March 9, 2014 |
Pennsylvania Ballet gave an encore of a signature work and added another Balanchine ballet to its repertoire for its opening Thursday night at the Academy of Music. Both were part of the company's yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. Carmina Burana has been in the troupe's repertoire since 1966, when John Butler staged his 1959 work on Pennsylvania Ballet to Carl Orff's secular cantata. In 2007, choreographer-in-residence Matthew Neenan reinterpreted the ballet with new choreography, costumes, and sets.
March 2, 2014 |
The white floor cover on the Verizon Hall stage suggested something left over from a painting crew. Instead, the special surface was for Philadanco in its Friday collaboration with the Philadelphia Orchestra - an artistically gratifying enterprise that showed how easily such organizations can come together in an identity-enhancing experience. The meeting point was Poulenc's 1929 Aubade, a Jazz Age ballet/piano concerto hybrid performed with choreography by Tommie-Waheed Evans that wasn't out to change the world but showed off the quintet of female dancers well and authenticated the music's content.
February 25, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE Over three days of nonstop movement, Penn Staters turned the Bryce Jordan Center, typically a basketball venue, into what one student called "the biggest celebration of life you can possibly have. " "I think this is the epitome of how to live your life," senior Emma Gregory said of THON, Penn State's annual 46-hour dance marathon to raise money for pediatric cancer. In its 42nd year, THON raised a record $13.34 million, up from last year's tally of $12,374,034.46.
February 12, 2014 |
It was cold, polar vortex cold. Schools were closed and heavy snow was on the way. But for nearly 600 dancers, plus supporters bundled up in puffy coats, hats, and blankets outside the Merriam Theater as much as 11 hours ahead of call time, it was worth it. Worth it for the possibility of dancing on TV, working with great choreographers, and maybe a place on the "hot-tamale train" to stardom. That is judge Mary Murphy's signature phrase, and she utters it when a dancer blows her away on So You Think You Can Dance . Murphy, along with Nigel Lythgoe, host Cat Deeley, and Tony-winner guest judge Billy Porter ( Kinky Boots)
January 19, 2014 |
The world premiere of Susan Rethorst's THEN , with Group Motion and artistic director Manfred Fischbeck, was a bright, cheery, even cheeky little dance, only 50 minutes long. But it packed a lot of information into that short time. A presentation of Philadelphia Dance Projects, in conjunction with the University of the Arts School of Dance, the new work encapsulates Rethorst's first year in Philadelphia, which began last season at Bryn Mawr College. Her "Wreckings" have been a hallmark of her creative exploration and research.
January 3, 2014 |
EMILY WEBSTER hadn't planned to come into Center City on New Year's Day. For the Wayne-based 5-year-old, the trip was a spur-of-the-moment decision. "We decided around 10:30 [this morning]," said her mom, Linda Webster. The pair considered taking SEPTA into town, but opted to drive instead. Good idea. No traffic. They got to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in time to grab some excellent riser seats - and to catch the day's first Fancy Brigade performance. The Spartans, the newest club - consisting of former Satin Slippers members, among other brigades - marched on strong with a Native-American theme titled, "One Nation, Valley of the Drums.
December 15, 2013 |
The 15-year-old dance company BodyVox first appeared at Annenberg Center in 2001. This is the group's fifth visit as one of the Dance Celebration series' favorites - and one of mine, as well. BodyVox, based in Portland, Ore., is a winsome company of a dozen top-tier dancers. Artistic directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, both of whom dance in the company, are alums of Momix and Pilobolus. That heritage shows best in certain sections of their eight-part paean to films and filmmaking, The Cutting Room , which the two conceived and choreographed.
December 12, 2013 |
Carole Ann Scaldeferri Spada, 70, of Newtown Square, a regular dancer on American Bandstand from 1957 to 1961, died Sunday, Dec. 8, of congestive heart failure at a Springfield hospital. Her husband, Richard Spada, said Mrs. Spada was recovering from a minor stroke she had suffered earlier when she became ill on the way to church. She was taken by ambulance to the emergency room, where she died, her husband said. "When the doctor told me the news, I was heartbroken," her husband said.
December 11, 2013 |
In some circles it is fashionable to pooh-pooh The Nutcracker as an insubstantial holiday treat, suitable only for stage-struck little girls and their doting mothers. But (a) what's wrong with escapism, especially at this time of the year? And (b) Pennsylvania Ballet's annual production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker - at the Academy of Music through Dec. 29 - offers two hours' worth of sheer theatrical magic, something no one should ever feel too old, or too serious, to enjoy.
December 10, 2013 |
Yes, 'tis the season, but must every performance have a yule theme? Nope, says Philadanco, which presents a holiday-themed program now and then but which this year chose to honor one of its favorite choreographers, Christopher L. Huggins, in a weekend series at the Kimmel Center. And what a gift it was, a suite of short ballets that showed the power, speed, and athleticism of the company's fantastic dancers, as well as the diversity of Danco's and Huggins' dance styles. The evening opened with The List , a quartet about a Jewish family in Krakow in 1941, set to music by John Williams and Henryk Gorecki.