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.
December 7, 2013 |
You expect a lot from a Brian Sanders production: exquisite beauty, slapstick humor, and gasp-inducing feats of derring-do. And Snowball , Sanders' latest, delivers on all counts. In fact, for this viewer, Snowball delivers a little too much. The plot is ostensibly about an evil urban landlady (Christine Morano) who is ultimately defeated through the transformative power of love, imagination, and really good dancing. There are a lot of marvelous elements in Snowball - the intense hip-hop number in Act I, the gorgeous love duets between Ann-Marie Gover and Tommy Schimmel, and the running gag about Morano's footwear, ever higher, sparkling platforms with killer stiletto heels that she eventually trades in for a pair of spangled stilts, atop which she still manages to dance.
December 2, 2013 |
At 10, Jane Cohen of Moorestown is already a veteran of Pennsylvania Ballet's George Balanchine's The Nutcracker . In the last two seasons she's been the bunny, an angel, and a grandchild. This year's goal was to be a girl in the party scene and a Polichinelle - one of the children who emerge from Mother Ginger's immense skirt. Instead, she was stunned to find herself cast as Marie, the female child lead. Jane had dreamed one day of landing the coveted role, but "I thought maybe two years from now. " Nor was she the only one so happily surprised.
November 23, 2013 |
He's done it again. In There I Was, Matthew Neenan has created a new work of tremendous power, grace, and style. It's luscious, quirky, and startling - often within the space of a few seconds. And throughout, it shows off the technical prowess, dramatic skills, and individual personalities of the dancers in BalletX, which began a five-day run at the Wilma Theater on Wednesday. I'm not convinced that the final sequence - an unsubtle antiwar message performed to Tom Waits' "Road to Peace" - really belongs here.
November 20, 2013 |
"Through the skin we let the whole world in. " So begins the poem, written and recited by Karl Mullen, that provides the title for the featured piece in last weekend's program by the Koresh Dance Company at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. Made up of 15 short segments, the work showcases signature elements of Roni Koresh's choreography, his favorite theatrical effects, and the remarkable technical abilities of his 10 performers. Like many of the pieces Koresh has created over the last two decades, Through the Skin combines jazz-dance staples (jutting hips)
November 10, 2013 |
At the Painted Bride on Thursday night, the artists of Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers bared heart and soul, combining them with superb technique. This retrospective evening of dances choreographed by Lin (first seen in New York through the 1990s to 2001) included four that received Philadelphia premieres. Lin moved the company here just five years ago, building it into the highly regarded Philadelphia fixture it now is, with a studio called Chi-Mac on South Ninth Street. Liu Mo - whose background is Chinese classical dance and who has trained in contemporary dance with Lin for only about a year - takes the powerful solo "Moon Dance" (1993)
October 27, 2013 |
The dances Paul Taylor has created over the last half-century evoke everything from lyrical romance to savage satire, frank eroticism, and slapstick humor. All were on display Thursday night as the Paul Taylor Dance Company opened its run at the Annenberg Center with a four-part program. Choreographed in 1979, Profiles is still a revelation, featuring complex, unexpected lifts and leans. Four dancers pose like ancient Egyptian statues, then leap at each other to form highly improbable two-person shapes.