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Synopsis

When Robert Joffrey, the son of a Muslim Afghani, founded the Joffrey Ballet in 1956 with Gerald Arpino, he exploded the boundaries of classical ballet.

The company made ballets about beatniks, erotic multimedia goddesses, sea nymphs, clowns, slackers, radicals and jocks, thrilling audiences as much as it often outraged critics. The Joffrey Ballet, acclaimed as a groundbreaking book when it was published, tells a story that was kept largely hidden from public view for many years. It also provides a provocative look through the rear view mirror at thirty years of social upheaval in America. The Joffrey Ballet began in mid-century ebullience, a troupe of six dancers driving cross-country in a station wagon; in the ensuing years they performed behind the Iron Curtain, made the cover of Time magazine, became hippies and ascetics, and lost colleagues to the Vietnam War and AIDS. Dance critic Sasha Anawalt, director of Annenberg Arts Journalism Programs at USC weaves a meticulously researched cultural biography that the New York Times called “A milestone in dance writing.” The 2011 film "Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance" continues the story through rare footage and is available on DVD through Hybrid Cinema

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