September 8, 2014 |
At the gala opening of the spectacular new FringeArts building on Columbus Boulevard on Friday night, the air was charged with so much electricity I was glad the place was no longer in use as a pumping station. Though there was no danger of electrocution, the crowd, there to see the Pennsylvania Ballet in new works, could have crushed you. What I Learned About Outer Space , a co-creation of Pennsylvania Ballet, Curtis Institute of Music, and FringeArts, turned out, overall, to have the contrived feeling these sorts of commissioned collaborations often do - not quite shotgun wedding, but more "Let's make this relationship work.
August 11, 2014 |
Having left thriving artistic careers in Cuba, ballet dancers John White and Margarita de Saá landed in a rundown room above a Narberth movie theater. The space, in need of renovation, represented a radical change from the days when the couple danced on the world's biggest stages as part of the National Ballet of Cuba. It was in 1964 that White and de Saá gave up career, family, and, in de Saá's case, country, to flee the Fidel Castro regime. They eventually chose the tiny Montgomery County borough, 2,000 miles from Havana, as the place to start over, opening their ballet school in 1974.
July 28, 2014 |
Philadelphia in the Rockies? "It'll be so beautiful there!" Amy Aldridge says, thinking of dancing with a tall, dark stranger among the pines. Aldridge and nearly every other Philadelphia professional ballet dancer will be dancing outdoors in Colorado this week at the Vail International Dance Festival. The Pennsylvania Ballet and BalletX were invited to perform in one of the season's most prestigious summer dance festivals, which opens Sunday night. "It's sort of our Philadelphia story," says Damian Woetzel, artistic director of the festival and a retired star from the New York City Ballet.
July 26, 2014 |
Philadelphia is loaded with small dance companies, as anyone who has ever been to Fringe knows. These troupes rarely get to perform in fancy theaters, and it takes a lot of motivation for audiences to trek out to dingy performance spaces and sit on uncomfortable folding chairs all night. For the second year, Koresh Dance Company invited its colleagues to perform in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre in the Come Together Dance Festival. Over five days, which began Wednesday night, 24 companies have their 15 or so minutes of fame.
July 25, 2014 |
The Pennsylvania Ballet, once a major national dance company, turned 50 this year and was in need of a makeover. It got an immediate jolt Tuesday when it named Angel Corella its new artistic director, effective in September. Corella, 38, a former principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, is an international star who has performed with every major company around the globe. He's modeled for Rolex watches and appeared in ads for champagne with Gwyneth Paltrow. Most recently, he ran his own company, Corella Ballet Castilla y León, which became the Barcelona Ballet but which has since folded.
July 24, 2014 |
The Pennsylvania Ballet has hired a new artistic director: Ángel Corella, a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. The Spanish-born Corella, 38, whose appointment was approved Tuesday by the board, is slated to start part-time in September, then full-time in January. He succeeds Roy Kaiser, who announced his retirement in April and will step down in October. A ballet spokeswoman said Corella was not available for an interview. Corella, who was born in Madrid, joined ABT in 1995 and was promoted to principal a year later.
July 9, 2014 |
'We're having so much fun!" Not what you expect to hear from the composer of a new evening-length ballet for which neither the music nor the choreography was complete only two weeks before its world premiere. But, despite long days of hard work and little sleep, New Zealand's Rosie Langabeer seemed utterly sincere, remarkably relaxed, and infectiously enthusiastic when she said this at a late-June open rehearsal of BalletX's Sunset, o639 Hours , opening Wednesday. Inside the Performance Garage on Brandywine Street, while Langabeer rehearsed the musicians, choreographer Matthew Neenan worked with the company's dancers: 10 first-rate artists in shorts, tank tops, and pointe shoes.
June 15, 2014 |
Pennsylvania Ballet closes its 50th anniversary season as a company in transition. Artistic director Roy Kaiser will leave once a new director can be found. Executive director Michael Scolamiero is off to a new job. The ballet's 50th anniversary finale program, which opened Thursday night at the Merriam, is a rather serious celebration, but the dancing - much of it duets set to piano music played by Martha Koeneman - impressed. The cast of dancers has changed more than usual in the last year or two, as well, and presumably will change even more under a new director.
June 2, 2014 |
BALLERINAS need vacations, too. (Incredibly well-deserved ones.) But as the big companies wind down their seasons, some innovators break out novel, refreshing programming to tide over us over during the beachgoing months. The Tap-Ballet Project, June 6. Six tap dancers and four ballet dancers, backed by a jazz quartet, thunder out the collaborative work "Meet Us at the Corner," created by Elisabeth Holowchuk (from Suzanne Farrell Ballet) and Dorothy Wasserman (as seen in the movie "Tap")