May 18, 2013 |
After 44 years on - and more recently off - the stage, Dance Theatre of Harlem opened Thursday night at the Annenberg Center. It was a welcome return, and the company looked both young and sophisticated. Led by founding member and longtime principal dancer Virginia Johnson, the troupe was on hiatus for eight years after facing a debt of more than $2 million. When the curtain went down in 2004, the company had 44 dancers. Now, it's performing with just 18. This week's tour to Philadelphia brought two artists home.
January 26, 2013
Spring 2013 promises to be a great one for dance and dance lovers. On the local scene, Pennsylvania Ballet reopened its school in the fall and moved into new Center City studios this month. The company, which marks its 50th birthday next season, dances four packed programs this spring, with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Forsythe & Kylian, and, of course, Balanchine. Among the visiting companies, I am particularly eager to see Dance Theatre of Harlem, which began performing again this season after an eight-year hiatus.
May 7, 2012 |
‘Don't be nervous," Pennsylvania Ballet artistic director Roy Kaiser told the 23 girls and two boys with their left hands on the barre, wearing solemn expressions and numbers pinned to their neat dance clothes. "Relax and work hard. " The first of two groups of 12- to 14-year-olds followed principal dancer Arantxa Ochoa through an hour of pliés, tendus, jetés, and pirouettes last Sunday morning in the company's East Falls studios. "She's my teacher's wife!" one girl squealed on the way out of the audition, referring to Ochoa, a calm, gentle instructor with a striking presence.
April 22, 2012 |
So far, 2012 is being very, very good to Michaela DePrince. The 17-year-old dancer — born in Sierra Leone and raised in Cherry Hill — appears in the April issue of Marie Claire and will be the subject of a spread in a forthcoming Teen Vogue. She's a major part of the award-winning documentary First Position, about talented young ballet dancers competing at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix, that opens nationwide on May 11. And on Tuesday night, she'll appear on ABC's Dancing With the Stars, performing a pas de deux with Adé Chiké Torbert — who came in fourth in the seventh season of So You Think You Can Dance — as British pop star Natasha Bedingfield sings "Wild Horses.
March 22, 2012 |
BULGARIAN ballerina Polina Kadiyska had just finished dancing in a side job when she was struck down by a hit-and-run vehicle on South Broad Street earlier this week. The 22-year-old, a student at the Rock School for Dance Education in South Philly, was elated that her performance at a bar had gone well, a friend said Wednesday. So she called her boyfriend, Nick, to let him know while she waited in a Chinese takeout for food, said the friend, who did not want her name published.
March 21, 2012 |
When Polina Kadiyska danced, other dancers felt inspired. Off stage, it was no different. Kadiyska, a Bulgarian ballerina, 22, who had been studying at Philadelphia's Rock School for Dance Education until she was fatally injured in a hit-and-run accident, was remembered Tuesday for her poise, her kindness, and her ever-present smile. "She was loved by everybody," said Stephanie Wolf Spassoff, director of the school. "She was the sweetest person, the friendliest, the warmest.
November 27, 2009 |
"Stephanie, look him right in the eye," Roy Kaiser coaches over a public-address system. "You looooooooooove him!" Not words most 11-year-old girls want to hear from an adult, especially in a theater filled with parents and schoolchildren, who immediately clap and call "wooo!" But Stephanie Bandura grasps the arm of her prince - 13-year-old Peter Weil - adjusts her focus, and they proceed calmly. Later Tuesday night, in the part of her young life, Stephanie would dance the opening steps in Pennsylvania Ballet's Nutcracker before a packed house at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.
October 24, 2009 |
Not everything went swimmingly when the dance troupe BodyVox opened Water Bodies at the Annenberg's Zellerbach Theatre on Thursday night. There were technical difficulties and mistakes nearly from the start: Video wouldn't play; sound volume and quality were inconsistent; dancers missed steps. But the Portland, Ore., group's suite of modern dances paying homage to H2O is so charming, funny, and inventive that the flaws hardly mattered. The evening opens with co-artistic director Jamey Hampton testing the waters and dancing in a bathtub.
July 6, 2008 |
Jeri Packman, 88, a dance educator who taught creative movement to Philadelphia schoolchildren and teachers for more than 60 years and was a leader in Philadanco and the Philadelphia Dance Alliance, died of heart failure Tuesday at her home in Center City. Mrs. Packman, born Gertrude Coplin, celebrated her 88th birthday with family members Tuesday night. After they left, she died. "My mother had a flair for the dramatic," daughter Hedra Packman said. "She was strong-willed and left this world when she was ready.
March 12, 2008 |
Ballet is not often rained out. But after dozens of "Don Quixote" variations and a passel of "Paquitas," the Youth American Grand Prix regional semifinals had to be postponed Saturday night when heavy rain and high winds knocked out the power at the Swarthmore College competition site. The semifinals are the gateway to next month's YAGP finals in New York, where regional winners from dance programs around the world will compete for prizes and opportunities to study at the schools of ballet's top companies.