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American Masters: Joffrey: Mavericks Of American Dance

Uncover the story of the first quintessentially American dance company, the Joffrey Ballet. Founders Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino pioneered a new dance philosophy by daringly combining modern and traditional techniques and art with social statement, and integrating pop and rock music scores. Tracing the struggles and triumphs of the company from 1956 to the present, the film features interviews with former and current Joffrey dancers, the breakthroughs of choreographers Twyla Tharp, Laura Dean and Margo Sappington, and rare archival performance footage, including excerpts from signature works "Astarte," "Trinity" and "Billboards." Mandy Patinkin narrates.

Joffrey Ballet founders Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, early 1960s.

Joffrey Ballet founders Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, early 1960s.

Credit: Courtesy of WNET/PBS

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet’s “Deuce Coupe” (1973), choreographed by Twyla Tharp.

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet’s “Deuce Coupe” (1973), choreographed by Twyla Tharp.

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet’s revival of Vaslav Nijinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps” (“The Rite of Spring”)

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet’s revival of Vaslav Nijinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps” (“The Rite of Spring”)

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” production.

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” production.

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

 A still from “Waltz of the Snowflakes” in the Joffrey Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker."

A still from “Waltz of the Snowflakes” in the Joffrey Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker."

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

“Sometimes It Snows in April,” choreographed by Laura Dean, from the Joffrey Ballet’s ”Billboards” rock ballet set to the music of Prince.

“Sometimes It Snows in April,” choreographed by Laura Dean, from the Joffrey Ballet’s ”Billboards” rock ballet set to the music of Prince.

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

A scene from Robert Joffrey’s revival of legendary choreographer Kurt Jooss’ “The Green Table,” an anti-war ballet performed by the Joffrey Ballet.

A scene from Robert Joffrey’s revival of legendary choreographer Kurt Jooss’ “The Green Table,” an anti-war ballet performed by the Joffrey Ballet.

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

A stage still from the Joffrey Ballet’s “Trinity,” choreographed by Gerald Arpino.

A stage still from the Joffrey Ballet’s “Trinity,” choreographed by Gerald Arpino.

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

Joffrey Ballet's "Light Rain" choreographed by Gerald Arpino.

Joffrey Ballet's "Light Rain" choreographed by Gerald Arpino.

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet’s “Billboards,” a rock ballet and set to the music of Prince, created by Gerald Arpino.

A scene from the Joffrey Ballet’s “Billboards,” a rock ballet and set to the music of Prince, created by Gerald Arpino.

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

Trinette Singleton and Max Zamosa in the Joffrey Ballet’s “Astarte,” a psychedelic multimedia rock ballet, choreographed by Robert Joffrey.

Trinette Singleton and Max Zamosa in the Joffrey Ballet’s “Astarte,” a psychedelic multimedia rock ballet, choreographed by Robert Joffrey.

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

Gerald Arpino conducts a Joffrey Ballet rehearsal, circa 1980s.

Gerald Arpino conducts a Joffrey Ballet rehearsal, circa 1980s.

Credit: Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll

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