January 7, 2016 |
It was a cultural clash unseen even in a city long defined by the confrontational fanaticism of its sports fans: a grande bataille between a trash-talking Eagles fan and an elegant defender of the ballet. And in yet another sign that Philadelphia may be a city in transformation, a city rightly celebrated for much more than sports, a cracked bell, and steak on a roll, the ballet guy owned the Eagles guy. Big time. The emotions of the cultural imbroglio have settled, and with no permanent ill will.
December 20, 2015
The Pennsylvania Ballet transformed the Ballroom at Hyatt at the Bellevue into the annual Nutcracker Magic Holiday Feast on Dec. 12. Fun was had by all as children of all ages dressed up in their holiday best, dined on kid-friendly food, and danced in a real ballroom. They also made crafts with other little buddies and met live characters from The Nutcracker , taking photos with the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Mouse King, and even holding a live monkey. All this magic - and then they were off to a matinee performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet at the Academy of Music.
December 16, 2015 |
A ham is born, and a new level of excitement continues, at Pennsylvania Ballet. First, about that ham. Friday's opening-night cast of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker included 8-year-old Rowan Duffy as Fritz, the troublemaking little brother. Already a promising dancer, he was the picture of petulance when scolded for yet another round of mischief-making. Duffy was far from the only standout. The level of dancing and acting has clearly risen companywide at the ballet, as has the caliber of young students recruited to fill the enormous number of roles Nutcracker requires.
December 7, 2015 |
There are Disney princesses by the dozen for girls to dream about, but far fewer role models for petit princes. Still, Zy'Ear Irving knows what it's like to be royalty. The 11-year-old from South Philadelphia is one of three boys playing the Nutcracker Prince in Pennsylvania Ballet's George Balanchine's The Nutcracker , which opens Friday at the Academy of Music (information at paballet.org). It is his second year in the role. A sixth grader at the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School, Zy'Ear lives with his grandparents, Cheryl and Bobby Irving, and teenage sisters Izhan'e and Bobbi, and has studied ballet in school since first grade.
December 2, 2015
The long: Now, for the sixth winter, Philly's media giant opens its memory-chip-shaped skyscraper's lobby to crowds for a 15-minute, extra-hi-res, wall-projected LED show that puts your TV screen to shame while simultaneously recalling beloved local holiday traditions. The short: The only free thing you'll get from Comcast this season - or ever. The demo: All ages. If you're short, arrive 20 minutes early for a spot up front. The times: On the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
November 27, 2015 |
In their first phone call with the birth mother who had chosen them - a young woman, eight months pregnant - she asked a question that took Jermel and David by surprise: If the baby grows up and turns out to be interested in girls, would you let him? Both men flashed on their own life stories: David, whose friends call him DJ, grew up in Lancaster and became a firefighter and paramedic; for a time, he wondered whether being gay and having a family were incompatible. Jermel, raised in Baltimore, was the first black male principal dancer in the Pennsylvania Ballet.
November 18, 2015 |
'This leg must be stretched all the way out. I have to see you struggling to get it all the way," choreographer Nicolo Fonte insists as he pulls Edgar Anido's leg up to demonstrate to the rest of the BalletX dancers. Such were the rigorous demands of rehearsal last week - fine-tuning every gesture, every facial expression. The Brooklyn native retired from dancing 15 years ago, once his now-international choreographic career began to soar. He last worked with BalletX in 2013, when he set Beautiful Decay , his first full-length evening, on the company.
November 9, 2015 |
The dance world has gained a lot of exposure in recent years from reality TV, YouTube, and social media. Shows like Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance have led to more looks behind the curtain, with Breaking Pointe, the fictional Bunheads (both of which had loyal fans but have been canceled), and a host of Web series focusing on schools and ballet companies, plus tips and tricks from dancers. The latest dance show to land is Flesh and Bone , an eight-part limited series premiering Sunday night on Starz and starring Pennsylvania Ballet alum Sarah Hay, now a soloist with Germany's Dresden Semperoper Ballet.
November 3, 2015 |
MOIRA Walley-Beckett is "drawn to dark. " Which is why, after years of writing for "Breaking Bad" - winning an Emmy for the celebrated "Ozymandias" episode - she did the next logical thing. She formed a ballet company. And while you can't buy tickets to that 22-member troupe's one and only season, you can see it perform beginning Sunday, on Starz, in Walley-Beckett's "Flesh and Bone. " An eight-episode limited series that stars newcomer Sarah Hay as Claire Robbins, a troubled young dancer on the cusp of a brilliant career, "Flesh and Bone" is set in a world that its creator, a former actress and dancer, knows something about.
October 28, 2015 |
I don't put much stock in performing-arts retrospectives. A gallery can hold decades of paintings; an evening of dance lets us peer back at just a handful. Such is the case with Trisha Brown Dance Company's "Proscenium Works, 1979-2011," which features three of Brown's creations from the 1980s to 2003. To Bryn Mawr College's credit, the dance performance is one of many events for In the New Body , a yearlong celebration of Brown's artistry that includes lectures, master classes, and performances culminating in June, when the Pennsylvania Ballet presents O zlozony/O composite , the first American ballet company to stage one of Brown's works.