saw the need to interview Gerald Arpino before he passed. When they discovered that no documentary had ever been made of this legendary company, they decided now was the time.

    Harold Ramis, Executive Producer –
    Harold Ramis is a screenwriter, director and actor whose films include some of the most popular and influential comedies of our time – Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ghostbusters, Back to School, Groundhog Day, Multiplicity, Analyze This, Bedazzled, Analyze That, The Ice Harvest and Year One. Among his numerous professional honors and awards, Ramis is the recipient of the American Comedy Award, the British Comedy Award, the BAFTA (British Academy) award for screenwriting (Groundhog Day), and the Just for Laughs Lifetime Achievement Award.  Four of his films were listed among the American Film Institute’s “100 Funniest Movies” and Groundhog Day was recently chosen one of the “101 Greatest Screenplays” by the Writers Guild of America. Harold Ramis has also directed several episodes of NBC’s acclaimed series The Office.

    Jay Alix, Executive Producer –
    Jay Alix is new to the documentary film world.  Having completed many private and corporate documentary projects, this film is his production debut for public distribution.  On the road to getting here, he was the founder, past chairman and president of AlixPartners, an internationally recognized firm of corporate turnaround, restructuring, performance improvement, and financial advisory professionals. He was also co-founder, chairman and past president of Questor Partners, a $1.2 billion investment fund focused on investing in turnarounds, underperforming and distressed companies, as well as special situations.

    Una Jackman, Producer –

    Una Jackman founded the Detroit Friends of the Joffrey Ballet in 2000, an organization that brought the Joffrey to perform at The Detroit Opera House for the past ten years and continues to have a presence in Detroit each year. Jackman was first introduced to Gerald Arpino and The Joffrey Ballet in 1980. While serving as a board member of Dance with Altitude in Telluride from 1995 to 2000, where the Joffrey enjoyed a summer residency for five years, she developed a close friendship with Arpino and the two conceived of the Detroit Friends organization. The making of this documentary, particularly doing the final interviews with him, is her way of paying tribute to Arpino’s life’s work and to the Company he co-founded.


Erica Mann Ramis, Producer –
    Erica Mann Ramis is a poet and writer who has spent most of her life in and around the film industry. Her connection with the Joffrey began fifteen years ago when she met  Arpino. Ramis’ lifetime love of ballet and modern dance came to fruition when she and husband, filmmaker Harold Ramis, connected with Jay Alix and Una Jackman, and they resolved to document Arpino’s life and the history of The Joffrey Ballet.

The Joffrey Ballet Mission –
    The Joffrey is a world-class, Chicago-based ballet company and dance education organization committed to artistic excellence and innovation, presenting a unique repertoire encompassing masterpieces of the past and cutting-edge works. The Joffrey is committed to providing arts education and accessible dance training through its Joffrey Academy of Dance and Community Engagement programs.

About The Joffrey Ballet –
    For more than a half-century, The Joffrey Ballet’s commitment to taking world-class, artistically vibrant work to a broad and varied audience has created a solid foundation that continues to support the Company’s unprecedented capacity for achieving important “firsts.” Today, the Joffrey, which has been hugely successful in its former residences in New York and Los Angeles, lives permanently in a brilliant new facility, Joffrey Tower, in the heart of America, Chicago, Illinois. The Company’s commitment to accessibility is met through the most extensive touring schedule of any dance company in history, an innovative and highly effective education program including the much lauded Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, and collaborations with myriad other visual and performing arts organizations.

    Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its Company, audiences and repertoire, which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works. Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under internationally renowned Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater and Executive Director Christopher Clinton Conway. The Joffrey Ballet has become one of the most revered and recognizable arts organizations in America and one of the top dance companies in the world. To learn more, please visit http://joffrey.org.

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    For more information, or to request screeners, images, and interviews, please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Tejada (née Hasty) at 213-840-1201 or lynn@greengalactic.com.

    Joffrey Ballet founders Robert Joffrey & Gerald Arpino. Photo courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

    Posted on October 18th, 2011 lynn-hasty No comments

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