April 22, 2015 |
In his play Joe Turner's Come and Gone , August Wilson uses song as a metaphor for an individual's highest essence, the true self. Those who have forgotten their songs are forever searching for them. Song as soul or self inspired A Forgotten Moon-Song , the lovely and lyrical world-premiere commission that three-time Bessie Award-winner Dianne McIntyre set on Philadanco to open the company's spring run at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater on Friday night. Joan Myers Brown, founder and director of 45-year-old Philadanco, designed a program, "Having Our Say . . .," of female choreographers whose work spans four generations.
February 8, 2015 |
When it comes to Philadanco, the award-winning dance company she created back in 1970, Joan Myers Brown is all focus. Fervor for the company, she acknowledges, has been second only to her delight in family. "My home, well, it's a good place to kick off my shoes and relax. But it's nothing fancy. " What her University City home is, however, is a warm and welcoming place that has brought Brown back from her years of rearing children in the suburbs to a more urban existence.
December 17, 2014 |
Philadanco came to the Kimmel Center last weekend for its annual holiday treat. This time it presented a suite of dances it called "Dance Is . . . Risky Business," and indeed, Friday night's athletic performance could have knocked preconceived notions out of a skeptical dance newbie with a single jeté. The company performs Daniel Ezralow's Pulse , set to music by David Lang, every few years, and it's fun every time. Where dancers would usually do anything to avoid a skid, here they revel in skidding, wearing special footwear that lets them slide across the stage but still control their movements, stopping for a casual run or a series of impressive turns.
November 14, 2014 |
The rich are getting richer and the poor are wasting away. Hundreds of representatives of city arts organizations at a meeting Wednesday night heard that unsettling, if not surprising, message about Philadelphia's cultural sector. According to data gathered by University of Pennsylvania researchers, the city experienced an "explosion of inequality" in the cultural world from 1997 to 2011. Despite talk of growth and the economic power of the arts, the cultural profile is at best scarred and pitted, particularly beyond Center City.
September 14, 2014 |
THE BIG NEWS here is the appointment of Spanish-born dancer Angel Corella, taking over Pennsylvania Ballet's artistic directorship after Roy Kaiser's 19-year reign. Corella, who rocketed to stardom with the American Ballet, should give the company an exciting ride. Meanwhile, Philadanco launches its 45th season, Pennsylvania Ballet alumnus Matthew Neenan continues to create works for BalletX, Annenberg Theatre's Dance Celebration hosts a full schedule of visitors and the Painted Bride has its usual delights.
August 22, 2014 |
UNTIL an unfortunate shooting outside Dell Music Center last week at a rap concert, things had been looking totally rosy at the Fairmount Park venue this summer. Four out of the five Essence of Entertainment concerts so far have been sellouts (5,284 seats plus 600 lawn seats). The fifth (July 24, Roberta Flack/Peabo Bryson) pulled a respectable 4,000 patrons. A recent (Aug. 1) gospel show top billed by Mary Mary sold twice as many tickets as in prior years. Overall, ticket sales at the Dell have doubled this year, and for the first time in memory patrons attempting to buy tickets the day of show have been turned away.
July 22, 2014 |
With the Come Together Festival presenting five nights of dance and the city celebrating the annual Philadelphia Dance Day with free workshops, performances, and a massive dance party on Saturday, you won't be able to miss dance in Philadelphia this week. You can either sit through it or get up and do it, but why not do both? For the festival, Koresh Dance Company is sharing one of its weeks at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre with an ingathering of regional companies, both well-established and upstarts.
May 7, 2014 |
There are several Philadelphia dance companies that perform here only a few times a year, touring the rest of their seasons. So every time Philadanco, Rennie Harris, or Koresh Dance Company opens here, I wonder if Philadelphians realize the treasure that just blipped across their consciousness. Koresh opened a new piece, Promises I Never Meant to Keep, Friday at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, and it was a stunner, showing the breadth of the Israeli-influenced modern dance company through a series of vignettes about offhand moments and remarks that become more important over time.
April 20, 2014 |
To a packed house, Philadanco brought back Donald Byrd's 1995 BAMM at its spring offering at the Kimmel's Perelman Theater Thursday night. I first saw it in 2004 with the now-retired force of nature Odara Jabali-Nash as the center of its centrifugal force. This time, six dancers revolve around veteran company dancer Roxanne Lyst like numbers on a spinning clock. The missing hands of this no-tick-tock clock are Mio Morales' quick-pulsed percussive score, which ultimately hurls the dancers from the circle and into various patterns around the stage.
January 27, 2014
Philadelphia is uniquely placed on the American dance scene thanks to the quantity and quality of our local dance companies. Over the last century and more, no city, outside of New York, has had as many and such varied professional companies. Part of this richness arises from at least five fine university dance departments, which draw talent from all over the country. And part arises from the friendly funding climate, savvy dance audiences, and affordable cost of living here. Dancers love Philadelphia and it loves them back.