The Joffrey Ballet Courts 'Millennials' To Kick Off Anniversary Season

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 15, 2015 6:16PM

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Myles Thatcher in rehearsal. Photo by Cheryl Mann.

The Joffrey Ballet kicks off their 60th anniversary season with a special one-weekend program titled Millennials. It highlights this influential generation with three emerging choreographers creating fresh new works for a younger audience.

The tagline says it all: “Athletic. Astonishing. Soaring.” This is an exciting time of transformation for the world of dance, and 20-somethings who might have once been put off by the word "ballet" are taking notice. It’s no longer stuffy, elitist art, it’s contemporary, groundbreaking work that proves that modern dancers are more than just tutus and pointe shoes.

“I think it’s a special time in the classical ballet realm, because it feels like we’re picking up momentum again,” says Myles Thatcher, dancer and choreographer with the San Francisco Ballet, whose piece Passengers will make it’s world premiere as part of Millennials. “We’re constantly re-discovering different ways to use the classical language,” he continues. “That’s kind of how art is, too. You have the building blocks and it’s up to you to process them and interpret them in a way that’s new and interesting.”

As with almost every new, young generation, Millennials can sometimes get a bad rap for being unmotivated—and while Thatcher is aware of this, he sees the positive aspects of growing up in such a connected world.

“I think we’re really hardworking, and from some of my peers, I think there’s a fearless quality about us, like an empowerment somehow, which I find interesting,” he said.

Thatcher's Passengers, is set in a noir era train station and explores relationships and the transitions they go through as travelers come and go. He’s been traveling quite a bit lately, and was inspired by his own fellow passengers.

“When you’re in a mass group of people traveling you get snippets of people’s cell phone conversations, dramas and history. I always kind of sit and wonder what it is like to be them and whether we have the same problems or completely different problems," he said. "It’s just so interesting to get a sense of complete strangers and be able to also step out of that afterwards.”

Millennials opens Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre and runs through the weekend. The bill also includes the World Premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Mammatus and the Chicago Premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Fool’s Paradise. Check The Joffrey Ballet’s website for showtimes.

Tickets range from $32 to $155, but since Millennials is geared toward a younger audience, they’ve set up a special ticket deal that's more affordable. Just enter the code TRYIT for access to $20 tickets.