July 6, 2008 |
Jeri Packman, 88, a dance educator who taught creative movement to Philadelphia schoolchildren and teachers for more than 60 years and was a leader in Philadanco and the Philadelphia Dance Alliance, died of heart failure Tuesday at her home in Center City. Mrs. Packman, born Gertrude Coplin, celebrated her 88th birthday with family members Tuesday night. After they left, she died. "My mother had a flair for the dramatic," daughter Hedra Packman said. "She was strong-willed and left this world when she was ready.
May 10, 2008 |
As Philadanco approaches its 40th season in 2010, it continues to travel the world annually, playing to appreciative crowds from Asia to Europe. In mid-March, the company returned from a four-week tour of 22 cities in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Hungary to begin rehearsing for its current spring run at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, called "In the Black Tradition. " In Philadanco's West Philly studios earlier this week, founder and artistic director Joan Myers Brown talked about the program, and the spring tour.
December 15, 2007 |
It's the holiday season, and Philadanco has given itself, and audience members, some gifts. The company added two impressive world premieres to its repertoire, as well as two new vignettes to its witty Xmas Philes. All debuted Thursday, when Philadanco opened its annual winter concert series at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater. Elisa Monte plays homage to 20th-century German modernist painter and color theorist Josef Albers in "Light Lies Beyond," a piece for eight dancers in brightly hued costumes on a white floor.
May 31, 2007 |
Can you feel Broad Street vibrating? DanceBoom!, the Wilma Theater's annual celebration of the city's rich and diverse contemporary dance scene, opens tonight. "This is a delicious time for a dance lover to be in Philadelphia," says Lois Welk, artistic adviser to DanceBoom! curator Terry Fox - and it's hard to argue with that. Running through June 7, this sixth edition of the popular festival features a dozen very different companies: seven performing on the Wilma's main stage and five presenting free "streetside" shows - literally on Broad Street, right outside the theater.
November 18, 2006 |
It really was a dark and stormy night - complete with tornado warnings - when Philadanco opened its fall season at the Kimmel Center on Wednesday. Perhaps because of the weather, the Perelman Theater was less than two-thirds full. But the enthusiastic crowd witnessed a superbly performed sampler of works from Danco's ever-expanding repertory. To help celebrate the Kimmel's fifth anniversary, Philadanco founder and executive artistic director Joan Myers Brown assembled a typically varied selection - one world premiere, the restaging of a classic modern dance, and two recent pieces - by a quartet of choreographers.
November 15, 2006 |
IN PHILADANCO'S West Philadelphia studios, accolades honoring founder and director Joan Myers Brown cover every wall. If awards for persistence, determination and blind hope were given, there'd be even more. As it is, she'll have to make room for another one. Monday night in New York, Brown received the prestigious Dance Magazine award, with Philadanco performing a work created in her honor by Ronald K. Brown, "For Mother. " Dance Magazine was an important resource for Brown when she founded the company in 1970, since blacks weren't accepted then in many local dance schools.
May 20, 2006 |
The sky - or rather the ceiling - was the limit Thursday night when Philadanco dancers soared through the air in a world premiere at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, confident that their partners would catch them. The floor was also the limit, and the dancers pushed that boundary as well, sliding across it on their feet, lying on it, and getting into it by executing multiple pirouettes on flat feet and bent knees. Cottonwool, choreographed by Christopher L. Huggins, was an exciting, high-energy ballet of unusual lifts, sliding movements, long leaps, split jumps, and double air-turns.
April 13, 2006 |
It isn't only Philadelphia groups like Philadanco and Group Motion that have celebrated big birthdays lately (both recently turned 35). On Tuesday, the Mark Morris Dance Group, a youthful 25, followed its monthlong New York birthday bash with a concert at Princeton's McCarter Theatre, demonstrating that Morris, the younger lion, is a king of his chosen realm. That would be the profound, age-old connection between music and dance. Morris' dancers don't so much move to music as fuse with it. Phrase for phrase, note for note, they hew to the music's spirit, rhythmic structure and harmonic qualities, playing out ecstasies and darker moods within his fulfilling, complex structures.
December 19, 2005 |
There are only so many ways to crack a nut. So, beloved though The Nutcracker may be, it's a relief to have other holiday dance options. Philadanco answered the call last weekend with the entertaining "Xmas Philes" at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater. Choreographed in 2000 by Daniel Ezralow, "Philes" is family friendly yet sexy; hip yet set to familiar music; funny; and, unlike many other holiday dance programs, offers a lot of very good dancing. Highlights of the piece include the "12 Daz" section, with dancers in pajamas each adding a dance phrase to the 12 days of Christmas.
May 7, 2005 |
A single world premiere on a dance program is usually something to celebrate. The finale of Philadanco's 35th-anniversary season offers three, and all show off the best assets of the Kimmel Center's resident modern-dance company: speed, stamina, beautiful bodies, and mastery of many styles of dance. In the opening number of the performance in the Perelman Theater, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's Between Earth and Home, eight women strut out dressed as birds. They pose, they fly, they flutter in quick contractions of the arms and abdomen.