March 8, 2015 |
When a sensational dancer first steps onstage, it's as exciting for me as for an astronomer discovering a nova. Zachary Hench gave such a moment when he flashed his star quality stepping out as Prince Siegfried in Christopher Wheeldon's production of Swan Lake in 2004. Newly commissioned by Pennsylvania Ballet, it was a million-dollar gamble I hope has paid off in real money as much as it does in artistic quality and innovation. I reviewed that premiere, but looking back on it, I did not fully appreciate its value.
December 1, 2014 |
Ballet or college? Many young dancers ask themselves that question. For Elizabeth Mateer, the matter was even more complicated when she received a job offer from Pennsylvania Ballet 2, the second company, as well as an acceptance to Harvard. Mateer, now 24, chose ballet. Five years later, as a member of the first company's corps de ballet, her decision is paying off in featured roles. In October, she shone in performances of Christopher Wheeldon's Liturgy and Alexei Ratmansky's Jeu de Cartes . Next she'll dance Sugar Plum in some performances of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker , opening Saturday.
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.
December 15, 2012 |
Ovations, spiked with wolf whistles, erupted throughout much of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo's Thursday night opening Dance Celebration program at the Annenberg Center. And the Trocks, as they affectionately call themselves, shamelessly cadged for more. Even during the final poignant moments of his solo - Mikhail Fokine's Dying Swan , to the famous Saint-Saëns music - Roberto Forleo, as Marina Plezegetovstageskaya, lifted his false eyelashes and furled his manicured fingertips, hustling for applause.
August 2, 2012 |
Hello there In early 2003, Melissa, now the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts' executive vice president of development, was grants manager at the Pennsylvania Ballet. She was seeking a hugely important Dance Advance grant to fund Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake . Needing to learn as much about the production as possible, Melissa made an appointment with the ballet's artistic director, Roy. Before the interview, Melissa and Roy knew of each other. Roy had unknowingly gotten Melissa in trouble, when she followed his example of wearing jeans to work.
February 16, 2011 |
THE PENNSYLVANIA Ballet can't directly attribute the brisk ticket sales for its production of "Swan Lake" to the popularity of the film "Black Swan," but a ballet spokeswoman suspects that the movie has helped. "Swan Lake," which runs March 3-12 at the Academy of Music, is selling "really well," says Marissa Montenegro , public- relations manager for the ballet. " 'Black Swan' is putting ballet on the tips of people's tongues and attracting people who hadn't previously thought of ballet, which is great," she said.
December 10, 2010 |
IN "THE WRESTLER," Mickey Rourke rakes his body with staples, glass fragments, razors and barbed wire. But is he tough enough to be a ballerina? Probably not, judging by the marathon of masochism that is "Black Swan," featuring Natalie Portman as a dancer who threatens to drown in a production of "Swan Lake. " Both movies are the work of director Darren Aronofsky, cinema's leading authority on self-mutilation, if not suffering in general (now that Mel Gibson's in early retirement)
November 8, 2008 |
Montreal choreographer ?douard Lock brought his company La La La Human Steps to Philadelphia for its Kimmel Center debut Thursday to mixed reactions from the audience. Lock's Amjad awed many with the piece's relentless speed and focus, its perilous darkness, its tricked-out Tchaikovsky, and its vicious refusal to be nice. As Matthew Bourne had for his almost all-male Swan Lake a few years ago, Lock, for Amjad, revisited that iconic early ballet, as well as its younger sister, Sleeping Beauty.
June 10, 2008 |
In December, Pennsylvania Ballet debuted its splendidly refurbished Nutcracker. Six months later, it has staged the local premiere of another ballet that, while much shorter than the holiday classic, is equally whimsical. The delightfully witty Carnival of the Animals, first performed Friday night at the Academy of Music, was choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon (who choreographed Swan Lake for the Pennsylvania Ballet in 2004) and set to a story written by actor John Lithgow. Lithgow appeared on stage to narrate the first three performances.
March 13, 2008 |
Let's forgive My Fair Lady its various trespasses for the moment. The musical, currently touring the United States in a boldfaced revival by England's Cameron Mackintosh/National Theatre (directed by Trevor Nunn! choreographed by Matthew Bourne! designed by Anthony Ward!), might be unbearably sexist, obliviously homoerotic and gleefully snobbish, but if you can resist Lerner and Loewe's glorious songs you just ain't 'uman, you ain't. So yes, the music here is loverly, which one would expect from a top-shelf Brit production, as are the acting, dancing, costumes and set. Everything and everyone is technically proficient.