The Joffrey Ballet has announced the world premiere of Rita Finds Home, a family-friendly program and collaborative project between the Joffrey and Miami City Ballet, which will make its debut at the Navy Pier Lake Stage this July.
Rita Finds Home, a roughly 45-minute production, centers on Rita, a young artist who paints and dreams of one day living in the big city despite the lush tropical island in which she now resides. When a hurricane thrusts Rita and her mother into a new life in an urban metropolis, she struggles to adapt to her new environment. Feeling lost and like everything she knew, including her talents, were washed away by the storm, Rita embarks on a journey that helps her re-define what home means to her. With help from her new friends and her family, Rita’s spirits lift as she explores the beauty of her new city, igniting a new sense of home, and the realization that her talents never left her.
Rita Finds Home is conceived by a nationally recognized creative team that includes choreographer Amy Hall Garner (featured choreographer of the Joffrey’s Winning Works Choreographic Competition in 2011); Karla Estela Rivera, Chicago-based author and Free Street Theater executive director; and award-winning children’s book illustrator Elisa Chavarri. Using personal experience as inspiration for their process, the team has given audiences a story that is emotive, relatable, touching, and powerful. Written with young viewers in mind, but certainly suitable for all ages, the piece conveys universal themes about community, belonging, and resilience.
Joffrey Ballet presents Rita Finds Home on Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the Navy Pier Lake Stage (Polk Bros Park, 600 E. Grand Avenue). Advance registration is not required. All performances of Rita Finds Home will be free of charge to ensure accessibility to anyone who wishes to attend, and will be danced by the Joffrey Studio Company and Academy Trainees of the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet. Additional free presentations will take place in Chicago throughout the summer and will be announced at a later date on Joffrey Ballet’s website, joffrey.org.