May 10, 2015 |
On the Town was nominated for four Tony Awards last week. The ballet on which the Broadway show (and Gene Kelly movie) was based opened Thursday night at the Academy of Music as part of Pennsylvania Ballet's "Tribute to Jerome Robbins. " Choreographed in 1944, Fancy Free was Robbins' first ballet and a collaboration with then-on-the-brink-of-success composer Leonard Bernstein. It is the story of three young sailors who dance and show off in unsuccessful but valiant bids to win over two girls.
April 19, 2015 |
Rubberbandance Group's Empirical Quotient is a blend of ballet and hip-hop, but it's a quieter piece than one might expect. In just over an hour, six dancers dressed in subtle grays, navy blue, and dark reds perform a series of dances loosely centered on the push and pull of human interactions, set to vocals and electronica by DJ and composer Jasper Gahunia. The evening begins as the audience arrives, with the dancers warming up on stage. As the lights go down, they huddle, forming a single unit that moves across the stage.
April 1, 2015 |
Justin Peck, Liam Scarlett, Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon: They're among the hottest young choreographers in ballet today. And Pennsylvania Ballet will dance their works and more next year in a blockbuster-packed season, artistic director Angel Corella announced Monday. This is the sort of world-class programming that dance fans anticipated when Corella was hired in the fall. "I was incredibly lucky to have danced with all these companies around the world," he said in a recent interview, naming American Ballet Theatre, the Royal Ballet, La Scala, the Australian Ballet, and others.
March 25, 2015 |
A special portable floor designed for dance performance and offered to area dance companies at minimal cost by the soon-to-shutter Dance USA/Philadelphia service organization has been taken over by BalletX and will remain in use. The floor, which can be moved from venue to venue, has been used by area companies over the last four years, bringing dance to as many as 25,000 audience members. BalletX, based at the Wilma Theater, has used it on several occasions, including performances in the Gallery and at 30th Street Station.
March 8, 2015 |
When a sensational dancer first steps onstage, it's as exciting for me as for an astronomer discovering a nova. Zachary Hench gave such a moment when he flashed his star quality stepping out as Prince Siegfried in Christopher Wheeldon's production of Swan Lake in 2004. Newly commissioned by Pennsylvania Ballet, it was a million-dollar gamble I hope has paid off in real money as much as it does in artistic quality and innovation. I reviewed that premiere, but looking back on it, I did not fully appreciate its value.
March 7, 2015 |
David Gray, who has been serving as interim executive director of the Pennsylvania Ballet since last summer, has had his interim status removed and will manage the company going forward, ballet board chair David Hoffman announced Thursday. Hoffman touted Gray's "strong leadership style and breadth of experience in ballet, nonprofit, and financial communities" in making the announcement. Gray, 55, who began in the press office of the New York City Ballet and then became a certified financial planner and consultant to many nonprofits facing change, has also been executive director of the American Repertory Ballet, New Jersey's largest dance organization.
February 21, 2015 |
Once again, BalletX has delivered on its promise to present challenging new work performed by top-notch dancers. The troupe's winter series, which premiered Wednesday, consists of four pieces - including world, national, and company premieres - by choreographers from the United States, the Philippines, and Spain. The evening's emotional high point was "Triptych," by Val Caniparoli. Inspired by photos of British soldiers who served in Afghanistan, the dancers leap, crawl, and occasionally execute stylized military movements, first to contemplative string music by Alexander Balanescu, then to John Tavener's increasingly frantic score.
February 8, 2015 |
Excitement filled the Merriam Theater on Thursday night as the Pennsylvania Ballet presented a program featuring a world premiere by resident choreographer Matthew Neenan and a trio of rising stars. Mayara Pineiro, who joined the corps last fall, was outstanding in Neenan's Shift to Minor . Brand-new soloist Oksana Maslova distinguished herself - with the superb Ian Hussey as her partner - in Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia . And Alexander Peters, a Pennsylvania Ballet apprentice just three years ago, was a revelation in the title role of George Balanchine's Prodigal Son . Set to a piano score by György Ligeti played by the excellent Martha Koeneman, Polyphonia was an impressive opener.
November 21, 2014 |
From Richard Villaverde's opening rond de jambe in Matthew Neenan's Increasing to Jorma Elo's dramatic ending in Gran Partita , BalletX launched its seven-show fall run (with an added Sunday-night performance) at the Wilma Theater on Wednesday with the confidence and artistry of a world-class ballet company. That's what it is, really, though there wasn't a pointe shoe in sight. The world premiere of Gran Partita was inspired by Orson Welles' film noir classic Touch of Evil , yet had too much beauty and too little grit to match that imagery.
October 26, 2014 |
The first time I reviewed London's BalletBoyz, for their 2003 American debut, I said they were too cute for words, though I did think of a few: gymnastic, marvelous, elegant . Now, I add exciting . Their new show, theTalent , touring worldwide, kicked off its American leg at Dance Celebration's 2014 series Thursday night at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and it's more than exciting. It's thrilling. Former principal Royal Ballet dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt left the Royal in 1999 to form their own company, George Piper (their middle names)