March 8, 2014 |
Pennsylvania Ballet gave an encore of a signature work and added another Balanchine ballet to its repertoire for its opening Thursday night at the Academy of Music. Both were part of the company's yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. Carmina Burana has been in the troupe's repertoire since 1966, when John Butler staged his 1959 work on Pennsylvania Ballet to Carl Orff's secular cantata. In 2007, choreographer-in-residence Matthew Neenan reinterpreted the ballet with new choreography, costumes, and sets.
March 4, 2014 |
WHEN Edwin Huntingdon Parker's Philadelphia apartment was robbed, he shrugged and said, "They probably needed it more than me. " That sounded like Parker. He was generous and forgiving almost to a fault. "He was honest even when it was to his detriment," said longtime friend Robert Kahn, AIDS activist and supervisor in the city's Anti-Bias Agency. "He was one of the most honest, positive and generous people I have ever known. " Edwin Huntingdon Parker, well-known in the theater world as a costume designer who worked with local theater and opera companies and toured the world with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, died Feb. 9 of metastatic lung cancer.
February 12, 2014 |
It was cold, polar vortex cold. Schools were closed and heavy snow was on the way. But for nearly 600 dancers, plus supporters bundled up in puffy coats, hats, and blankets outside the Merriam Theater as much as 11 hours ahead of call time, it was worth it. Worth it for the possibility of dancing on TV, working with great choreographers, and maybe a place on the "hot-tamale train" to stardom. That is judge Mary Murphy's signature phrase, and she utters it when a dancer blows her away on So You Think You Can Dance . Murphy, along with Nigel Lythgoe, host Cat Deeley, and Tony-winner guest judge Billy Porter ( Kinky Boots)
February 9, 2014 |
How do you summarize 50 years of performance in 105 minutes? Pennsylvania Ballet, celebrating its half-century this year, did it Thursday night with a mini-tour of its repertory as it opened a four-day run at the Merriam Theater. The program began with "Serenade," one of the company's signature ballets. Founder Barbara Weisberger was a child in 1935 when she sat under a piano at the newly formed School of American Ballet and watched George Balanchine create it. The choreographer later gave "Serenade," along with a number of his other masterpieces, to Weisberger to get her young troupe on its feet.
December 27, 2013 |
For six years, Alessandra Mullin excelled at Masterman, one of the top schools in the state. But when she heard about a new cyber venture of the Philadelphia School District, she was intrigued. Mullin dances with the Pennsylvania Ballet, and switching to online education would allow her to pursue her dream of dancing full time, she reasoned. The Philadelphia Virtual Academy wasn't an easy sell, though - her parents were loath to allow Mullin to surrender her seat in such a good school, especially in her last year of high school.
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 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 22, 2013 |
Mayor Nutter dined on smoked chicken wings, viewed a photo exhibit celebrating the Pennsylvania Ballet's 50th anniversary, and met staff at the posh XpresSpa Wednesday, all in Philadelphia International Airport's newly renovated Terminal F. US Airways chief operating officer Robert Isom came in for the grand opening of the terminal expansion. Travelers mingled with airline and airport employees and the workers in 20 new shops and restaurants in Terminal F served up tasty, free food - including pulled pork sandwiches, roast Brussels sprouts, homemade pretzels, and pastries.
November 17, 2013 |
Dancer/choreographer Amanda Miller keeps refining her choreographic chops, researching new work with a small group of dancers and theater artists that includes her partner, videographer Tobin Rothlein, and, in this case, Kristin Kest, a sci-fi illustrator turned dramaturg. The company, approaching its 10th year and now called simply Miller Rothlein, opened Forbidden Creature Virgin Whore Thursday evening at the White Space at Crane Arts Old School, where they have been in residence.
October 20, 2013 |
Pennsylvania Ballet opened its 50th anniversary season with a celebration of pure, luxurious beauty with the company premiere of George Balanchine's Jewels Thursday night at the Academy of Music. It is a plotless ballet in three acts - "Emeralds," set to music by Faure; "Rubies" to Stravinsky; and "Diamonds" to Tchaikovsky - but the dancers conveyed bits of story. Lauren Fadeley and Ian Hussey darted playfully through formations of corps dancers in puffs of green tulle while performing swirling arm movements, grand developees, and luscious port de bras.