January 18, 2015 |
Under many circumstances, the Philadelphia Orchestra's St. Petersburg Festival might seem like a desperate attempt to coax music lovers out of their warm homes and into the Kimmel Center with programs that dip deep into Russian crowd-pleasing repertoire, such as a suite from The Nutcracker . Yet on Thursday, the first installment of this multiweek festival more than pulled its artistic weight, thanks to thoughtfully positioned Tchaikovsky and...
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 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 29, 2013 |
An almost universal first reaction to entering David Abers and Richard Loatman's home is amazement, tinged with sensory overload. Their house, on a street in Trenton's Mill Hill section reminiscent of Society Hill, overflows with charm and intriguing architectural details. With nutcrackers, too. It all began innocently, as so many collections do. An aunt and uncle temporarily living in Germany sent Abers, their stateside nephew, a traditional wooden-soldier nutcracker as a Christmas present when he was about 12. "It happened that they had become friendly with Mark Spitz, the Olympian, and he actually guided them to the place they found my present," Abers remembers, "so that definitely gave it even more allure.
December 13, 2013
WHAT HAPPENS when the classic strains of Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky are blended with a cartoon show that is a hit with the preschool crowd? The answer can be found tomorrow at Upper Darby's Tower Theater, which is hosting two performances of "Max & Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite. " While most folks are probably aware of "The Nutcracker," you likely don't know Max and Ruby unless you are the parent of young ones. For the uninitiated, the two are the stars of "Max & Ruby," which airs on cable's Nick Jr. channel.
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 12, 2012 |
When Pennsylvania Ballet opened its 25th season of performing George Balanchine's full-length Nutcracker Saturday at the Academy of Music, there undoubtedly were people in the audience who were seeing it for the 25th year in a row. So what's to return for after all this time? Like a favorite holiday movie, repeat viewings only add to the comfort and joy. Even when you know what's coming, you're likely to get chills when it begins to snow onstage. And unlike, say, White Christmas or Love Actually , you'll see different things each time as the casting changes.
December 7, 2012
HOLIDAZE Sugarplum visions Pennsylvania Ballet begins its 25th annual "Nutcracker," with magnificent choreography by George Balanchine and visual treats to charm every heart. Academy of Music, Broad and Locust streets, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, performances through Dec. 30, $20-$135, 215-893-1999, paballet.org. Seasonal sounds The ageless Peter Nero revisits a number of songs of the season in his yearly Holiday POPS! Concert. (Among the voices: The Philadelphia Boys Choir, African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir, Capathia Jenkins.)
December 7, 2012 |
Every December, sugarplums dance through the heads of people who may never see dance the rest of the year. The dozens of dancing children, charming Victorian scenes, Tchaikovsky music, and snow wafting on stage make Nutcracker a holiday standard so many love to see year after year. And ballet companies and schools love them back. "It's the anchor for our whole season," said Donna Muzio, artistic director of the Brandywine Ballet in West Chester and director of the Dance Center, the company's school.
January 22, 2012 |
In the early aughts, nervous dance companies were looking over their shoulders at the gathering holiday-time competition. As inhabitants of that lucrative calendar slot, productions of The Nutcracker had long been cash cows. But with Disneys on Ice and Christmas-theme theater productions multiplying, it looked as if Nutcracker revenue might take a hit. It hasn't turned out that way, at least locally. Pennsylvania Ballet's production of the Tchaikovsky/Balanchine ballet closed Dec. 31, earning about as much as it did last year.