May 8, 2014
FIT AND FINE at 44, Ron Wood has seemingly accomplished the impossible. The Philadelphia native is a master of capoeira contra, a third-degree black belt, a choreographer, entrepreneur and hip-hop artist. But all that accomplishment hasn't gone to his head. "I'm never the best, there's always something to work on, and I still feel like I'm just learning my body," he told me. Born and raised in West Philadelphia, the humble Wood overcame poverty and escaped the street's many traps.
April 29, 2014 |
SOMETIMES Catherine Stumm would break off a phone call and say, "I've got to drive the old ladies. " Never mind that the "old ladies" at the Southwest Philadelphia Senior Center were probably 10 to 20 years younger than she was. To Catherine, chronological age meant nothing. It was how you felt, and Catherine was vigorous, fun and rarin' to go well into her 80s. Catherine M. Stumm, who worked part time at the old G.C. Murphy Co. five-and-dime while raising six children then went to work in the payroll department of the former Quartermaster Depot, a loving family matriarch and devoted churchgoer, died Friday.
April 25, 2014 |
NORMA AND WILSON Sanchez met a half-century ago at a dance - and Wilson was on his way to another dance Saturday night when a pickup truck slammed into him on a Northeast Philadelphia street. Wilson Sanchez, 75, and his wife had planned to meet at the dance, a periodic event held at the Northeast Older Adult Center on Bustleton Avenue in Rhawnhurst. Norma went ahead to help set up the event. Her husband was to join her after the festivities got underway. But he never made it. Just before 9 p.m., as Wilson Sanchez crossed Bustleton after parking his car across the busy street from the Older Adult Center, a Ford F-250 slammed into the father of two as he walked across the southbound lanes midblock between Solly Avenue and Stanwood Street.
April 21, 2014 |
Shimon Braun is a former Israeli national gymnastics champion and a professional dancer and choreographer who performed on Broadway. He founded his own jazz dance company, called Waves, in Santa Fe, N.M., and brought it to Philadelphia when he taught dance at the University of the Arts. He moves with the lithe grace of a man half his age. He keeps his wits sharp by creating choreography that blends classic jazz, Latin rhythms, and hip-hop. For the last three years, he has offered a dance workshop at Main Line Health & Fitness in Bryn Mawr, and his current students are a group of 10 women, all mothers, ages 35 to 63. But you would never guess it by the way they move - swiveling their hips, rolling their heads, strutting like vamps, prowling like cats, executing high kicks and sharp pivots, tap-dancing and toe-stepping, moving in synchrony to infectious, thumping jungle beats.
April 15, 2014 |
"Long ago, I stopped making 'entertainment' . . .. I stripped away the decorative. That doesn't interest me anymore. " So said Malavika Sarukkai, the extraordinary Indian classical dancer, during Saturday's post-performance Q&A session at the Annenberg Center. This concert of Bharatanatyam, a centuries-old dance form from South India, was the culmination of a weeklong residency that also included master classes, a lecture-demonstration, and the screening of a documentary film. Mind you, Sarukkai didn't stint on sheer physical beauty - in her powerful, sensuous movement or her gloriously rich, blue silk costume accented with gold.
April 11, 2014 |
THERE are moments in "Cuban Fury," lots of them, when you wish it had been about an old Plymouth making taxi runs in Havana. Or the owner of the Dallas Mavericks bitching about the NFL. Alas, it's a purported comedy about chubby milquetoast Bruce (Nick Frost), who tries to woo his pretty new boss Julia (Rashida Jones) by reviving a long-dormant interest in salsa dancing. Bruce is a former youth salsa champion who was bullied out of his love of dancing, and now tries to reconnect with his old instructor (Ian McShane)
April 2, 2014 |
This is a love story. It's also a dance story, one that began in Dresden, Germany, in 1994. Its middle is happening here in Philadelphia, now. The lovers are award-winning artists, collaborators onstage and in real life - husband and wife Niki Cousineau and Jorge Cousineau, founders of the dance company Subcircle. Their new ensemble work All this happened, more or less , opens Thursday night at the Performance Garage. The story of their life and work together, its title is the opening line of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5 . The novel's key event is the World War II firebombing of Dresden in which 130,000 people died - bombings Jorge's grandparents survived.
April 1, 2014 |
LIKE SO MANY long-suffering Sixers fans, I walked into Wells Fargo Center feeling like the two Delaware County teens who sat in nosebleed seats with a handmade sign: #WITNESS27 . If the Sixers were going to lose their 27th game in a row Saturday night, earning them the longest losing streak in major American pro sports, I wanted to see it. "We are true Sixers fans," said Joe Bakey, 16, of Brookhaven, who held the sign. "But this is a big moment in sports history. " His cousin, Ryan Stephano, 14, of Garnet Valley, said, "LeBron James' motto is 'Witness.' And we are here, witnessing.
March 30, 2014 |
FringeArts brought in Tere O'Connor Dance's New York hit Bleed for a weekend run at its Columbus Boulevard venue and while reviewing the Thursday opening, I was about to use the word convoluted - then I referred to my last review of the company in 1999. Convoluted was in there, too - as was lead dancer Heather Olson, who has been with O'Connor's company since 1997. Olson, as lead dancer in a Kelly green dress, came on sashaying to the industrial cricks and cracks of James Baker's score.
March 26, 2014 |
Rock clubs come. Rock clubs go. And memories of most of them are fleeting, gone in a haze of sex, drugs, and decibels. What, then, would anyone recall of a ratty Trenton punk venue called City Gardens that existed from the 1980s to the mid-'90s? Just about everything, if you ask Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico, authors of a newly self-published oral history, No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes . Or filmmaker Steve Tozzi, who has documented the eccentrically edgy haunt in Riot on the Dance Floor . Or the countless musicians and hangers-on who contributed recollections.