January 26, 2013
Spring 2013 promises to be a great one for dance and dance lovers. On the local scene, Pennsylvania Ballet reopened its school in the fall and moved into new Center City studios this month. The company, which marks its 50th birthday next season, dances four packed programs this spring, with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Forsythe & Kylian, and, of course, Balanchine. Among the visiting companies, I am particularly eager to see Dance Theatre of Harlem, which began performing again this season after an eight-year hiatus.
May 11, 2012 |
Many in Philadelphia's dance community were stunned in November when former Martha Graham principal dancer Jeanne Ruddy announced plans to disband her modern dance company. But Janet Pilla, a dancer with the company since 2001 and one of its two associate artistic directors, was less taken aback. She'd been through this before — three times, in fact. "The truth is I'm never surprised about things like that," she said, "because I've danced with a lot of dance companies.
April 23, 2012 |
Philadanco, by its very name — the Philadelphia Dance Company — embraces its hometown. And if ever there was a dance company to love back, it's this one. The dancers are sublime, the works accessible, and some of the best American choreographers regularly make new pieces for Danco to premiere for Philadelphia audiences. When the company tours the world — it was most recently in Macedonia — it's as an art ambassador from the City of Brotherly Love. The troupe opened Friday night at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater with a program called "The Philadelphia Connection.
March 24, 2012 |
Because of passport problems and a missed flight, the members of DanceBrazil didn't get to Philadelphia until 4 a.m. Thursday. But you would never have guessed it from the explosive, high-energy performance they gave that same night at the Annenberg Center. The much-traveled troupe celebrated its 35th anniversary by presenting a pair of short pieces choreographed by their founder and artistic director, Jelon Vieira. Like him, the dozen dancers come from Brazil - mainly Bahia, the center of Afro-Brazilian culture.
February 27, 2012 |
This was not just another Asian-fusion dance concert. In recent years there has been a vogue for combining Indian classical dance with Western techniques - Bharatanatyam and ballet, Kuchipudi and modern dance, Kathak and tap - with varying degrees of success. In her one-woman show, Friday and Saturday at the Painted Bride, Sheetal Gandhi used Indian heel-stamps and turns, alongside Western-style isolations and floor work, to create an eloquent, inventive, virtuosic dance-theater piece that kept the opening-night audience transfixed.
February 12, 2012 |
In her 80 years, Joan Myers Brown has been an artist, entrepreneur, and visionary, who with steely grace founded first, in 1960, a dance school for African American children and then, in 1970, Philadanco, where young dancers of color could find a performance home. It is now one of America's most important companies, and one of Philadelphia's most renowned touring exports. The challenge of relating Brown's life and accomplishments, of capturing her vitality, glamour and humanity, required someone her equal in beauty and wisdom.
February 10, 2012
WHEN SHE was 7, Lindsay Browning was nervous and excited waiting for her father to come to her school. When he arrived, he was dressed as Abraham Lincoln to teach her class about the former president's life. Today, the Philly-based dancer has transformed that childhood experience into a contemporary dance titled "Lincoln Luck. " Browning was inspired by imagining herself as Lincoln's "daughter of the future," basing her image both on Lincoln's personal history and on her father's portrayal of him. The performance explores themes such as luck and fate, and how they relate to Lincoln's life.
November 22, 2011 |
After 12 years of creating dance, commissioning work from world-class choreographers, and opening a theater and studio in a converted mechanic's shop, former Martha Graham principal dancer Jeanne Ruddy announced Monday that she was folding her Philadelphia modern dance company. "I came to the decision that it was time for me to move on, and that I had done what it was that I had set out to do," Ruddy, 58, said in her office at the Performance Garage on Brandywine Street. She paused frequently to get her emotions in check, and drew her long, dark-blond hair up in a clip several times, before pulling it down again moments later.
September 9, 2011
Olive Dance Theatre's 'Brotherly Love' Olive, formed in 2002 by Jamie Merwin, has just returned from a national tour with this show about the early MOVE confrontations in Philadelphia. Through hip-hop-inflected "breakin,'" the company's dancers explore personal struggles with the questions and issues the radical movement evoked. Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at the Painted Bride, 230 Vine St. (215-925-9914 www.paintedbride.org ). The Blind Faith Project The First Wave is a sensitive, witty treatment of the early-20th-century suffragist movement.
May 24, 2011 |
To most Americans, Cuba is still a tantalizing mystery: a forbidden island nation, just 90 miles from Key West, where communism coexists with palm trees, really good cigars, and the sultry strains of salsa music. Among dance lovers, it has long been celebrated as the birthplace of great ballerinas - from 90-year-old legend Alicia Alonso to Pennsylvania Ballet's own Riolama Lorenzo - and mambo, a social dance form that has found its way to Hollywood, Broadway, and beyond. But we've never seen Cuban modern dance - until now. This week Danza Contemporánea de Cuba (DCC)