SUMMER SERIES (BalletX): Summertime satisfaction

Daniel Mayo dancing a solo to the music of Chris Kasper and band in BalletX's SUMMER SERIES 2015. Photo by

Daniel Mayo dancing a solo to the music of Chris Kasper and band in BalletX’s SUMMER SERIES 2015. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

BalletX’s SUMMER SERIES 2015, the grand finale of their 2014-2015 season, is ballet for all audiences. Featuring three works by Adam Hougland, who has had a strong bond with BalletX over the years, it represents the company’s achievements and evolution on the cusp of their 10 year anniversary season.

Risk of Flight, which was premiered in 2007 as the first work by Hougland for BalletX, opens the series. On a foggy stage with stark lighting, the dancers express struggles to strip away their emotional armor to evocative music by cellist Zoe Keating. The duet by Andrea Yorita and Gary W. Jeter II is especially moving. The two dancers’ graceful, sculptural movements visualize for the audience the conflict and contrast we have in our everyday lives. Repeated movements of restrain, release, conflict, harmony, rejection, and embrace lead the viewers to a dawn after the darkness.

Originally premiering in 2012, Mashup takes the viewer’s mood 180 degrees. In a traditional family room with a couch, five over-the-top 50s characters—there’s the dominatrix and virgin, the a nerd and the ladies man—find freedom from their frustrations and desires through a bunch of red roses. Danced in a variety of styles, such as jazz, tap, swing and of course, ballet, it is a funny, energetic, and sizzling piece. One can’t help but feel that you’re watching a hilarious comedy movie in a cozy room. The songs—familiar 1980s tunes played in a 1950s style by the parody band Big Daddy—add an extra layer to the overall fun mood of the piece.

Chloe Felesina and Edgar Anido in Adam Hougland's When We're Alone. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev

Chloe Felesina and Edgar Anido in Adam Hougland’s When We’re Alone.
Photo by Alexander Iziliaev

The highlight of the program is Hougland’s world premiere, When We’re Alone. Choreographed to music by Philadelphia singer-songwriter Chris Kasper, the piece sees dancers narrate the lyrics and melodies with graceful, powerful and sensual movements accompanied by live music played by Chris and his band.

The program is packed everything from serious to funny: tap, swing and jazz, all thoroughly infused with and supported by the dancers’ strong foundation in classical ballet. The two hour–long performance will leave you pleasantly fatigued but with the sort of satisfaction that can be felt in the night after a long, hot summer day filled with fun activity.

[The Wilma Theater 265 South Broad Street] July 8-12, 2015; balletx.org.

  • Read an interview with Chris Kasper about his collaboration with BalletX
  • Watch Chris’s newest music video (below), featuring dancers from BalletX

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About the author

Eri Yoneda

Eri Yoneda writes about dance and classical music for Phindie.