January 18, 2015 |
The Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre brought some much-needed Miami heat Thursday night to Dance Celebration at the Annenberg Center. The Philadelphia premieres of Herrera's Dining Alone and Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret also provided a few good laughs along with some puzzling and thought-provoking moments. Both shared oblique historical and political references and autobiographical material. Herrera's father, a Cuban émigré to Miami, had been both a baker and a waiter.
January 13, 2015 |
LIKE SO MANY churches that have closed in recent years, South Philly's massive Shiloh Baptist Church, built in 1870, has a small congregation burdened with huge repair bills, which is not a recipe for survival. But the Victorian-era church on Christian Street near 21st, one of the city's oldest African-American Baptist congregations, found two unlikely Earth angels. Shiloh Baptist rents its soaring second-floor spaces to Brat Productions, an edgy rock 'n' roll cabaret troupe, and to Brian Sanders' JUNK Dance Company, which choreographs around stuff that Sanders trash-picks on Philadelphia streets.
December 29, 2014 |
Jordan Matter is a one-man flash mob - with a camera. On a frosty Monday in early December, Matter and two dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet and one from BalletX are pinballing around downtown, politely commandeering Santa's seat in City Hall's courtyard, an entire block of Addison Street, and a divider in the middle of South Broad Street - during rush hour. See it. Feel it. Shoot it. That's how Matter works. The eye behind the lens of Dancers Among Us , a 2012 New York Times best seller and an Oprah Magazine best book, says his process "relies on serendipity.
December 17, 2014 |
Philadanco came to the Kimmel Center last weekend for its annual holiday treat. This time it presented a suite of dances it called "Dance Is . . . Risky Business," and indeed, Friday night's athletic performance could have knocked preconceived notions out of a skeptical dance newbie with a single jeté. The company performs Daniel Ezralow's Pulse , set to music by David Lang, every few years, and it's fun every time. Where dancers would usually do anything to avoid a skid, here they revel in skidding, wearing special footwear that lets them slide across the stage but still control their movements, stopping for a casual run or a series of impressive turns.
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)