Looking for the perfect night out with your little prince or princess? Attending a classical ballet can be an elegant and family-friendly cultural experience. Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet is a world-renowned ballet company that performs several kid-friendly ballets each year, besides the perennial holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. The Joffrey’s found a great dance partner in the JW Marriott Chicago, a hotel that’s paired up with the dance troupe to offer guests special experiences throughout the year.

Joffrey Ballet's "Cinderella" photo courtesy: Herbert Migdoll

Joffrey Ballet’s “Cinderella” photo courtesy: Herbert Migdoll

When classics like The Nutcracker and Swan Lake are performed by world-class companies, they come with dazzling costumes, spectacular sets, and traditional scores, often performed by live orchestras. My own princess and I felt like we had stepped into a fairy tale as we entered Chicago’s magnificent Auditorium Theatre for the Joffrey Ballet’s production of Cinderella.

While attending the Joffrey’s Cinderella, you’ll be equally impressed by the performance venue. The 125-year-old Auditorium Theatre is one of the country’s grand landmark theaters. If you’re an architecture buff, you’ll be dazzled and delighted to attend a performance in this ornate historic building, designated with landmark status in 1975. Lavish murals and mosaics fill the gilded interior of this masterpiece by the renowned architectural team of Adler and Sullivan. You’ll want to stare up at the gold-plated ceiling and point out the names of famous composers that surround the stage. If you want to see more, you can take a tour of the building on Mondays at 10 a.m. and noon.

Joffrey Ballet's "Cinderella" photo courtesy: Todd Rosenberg

Joffrey Ballet’s “Cinderella” photo courtesy: Todd Rosenberg


Being one of the premier American dance companies, Joffrey dancers skillfully brought the Cinderella fairy tale to life, proving to my daughter that through dance, you can, in fact, tell a story without words. Ballets taken from storybooks are a great introduction to the art form for little kids. During the intermission my daughter and I visited the friendly musicians in the live orchestra pit, who eagerly talked about their instruments and the life of a musician.

I applaud the JW Marriott Chicago for finding creative ways to both support the Joffrey and to give guests (and employees!) unique ballet-inspired experiences. In 2015, the hotel offered ballet-inspired fitness classes led by Joffrey ballerinas. Hotel employees were trained on offering first rate customer service, through a partnership with the Joffrey called,
“Poise and Grace,” a service training program for staff that’s based on the rigorous practice techniques used by ballet dancers.

JW Marriott Chicago spa, photo courtesy: Andrea Guthmann

JW Marriott Chicago spa, photo courtesy: Andrea Guthmann

I got to enjoy another one of the perks of the Joffrey-Marriott partnership. The JW Spa offered Cinderella-inspired spa services to make sure guests feel like royalty as they head over to the Cinderella performance. I got to enjoy an over-the-top 80 minute hot stone massage. Yes, I definitely felt like a princess, especially after lounging for a while at the spa pool, drinking my fruit-infused water and complimentary spiced nuts! Here are the other Cinderella spa services that would make you feel ready for the ball, even if you’re heading out with a toddler.


Get ready for the ball as only Cinderella can with a rejuvenating foot massage treatment incorporating lower leg and foot exfoliation, followed by a relaxing leg and foot massage for guests to have their feet glass slipper ready.

JW Marriott Chicago pool photo courtesy: Andrea Guthmann

JW Marriott Chicago pool photo courtesy: Andrea Guthmann


Go glam and get ready for a night at The Joffrey Ballet’s production of Cinderella with a manicure and pedicure. Guests can make their manicure and pedicure extra special with nail polish available in a Cinderella ball gown inspired shade of blue. The Cinderella inspired experience also included a ticket to The Joffrey Ballet’s production of Cinderella at special 25% discounted rate (excludes matinees, restrictions apply).
Nights like this are when I feel so thankful to be raising my kids in a big city, with easy access to first-rate cultural events. I can’t wait until the Joffrey unveils their brand new version of The Nutcracker in November. It will also be interesting to see what the JW Marriott comes up with to support them.