Joffrey’s “Eclectica” a Delightful Trio

The Joffrey Ballet’s spring program “Eclectica,” delights the eye like a bouquet of fresh flowers.

The unifying theme is lyricism, with each number capitalizing on the strength and grace of Joffrey dancers. The evening opens with “Reflections”, a timeless and sparkling piece by the late Gerald Arpino, who co-founded the company with Robert Joffrey in 1956.

It is set to Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo Variations” performed live by cello and piano. With eight movements, one theme and seven variations¸ it is an ideal place for invention and novelty. It opens with seven females twirling, scampering and leaping, all the while beaming and smiling as if they are skipping through Millennium Park.

The hit of the spring program is the world premiere of “Crossed” by young choreographer Jessica Lang. Set to recorded liturgical music by Mozart, Handel and Josquin Desprez, the ballet is full of fun and fast in pace, often quite at odds with the Latin words. During Mozart’s “Veni, Sancte Spiritus” there is plenty of spiritus, though not much evidence of anything sancte. In fact, there is at times the feeling of a vigorous folk dance.

The third work of the night is another world premiere, “Pretty BALLET,” by James Kudelka, who choreographed pieces for the Joffrey decades ago. It is in this number that the company’s men, so many very tall this season, dazzle and amaze us with their strength. The music, recorded, is by Bohuslav Martin and ideally suited to the grand circular leaps and acrobatic feats Kudelka created for them.

The company is presenting an altogether satisfying program of three lyrical, yet individual, ballets. Hurry! The Joffrey is in residence at the Auditorium through May 9. For tickets, visit joffrey.org or call (3120 386-8905.