Gerald Arpino

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Gerald Arpino
File:Gerald Arpino Portrait 1981.jpg
Arpino in 1981
Born Genarro Peter Arpino
January 14, 1923
Staten Island, New York
Died October 29, 2008(2008-10-29) (aged 85)
Chicago, IL
Nationality American
Occupation Choreographer, dancer, director
Years active 1950-2007
Website The Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey Foundation
Current group Joffrey Ballet

Gerald Arpino (January 14, 1923 – October 29, 2008) was an American dancer and choreographer. He was co-founder of the The Joffrey Ballet and succeeded Robert Joffrey as its artistic director in 1988.[1]

Life and career

Born on Staten Island, New York, Gerald Arpino studied ballet with Mary Ann Wells, while stationed with the Coast Guard in Seattle, Washington. Arpino first met Robert Joffrey at Wells's school. He studied modern dance with May O'Donnell in whose company he appeared in the 1950s.[2]

In 1956, Arpino was a founding member of the Robert Joffrey Theatre Ballet with Robert Joffrey. He served as co-director of the company's school, the American Ballet Center, and was the leading dancer until an injury forced him to stop in 1963.[3] By 1965 he had choreographed five works for the company, and became the Joffrey's co-director and resident choreographer. In the first twenty-five years of the company's existence, Arpino had created more than a third of all its commissioned ballets.[4][5]

After the death of Robert Joffrey in 1988, Arpino became the Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet and in 1995 moved the company to Chicago. In July 2007, he was named "Artistic Director Emeritus" as a search for a successor began. Arpino suffered from prostate cancer for seven months and eventually died on October 29, 2008.

Malcolm McDowell plays a character loosely based on Arpino in the Robert Altman film The Company, which had the participation of the Joffrey Ballet.

In 2014 Arpino was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.[6]

Choreography for The Joffrey Ballet


  • Chujoy, Anatole. The Dance Encyclopedia. (Simon and Schuster, 1967) ISBN 0-671-24027-7
  • Doeser, Linda. Ballet and Dance: The World's Major Companies, 1977. ISBN 0-312-06599-X
  • Whitney, Mary. Joffrey Ballet XXV: Celebrating 25 Years of the Joffrey Ballet from A to Z (Steelograph Co. Inc., 1981). 64 pages.
  • Anawalt, Sasha (1996). The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey and the Making of an American Dance Company. New York, NY: Scribner. ISBN 0-684-19724-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. Smith, Sid. "Gerald Arpino dies". Chicago Tribune.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Chujoy
  3. Meisner, Nadine (November 8, 2008). "Gerald Arpino: Choreographer who pleased audiences but angered the critics". The Independent. London. Retrieved 5 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Doeser
  5. Whitney

External links