December 10, 2014 |
Pennsylvania Ballet has undergone great change in recent months - a new artistic director, new ballet masters, new dancers, and more. One had to wonder: Would the beloved winter classic George Balanchine's The Nutcracker look different too when it opened Saturday at the Academy of Music? The once-a-year balletgoer may not notice the changes, because the Balanchine choreography must be kept as the great choreographer set it 60 years ago, only allowing for alterations he later made or would have approved.
December 1, 2014 |
Ballet or college? Many young dancers ask themselves that question. For Elizabeth Mateer, the matter was even more complicated when she received a job offer from Pennsylvania Ballet 2, the second company, as well as an acceptance to Harvard. Mateer, now 24, chose ballet. Five years later, as a member of the first company's corps de ballet, her decision is paying off in featured roles. In October, she shone in performances of Christopher Wheeldon's Liturgy and Alexei Ratmansky's Jeu de Cartes . Next she'll dance Sugar Plum in some performances of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker , opening Saturday.
November 28, 2014 |
AT 4 A.M. yesterday, security guards arrived at the bleachers in front of the Art Museum. By 6 a.m., spectators with tickets to the 95th annual 6ABC/Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade started to fill those seats. By 7, Mike Avello - the "No. 1 Rocky lookalike in the world," he says - posted himself 100 feet from the original's statue and high-fived fans. The less-than-2-mile parade route gave onlookers plenty: performances by singer Lance Bass, "American Idol" winner Candice Glover, and fresh-faced Radio Disney and Disney Channel stars, person-pulled giant balloons (an injury to My Little Pony made her a last-minute scratch)
November 16, 2014 |
In its Philadelphia debut on Thursday night, Israel's Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC) presented If At All , by artistic director Rami Be'er. While this piece gave the dancers an opportunity to show off their strength, flexibility, and stamina, in the end it was only a partial success. Be'er says he doesn't tell stories with his choreography, so viewers can make up their own interpretations. But at points, the dancers drop to the floor, accompanied by sounds of gunfire and screaming; they also beat their chests and "stab" themselves.
November 11, 2014 |
With Leslie Cuyjet, her partner and former student, choreographer Cynthia Oliver has created a work informed by her early influences in the Caribbean, where she studied with a former company member of Germany's Kurt Jooss before moving to New York to work with Ronald K. Brown. The duo opened BOOM! Friday at the Painted Bride, banging a door loudly and skittering into the theater from behind the audience while yammering at each other in stop/start phrases. Were they sisters, girlfriends, mother and daughter?
October 26, 2014 |
The first time I reviewed London's BalletBoyz, for their 2003 American debut, I said they were too cute for words, though I did think of a few: gymnastic, marvelous, elegant . Now, I add exciting . Their new show, theTalent , touring worldwide, kicked off its American leg at Dance Celebration's 2014 series Thursday night at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and it's more than exciting. It's thrilling. Former principal Royal Ballet dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt left the Royal in 1999 to form their own company, George Piper (their middle names)
October 13, 2014 |
'Keep your elbows lifted, even when your arms are crossed over your chest - as though you're in a bar, having a drink. " So said the Pennsylvania Ballet's new artistic director, Ángel Corella, as he taught a recent company class in preparation for the dancers' debut under his leadership this week. His unexpected suggestion, whimsical but clear, is typical of his style. It achieved the intended result. For 90 minutes, Madrid-born Corella led 40 dancers in exercises that gave them ample opportunity to display their distinctive bodies and impressive abilities.
September 24, 2014 |
In After the Summer Sun , Ballet Fleming takes a smart step forward. For its second Fringe show, Christopher Fleming's fledgling company follows other young ensembles by hiring established choreographers to augment repertoire and grow audience. The evening opened with excerpts from Fleming's Long Train Running , a dance theater-style piece I first saw in 2011 that initially felt better in the costumes worn three years ago. Time for Three's music lends a distinctly country-western feel; Fleming's dancers strode on stage in ballet rehearsal attire (leotards, loose chemises)
September 8, 2014 |
At the gala opening of the spectacular new FringeArts building on Columbus Boulevard on Friday night, the air was charged with so much electricity I was glad the place was no longer in use as a pumping station. Though there was no danger of electrocution, the crowd, there to see the Pennsylvania Ballet in new works, could have crushed you. What I Learned About Outer Space , a co-creation of Pennsylvania Ballet, Curtis Institute of Music, and FringeArts, turned out, overall, to have the contrived feeling these sorts of commissioned collaborations often do - not quite shotgun wedding, but more "Let's make this relationship work.
August 20, 2014 |
On paper, there ain't much to Ain't Misbehavin' but the music. Unlike many songbook-driven shows or jukebox musicals, Richard Maltby Jr. and Murray Horwitz's revue of the songs of Fats Waller lacks a plot, biographical outline or a historically grounded narrative. These deficiencies show in Bucks County Playhouse's muddled though mostly well-sung production, directed by Hunter Foster. It starts with the set: Wilson Chin and David L. Arsenault's built-out barroom with a staircase leading up to a raised balcony, which fails to create a unified environment.