I write a twice-monthly feature for L’Italo-Americano newspaper featuring people and businesses of interest to Italians and Italian-Americans living on the west coast. The COVID-19 outbreak has challenged my thinking process as I try to remain creative while identifying topics appropriate to cover in a pandemic.
I recently wrote about Seattle native and choreographer Robert Joffrey, founder and artistic director of the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet. I had no idea this gifted artist was born in Seattle and his mother was from Lucca, where my maternal grandparents are from. Although he lived most of his professional life in New York, Joffrey never really lost touch with Seattle, performing at the Aqua Theatre in Green Lake and helping to open the Seattle Opera House in 1962, during the World’s Fair, with his production of Aida.
Despite great financial troubles and health woes, Joffrey remained upbeat and positive until his death in 1988 at the age of 57. Remembering his talent, optimism and the beauty he left this world through his ballets is just one way to buoy our spirits during this incredibly challenging time.