June 2, 2014 |
BALLERINAS need vacations, too. (Incredibly well-deserved ones.) But as the big companies wind down their seasons, some innovators break out novel, refreshing programming to tide over us over during the beachgoing months. The Tap-Ballet Project, June 6. Six tap dancers and four ballet dancers, backed by a jazz quartet, thunder out the collaborative work "Meet Us at the Corner," created by Elisabeth Holowchuk (from Suzanne Farrell Ballet) and Dorothy Wasserman (as seen in the movie "Tap")
May 30, 2014 |
AN INSTRUMENTAL string arrangement of Coldplay's "Clocks" played through the room and Rachel Federman-Morales began directing the troupe of 10 dancers, as she has every Tuesday evening since early October. Aligned across from one another, the dancers' eyes locked. They had just completed a long school day and now they had one more rehearsal before the big performance, scheduled for this morning in Drexel University's Mandell Theater at MacAlister Hall. Like any dance troupe, this one is composed of unique individuals with a common goal.
May 13, 2014 |
Good vision in low light is essential to enjoying Alchemia , which Momix brought to the Annenberg Center last weekend. The gloam can hide the scraps and bits that would make the piece seem magical. But for those with healthy peepers, Alchemia is a brilliant journey into a surreal otherworld where earth, water, air, and fire - in the form of dancers, music, lighting, and props - do their thing. Moses Pendleton, choreographer of the "Doves of Peace" segment of the Sochi Olympics' opening ceremony, is the "Mo" in Momix.
May 9, 2014 |
'I'm such a nerd," said Julie Diana, a principal dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet, who recently saddened fans by announcing that she would retire after Sunday's performance of the ballet's "Director's Choice" program at the Academy of Music. Nerd is hardly the term that comes to mind. Diana is well known for her portrayals of the quintessentially romantic heroines in Romeo and Juliet and La Sylphide. She is also a versatile and exceptionally intelligent dancer who excels in sizzling, Broadway-style roles (as in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue )
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)