Gerald Arpino
Gerald Arpino Portrait 1981.jpg
Arpino in 1981
Genarro Peter Arpino

(1923-01-14)January 14, 1923
DiedOctober 29, 2008(2008-10-29) (aged 85)
Occupation(s)Choreographer, dancer, director
Years active1950–2007
PartnerRobert Joffrey
Former groupsJoffrey Ballet

Gerald Arpino (January 14, 1923 – October 29, 2008) was an American dancer and choreographer. He was co-founder of 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



  1. ^ Smith, Sid. "Gerald Arpino dies". Chicago Tribune.
  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.
  4. ^ Doeser
  5. ^ Whitney
  6. ^ "Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2015-11-01.