January 29, 2012 |
The forecast for the spring dance season is bittersweet. A lot of fantastic-sounding new choreography is planned, but we are also saying goodbye to two icons. On the plus side, I look forward to several programs from Pennsylvania Ballet, especially the company premieres of Trey McIntyre's Peter Pan ; Jerome Robbins' N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz , a ballet in sneakers; and a world premiere from company choreographer in residence Matthew Neenan. In a Philadelphia-greatness two-for-one, hip-hop hero Rennie Harris is choreographing a new piece for Philadanco.
January 15, 2012 |
Joan Myers Brown & the Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina A Biohistory of American Performance By Brenda Dixon Gottschild Palgrave Macmillan. 370 pp. $27 This is a Philadelphia story that rivals Rocky in blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention fabulous footwork. Joan Myers Brown & the Audacious Hope for the Black Ballerina is, of course, about the visionary founder and artistic director of Philadanco, the internationally renowned dance troupe that is still going strong after 40 years and that embodies the spirit of Philadelphia.
January 13, 2012 |
SHANTEL M. McCOY packed an abundance of accomplishment and adventure into her 32 years. But as an intelligent, ambitious and attractive young woman, she still had a long way to go. Or so it should have been. Shantel's episodic life ended tragically Sunday when she died in an apartment fire in Chicago, where she had gone in March in search of more adventure. The Philadelphia woman, who had traveled the world, was a church and community leader in Philadelphia, where her compassionate need to help others was expressed in many activities.
November 8, 2011 |
In a perfect world, all dance would be performed to live music. In reality, it is a luxury few companies can afford. That's why it was a joy to see Philadanco dance Watching Go By, the Day when it opened a four-performance series called "For Your Pleasure" Friday night at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater. Choreographed by company alumna Hope Boykin, the piece featured 10 dancers plus the Ali Jackson Quintet, which played live on stage. Watching Go By , a Philadelphia premiere, is set to an original score by Jackson, and has the dancers reacting to and riffing with the musicians.
September 11, 2011
'I love dance as an art form," says current Chicago mayor, former White House chief of staff, and onetime dance student Rahm Emanuel, a Chicago native who wants his city to be known for its moves. Like Philadelphia, it is a first-rate dance town, and, with Philadelphia, it is recognized by national dance media as one of the top five in the country. But it doesn't eclipse Philadelphia. Four well-established, critically acclaimed resident companies - the Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadanco, BalletX, and Koresh Dance Company - bring choreographic cachet to the Avenue of the Arts.
May 10, 2011 |
The Earth goddess of Philadelphia dance, Joan Myers Brown, hurled a thunderbolt of a program at the near-capacity audience in the Kimmel's Perelman Theater Friday evening - but instead of running for cover, the crowd erupted in cheers as each of the four works ended. It started with a vigorous sun shower, a reprise of Milton Myers' Violin Concerto to the Philip Glass work of that name. Myers has been resident choreographer for Philadanco since 1986; this is one of my favorite pieces by him. Clad in variations of purple, 10 dancers race in diagonals across the stage to Glass' pulse and, in a second section, stop the action with bodybuilding poses.
December 9, 2010
THE FILM "Black Swan" with Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, which opens in Philadelphia tomorrow, has come under fire because of the dramatic 20 pounds lost by each of the already-thin performers so they could portray ballerinas. With eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating on the rise, this movie concerns Susan Kleinman, the dance-movement therapist at Philadelphia-headquartered Renfrew Center. "Our culture promotes eating disorders, and some experts estimate the increase has gone up as much as 117 percent," said Kleinman.
May 9, 2010 |
In 1960, back before the civil rights movement turned north, back when African Americans found themselves unwelcome in many of the city's signature organizations, Joan Myers Brown started a dance school for children, way out on Market Street. No one in the big downtown arts groups seemed to notice. Why should they? Black children were excluded from white dance schools, and no black dancers graced the stages of mainstream dance companies here or most anywhere else in the country.
May 9, 2010 |
In 1960, back before the civil rights movement turned north, back when African Americans found themselves unwelcome in many of the city's signature organizations, Joan Myers Brown started a dance school for children, way out on Market Street. No one in the big downtown arts groups seemed to notice. Why should they? Black children were excluded from white dance schools, and no black dancers graced the stages of mainstream dance companies here or most anywhere else in the country. In 1970, Brown founded the Philadelphia Dance Company, known universally as Philadanco, to give her students a shot at professional performance and to make a visible African American presence in the world of classic and modern dance.
April 17, 2010 |
Joan Myers Brown, whose determination to open up the world of dance to the creative energies of African Americans led her to found a groundbreaking dance school and performing ensemble here, has been named the 89th winner of the Philadelphia Award. The award, announced Friday night at a gala performance celebrating the 40th anniversary of Brown's renowned dance company, Philadanco, at the Kimmel Center, will be presented at an award ceremony there May 10. In addition to founding Philadanco in 1970, Brown founded the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts in 1960.