May 18, 2013 |
After 44 years on - and more recently off - the stage, Dance Theatre of Harlem opened Thursday night at the Annenberg Center. It was a welcome return, and the company looked both young and sophisticated. Led by founding member and longtime principal dancer Virginia Johnson, the troupe was on hiatus for eight years after facing a debt of more than $2 million. When the curtain went down in 2004, the company had 44 dancers. Now, it's performing with just 18. This week's tour to Philadelphia brought two artists home.
May 11, 2013 |
Pennsylvania Ballet revived Carnival of the Animals on Thursday at the Academy of Music, and it continues to be a delightful, colorful piece that, like ballet, transforms characters into other beings. Written and narrated on stage by John Lithgow, and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon to music by Camille Saint-Saëns, Carnival is the story of a boy, Oliver Pendleton Percy the Third (the personable Lucas Tischler, notable in winters past as both Fritz and the Nutcracker Prince)
May 9, 2013 |
ACTOR John Lithgow 's next role? Ballerina. Lithgow, the Tony Award-winning actor known for his time on sitcom "Third Rock," is the narrator of the Pennsylvania Ballet's performance of "Carnival of the Animals," running May 9-12 at the Academy of the Music. Lithgow collaborated with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon on the story of a little boy who hides in the Museum of Natural History and imagines all of his friends as animals. "It's a wonderful notion, being locked-in," Lithgow said, adding that when he films in museums, he'll often wander off so he can experience the exhibits in peace and quiet.
April 16, 2013 |
Susanne V. Wood, 78, a dance historian, died Tuesday, April 9, from complications of dementia at Rydal Park Health Center in Montgomery County. Born in Germantown, the daughter of Susan Stauffer and Emil Vollmar, she moved around the country as a young woman before zeroing in on her passion - dance. She graduated from Holy Family High School in Auburn, N.Y., and attended St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind. She graduated from Katherine Gibbs School in New York City. In the mid-1950s, she began studying to become a dancer, part of the corps de ballet with the Washington School of Ballet and at the Ballet Russe School in New York.
March 12, 2013 |
'The course of true love never did run smooth," Shakespeare wrote in A Midsummer Night's Dream , an "I love you, I hate you, I love you" theme that also runs through nearly every ballet. It plays out in over-the-top fashion in George Balanchine's version of Midsummer , which the Pennsylvania Ballet opened Thursday night at the Academy of Music. Characters fall in and out of love over and over, thanks to the whims of Oberon (Jermel Johnson as the king of the fairies), a comedy of errors, and a little meddling from impish Puck, danced with impeccable comic timing by Alexander Peters.
March 3, 2013
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pennsylvania Ballet, which was founded in 1963 by Barbara Weisberger, a protégé of George Balanchine's. Weisberger had established the School of Pennsylvania Ballet a year earlier to train dancers for the company. Pennsylvania Ballet held its first local performance in the spring of 1964 at the Irvine Auditorium of the University of Pennsylvania. Since then, the ballet has performed and forged relationships with other companies across the country, and appeared on television, most notably in PBS's Dance in America series.
March 1, 2013 |
To ring up the curtain on its 50th-anniversary celebration, Balanchine-centric Pennsylvania Ballet will mount its first complete performance of a major gem in the master's crown: George Balanchine's Jewels . Later in the 2013-14 season, it will premiere new works by important contemporary choreographers Trey McIntyre and Matthew Neenan. In a nod to its own artistic lineage, the company will bring in pieces old (Balanchine's Serenade ) and new, by former artistic directors Christopher d'Amboise and Robert (Ricky)
February 10, 2013 |
On the eve of a snowy nor'easter, Pennsylvania Ballet danced the company premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain on Thursday night at the Merriam Theater. It is a gorgeous - and hopeful - homage to love and weather. Set to music by Arvo Pärt, the piece features three pairs of dancers clad simply in gray - Julie Diana and Zachary Hench, Evelyn Kocak and Ian Hussey, and Lauren Fadeley and James Ihde - storming the stage. The men first slide their partners, who are en pointe, across the floor; they sit while the women lean over them in arabesques; and finally, they lift their partners across the stage in succession, legs at various heights.
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.