The Joffrey Ballet has announced that it has not only met, but exceeded, a $500,000 challenge grant made by the prestigious Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation in the fall of 2013.  The Joffrey Ballet was responsible for raising an additional $1 million towards the newly-established Rudolf Nureyev Fund at The Joffrey Ballet in order to receive the grant.  The Rudolf Nureyev Fund at The Joffrey Ballet is the company’s first-ever endowment, and is dedicated towards the creation, production and performance of full-length story ballets, such as the North American Premiere of John Neumeier’s Sylvia this fall, and the world premiere commission of a new production of The Nutcracker by Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon in 2016.  

“This challenge grant represents one of the largest grants awarded to a single cultural institution in the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation’s history,” noted Barry L. Weinstein, Board President of the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation. “The Joffrey Ballet has become one of the formidable companies in America and on behalf of the foundation’s Board of Directors, we are extremely pleased to make this grant and assist the company with its continued commitment to telling stories through the art of ballet.”

Founded in 1992 and based in Chicago, the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation has contributed over $6,000,000 in grants to benefit dance in the United States in memory of Rudolf Nureyev. The Joffrey Ballet has, in the past, received funding from the foundation for a revival of Nijinsky's L'Apres Midi D'Un Faune in honor of Rudolf Nureyev (1997), for An Evening of Nureyev (2004), and for programming surrounding the company’s two-year 50th Anniversary celebration (2005-2006)."

We are so appreciative of the individuals and foundations that recognized the importance of investing in this effort,” said Zachary Lazar, Joffrey Ballet Board Chairman.  “Gifts like these are essential to the Joffrey’s continued presence in Chicago.”

“Story ballets serve as a great entry point for new audiences to discover dance and for dancers to discover their art, and story ballets have always been an integral part of the company’s repertoire.  With this endowment, The Joffrey can continue to produce and present full length works of the highest caliber, from the world’s most exciting choreographic talent,” added Ashley Wheater.  

The Joffrey Ballet will present its next full-length story ballet, the North American Premiere of Sylvia by internationally-acclaimed, Milwaukee-born choreographer John Neumeier, October 14-25, 2015.  Set to music by Léo Delibes, among the themes of this magnificent female-powered ballet are deception, unrequited love and obsession.  Neumeier returns to the U.S. for this homecoming, having honed his vision to international acclaim in Europe, leading the Hamburg Ballet as director and chief choreographer since 1973. Sylvia is presented in 10 performances only at the Joffrey’s home venue, the historic Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, in downtown Chicago at 50 East Congress Parkway.

For more information about the Joffrey Ballet’s upcoming season, visit

Joffrey Ballet Exceeds Nureyev Dance Foundation's $500K Challenge Grant Establishing the Company's First Endowment 

Joffrey Ballet's April Daly and Dylan Gutierrez in Liturgy (photo by Cheryl Mann).