June 22, 2004 |
When Marilyn Budzynski, founder of Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania in Doylestown, decided she wanted to set A Midsummer Night's Dream on her student company, she raised funding from the Pew Charitable Trusts and engaged a choreographer from the Pennsylvania Ballet. To tackle the enormous job, she invited Matthew Neenan, who at age 29 already has a half dozen commissions on his resume. Despite the fact that he would be dancing in major works at the Pennsylvania Ballet in April and June, he accepted this challenge.
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.
November 10, 1999 |
Centuries of tradition came alive for students at the Rosemont School of the Holy Child yesterday as they watched a presentation by the Lakota Sioux Indian Dance Theatre. Adorned with beads and feathers, the 12 members performed traditional dances, including the Hoop and Shawl dances, for the 280 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade. The goal of the Dance Theatre, which has performed worldwide for 21 years, is to spread cultural understanding, said narrator Lance White Magpie.
March 14, 1995 |
He's young, he's good-looking, he's got money in his pocket and time on his hands. He spurns his family's love. Whether this strikes you as a recipe for disaster or a golden opportunity depends on what you're selling. To a sophisticated lady and her shady friends, he's an easy mark. Robbed, beaten, he somehow manages to crawl back home. And wonder of wonders, his father takes him back. It was a good story in the Bible and it's a good story now. And as performed by the Dance Theatre of Harlem for the first time last Friday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Prodigal Son is a powerful morality tale that leaps straight off the stage and into our lives.
May 19, 2003 |
Cross Planet seemed like a nifty name for Group Motion's season-ending performance at the Community Education Center this weekend, with a program including not only Group Motion, but also visiting members of the Tokyo-based Dance Theatre 21. Turns out the name also had much to do with Group Motion's offering, a three-part piece called Cultures and Species. Artistic director Manfred Fischbeck started with a diaristic solo. He moved laconically against a backdrop of projected text that explained the piece's genesis in a recent trip to his birthplace halfway across the world in Tanzania, a view of Earth from the returning plane, and world events including the Columbia shuttle explosion.
April 22, 2008 |
At the Painted Bride last weekend, we got only 20 minutes of evidence of things (un)said, an excerpt from Charles O. Anderson's work in development that is slated to be premiered by his dance theatre X next year. The Bride's stage was too small to hold this rib-thumping, heart-pumping, cry-mercy-Mama dance. A section with six female dancers was too crowded to look cleanly executed, although most of them danced full out. I hope to see it on a larger stage like the Perelman when it is finished.
June 4, 2007 |
The title Under Construction suggests rugged, in-progress dances. Under that rubric, this weekend's showings at the Painted Bride were that and more, offering a window into the artistic exchange between West Coast artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph and three Philadelphia groups that use hip-hop as a basis. Joseph, whose Word Becomes Flesh appeared in the 2005 Live Arts Festival, spent a week with each group, encouraging risk-taking and opening out to new artistic territories that incorporate language.
June 26, 2002 |
When the Mann Center for the Performing Arts opened a quarter-century ago, it supplanted the much larger Robin Hood Dell, which pulled in as many as 33,000 people free of charge on any given night. By contrast, the Mann accommodates only 13,000 - 5,000 under cover, the rest on terrace seats and lawn blankets. All this seating is terrific for listening to big symphonic sounds under the stars. But even with the smaller space and better sight lines of the Mann, the organizers of "Shut Up and Dance," previously performed at the Forrest Theater, wondered if a single dancer could be seen from way back on the terrace.
January 28, 2005 |
Paule Turner may not have shocked audiences when he tried out "Hitting Bottom" two weeks ago in Richmond, Va. He even got them to shout out a four-letter verb just as easily as he got the DanceBoom! audience to do so at the Wilma Theater Wednesday night. "Hitting Bottom" is the final section of Turner's full-length, multimedia show Touched, to be premiered in its entirety at Philadelphia's NEW Festival in June. It capped a bill with Tania Isaac and Charles O. Anderson that repeats this weekend.