If you haven’t recently visited the Loop after dark, you haven’t seen the theatre district’s glowing new addition: an electric blue Joffrey Ballet sign that stands 53 feet tall. It signals the new home of the city’s premier ballet company, which, since a return to Chicago in 1995, has been hidden in plain sight, with dancers rehearsing in obscure rented space and popping up for performances here and again. No longer. MoMo, the ode to modernism at 10 East Randolph Street by the architect Laurence Booth, gives the Joffrey something it hasn’t had before: a commanding downtown presence. Seven glass walled studios offer passersby daily glimpses of the lithe dancers as they go about their rehearsals; those who’d like to peek inside can attend a public walk-through on September 13th from 2 to 4 p.m. Other opening weekend events include a Joffrey performance September 11th in Millennium Park and a cocktails-and-couture event with Maria Pinto on September 15th. It all leads up to a fall season (October 15th-26th at the Auditorium Theatre) that is itself commanding: Under the guidance of its artistic director, Ashley Wheater, the company will introduce three new dancers and a commission by the New York up-and-comer Edwaard Liang.
Photograph: Nathan Kirkman; Dancers: April Daly, Johnathan Dummar, and Allison Walsh, Courtesy of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago