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.
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.
May 16, 2004 |
Just as the arrival of the Lilac Fairy brings joy to Princess Aurora in Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty, so the recent performance of the classic by ballet company Pages to Pirouettes brought smiles to the faces of children and adults at the Christ Lutheran Community Church After-School Program fund-raiser. The dance, which premiered in St. Petersburg in 1890, was shortened from more than three hours to less than one by Pages to Pirouettes, a nonprofit organization that shares the ballet experience with young children.
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.
December 10, 2002 |
Moments before a recent Pennsylvania Ballet rehearsal, the Nutcracker Prince - Shawn Sebastian, age 15 - was hanging out in the hall, munching on a Dunkin' Donut and chatting with friends. Just your average Jersey kid, except for ballet shoes instead of Nikes. But then came his time to dance. Shawn drew himself up into an elegant ballet stance. Then, in movements fluid and sure, he glided across the floor with his Marie, bestowing a princely bow on the Sugar Plum Fairy before regaling her with a rousing pantomime of his victorious battle with the evil Mouse King.
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.
January 27, 2008 |
For a decade or more, no company on the Philadelphia arts scene dramatized institutional failure more spectacularly than the Pennsylvania Ballet. Even in the years after a frantic save-the-ballet campaign kept it from closing down in 1991, the company defaulted on its mortgage for a building it had come to call an "albatross," vendors were left in the lurch, the front office became a revolving door, the repertoire was often recycled. But it appears that the 44-year-old Pennsylvania Ballet has taken an enormous leap - a financial and organizational grand jete - that will force culture vultures to find a different benchmark for failure.
March 2, 2008 |
Esteban Hernandez may be only 13, but his jumps soar. In his Don Quixote variation - usually danced by men twice his age - Hernandez's confidence and regal posture belie his youth. He is a Rock star, a top ballet student at Philadelphia's Rock School for Dance Education. But this week the native of Guadalajara, Mexico, will be aiming even higher - competing in Swarthmore at the regional semifinal of the Youth America Grand Prix, a competition for ballet dancers ages 9 to 19. To prepare, he and four dozen other Rock competitors spend an extra hour or two a day - on top of five hours in ballet classes - rehearsing for the Grand Prix at the Rock studios at Broad Street and Washington Avenue.
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.
July 22, 2003 |
Almost 20,000 children attended last year's Mann Center concerts for young people, continuing the facility's long-standing tradition of free programs. This year's concerts focus on the artistic contributions of international cultures with a wide range of performing groups designed to captivate young imaginations. Three shows in this series are coming up, all on Mondays at 11 a.m., and all guaranteed to involve kids as well as parents. They're free (first-come, first-serve seating)