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world premiere of joffrey ballets rita finds home 1

Jul. 6, 2022 | The free, diverse ballet for children of all ages teaches the meaning of resilience, cultural pride, overcoming trauma and self-discovery

Navy Pier Hosts World Premiere of Joffrey Ballet’s “Rita Finds Home” This Weekend

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CHICAGO—Navy Pier is honored to host the world premiere of Joffrey Ballet’s Rita Finds Home, on Saturday July 9 – Sunday, July 10 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Navy Pier Lake Stage, located in Polk Bros Park. The family-friendly ballet performance is free for all to attend.

“Rita Finds Home” is a 45-minute production centering around a young artist named Rita who dreams of one day living in the big city, despite the lush tropical island in which she lives. When a hurricane forces her and her mother into a new life in an urban metropolis, Rita struggles to adapt to her new environment and starts to have feelings of loss. She then embarks on a journey to redefine what home means to her. Written with young audiences in mind, but suitable for all ages, the piece conveys universal themes about community, belonging and resilience.

The story is accompanied by original watercolors, created by award-winning children’s book author Elisa Chavarri, that come to life in the performance and become an immersive set design. Props include dancing butterflies, palms trees and costume transformations into landmarks of Chicago, such as Buckingham Fountain, John Hancock Tower and Willis Tower.

“Rita Finds a Home” is conceived by a nationally recognized, women-led creative team including Amy Hall Garner, a featured choreographer of the Joffrey’s Winning Works Choreographic Competition in 2011 and Karla Estela Rivera, the Chicago-based author and Executive Director of Free Street Theater (West Town) and will be danced by the Joffrey Studio Company and Academy Trainees of the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet.

The above performances will take place outside, weather permitting. Any changes to the performance schedule can be found at

B-roll: “Rita Finds a Home” Media Kit 

Note: All artists and dates are subject to change. Please contact the Navy Pier PR team listed above to request permission to come onsite to film or set up interviews on this program.


Founded in 2010, the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, provides students of all ages, levels, and backgrounds with a world-class education, built on a foundation of classical ballet. Based in the heart of Chicago’s theater district, the 20,000 square foot Exelon Education Center at Joffrey Tower, home to the Academy, boasts four state-of-the-art studios and facilities. In 2021, The Joffrey Ballet acquired two more state-of-the-art studios in the South Loop of Chicago. The Joffrey Academy received the distinguished honor of being named four-time Outstanding School by the Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest international student ballet competition, and the Boeing Game Changer Award in recognition of its efforts to make dance accessible to everyone. The Joffrey Academy, located in Chicago, Illinois, is the only school that follows the organizational mission, training syllabi, and artistic vision of The Joffrey Ballet. No other program, including those holding the Joffrey name, is sanctioned by The Joffrey Ballet.


The Joffrey Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the world today, with a reputation for boundary-breaking performances for more than 60 years. The Joffrey repertoire is an extensive collection of all-time classics, modern masterpieces, and original works. Founded in 1956 by pioneers Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the Joffrey remains dedicated to artistic expression, innovation, and first-rate education and engagement programming. The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE and President and CEO Greg Cameron. The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its 2022–2023 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Florian Fund, Anne L. Kaplan, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, and Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi, Sage Foundation, and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music. The Joffrey also acknowledges Season Partners Chicago Athletic Clubs, and Athletico Physical Therapy, official provider of physical therapy for The Joffrey Ballet. For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

About Navy Pier

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

Since its reopening in 1995, more than 180 million guests have come to enjoy the Pier’s 50 acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. In 2022, Navy Pier continues to evolve into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures.


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