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While this major classical company concentrates on touring, the Joffrey schedules about 6 weeks of performances a year in its hometown. Its repertoire extends from the ballets of founder Robert Joffrey, George Balanchine, and Jerome Robbins to the cutting-edge works of Alonzo King and Chicago choreographer Randy Duncan. The company is usually in town in the spring (Apr or May), the fall (Sept or Oct), and December, when it stages a popular rendition of the holiday favorite The Nutcracker.

A bonus for dance lovers: The Joffrey offers free tours of its beautiful, light-filled administrative and rehearsal building in the Loop. Tours are given at noon on the 2nd and 4thWednesdays of each month; call tel. 312/386-8921 to reserve a spot. Even if you can't make a tour, you can often catch a glimpse of dancers warming up through the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Randolph Street.