Joffrey Luncheon Launches Giselle






Over 300 of Chicago’s most notable women gathered recently to celebrate Giselle, surely the most romantic ballet of all time and the Joffrey’s 2017-18 season opener.


Joffrey ballerinas.

Following a view-filled reception on the outdoor terrace of the Loews Hotel and luncheon in the hotel’s Sullivan Ballroom, guests heard from the ballerinas dancing the tragic role of Giselle, and from the Joffrey’s Artistic Director, Ashley Wheater, celebrating his tenth anniversary with the company.


Christine Rocas, Amanda Assucena, Lola de Avila, and Ashley Wheater.

Lola de Avila, Giselle Ballet Master and Stager; Christine Rocas and Amanda Assucena, the two Giselles this season; and Wheater all explored the ballet’s tragic story, which the Joffrey calls “a sweeping tale of passion beyond the grave.”


Jamie-Clare Flaherty and Melissa Trandel.

Women’s Board members Jamie-Clare Flaherty and Melissa Trandel chaired the annual opening luncheon honoring the treasured ballet company. Fashion illustrator Kristine Steiner drew live sketches for guests to take home in addition to bag pull raffle items sponsored by J. McLaughlin.


J. McLaughlin scarves.

If the tales of Giselle’s ghostly army of haunted ballerinas known as the Willis got to be slightly scary, Chill Meditation and Massage provided guests with a meditation session.

The Nutcracker, Modern Masters, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream will complete the season.


Brandis Friedman, Jennifer Smith Tapp, and Lauren Streicher.


Amelia Silva and Liz Sharp.


Darcy Goldfarb, Lauren Tatar, Marina Tatar, and Greg Cameron.


Jose Pablo and Ashley Wheater.


Christine Rocas, Patti Eylar, and Amanda Assucena.


Diana Bitting, Cristy Sagalowsky, and Brooke Hubbuch.


Katie Freiburger, Ellie Forman, Heather Martin, Donna Brunso, Mary James, and Maggie Scheyer.


Leslie Prizant Goodman, Jill Dodds, and Bal Nandra.


Jose Pablo and Chrstine Duboulay Ellis.


Emily Strobel Amiet, Katie Hernandez, and Carolyn Blessing.


Gosha Podlasek, Karen McEniry, Katie Smith, Mary Kay Mudd-Bushonville, and Neelie Frtiz.


Patricia Miller and Stephanie Konicki.


Shelley Farley, Greg Cameron, Maria Smithburg, and Jerrilyn Hoffmann.


Susan Canmann and Katie Freiburger.


Lola de Avila, Marina Tatar, and Ashley Wheater.


Ellie Forman, Melissa Trandel, Greg Cameron, Jamie-Clare Flaherty, and Kathleen Kenehan.

For more information about Giselle and the Joffrey schedule, visit


Photo credit: Steve Becker