Dance

Coverage of dance, movement, and related performance art in Philadelphia.

The Nutcracker. PA Ballet.

Dance ornaments sparkle in Pennsylvania Ballet’s NUTCRACKER (2013)

Pennsylvania Ballet is only one of just a few companies licensed to do Balanchine’s 1954 classic ballet.

Brian Sanders' JUNK in a pre-production photo of a scene from SNOWBALL (Photo credit: Ted Lieverman)

SNOWBALL (Brian Sanders’ JUNK): A Wondrous Urban Fairytale for Kids of All Ages

The latest installment of SNOWBALL, the annual wintertime extravaganza by Brian Sanders’ JUNK, is a must-see world-premiere holiday delight for the whole family. Combining a post-modern urban narrative with a charming “Winter Wonderland Furrytail,” the engaging two-act show will keep you smiling, gasping, oohing and aahing at its heartwarming moral, Sanders’ stunning choreography, and his acclaimed dance troupe’s extraordinary finesse.

Koresh Asya Zlatina and Jessica Daley. photo by Frank Bicking

THROUGH THE SKIN (Koresh): Flesh and the dance devil

The body beautiful is an aspect of dance that can be easily exploited. Two shows, from opposite ends of the dance spectrum, featuring scantily clad dancers, challenge audiences not to objectify – Koresh Dance’s Through the Skin and Flashdance, the Musical. In contrast to the sexy poster art for both show, they both un-voyeuristically sing the body electric.

Matthew Neenan

BalletX’s Matthew Neenan downshifts for THERE I WAS

Earlier this month BalletX dancers had their pointe shoes ready for a rehearsal for Matthew Neenan’s ballet There I Was. The piece showcases how inventive, within and out of specific pointe shoe classicism, Neenan can be. Even though it is weeks before the opening There I Was looks ready, Neenan only moved around to cue a specific music change, apologizing to the dancers for the pause.

Photo: Kathryn Raines

FALLING INTO HERE or THE IMPORTANCE OF NORMAL (The Naked Stark/ First Person Arts): Dance review

Fractured. Awry. Akilter. There is frighteningly little cohesion and order (or shall we call it normalcy?) in the dark visual and kinesthetic world that Katherine Kiefer Stark presents in Falling into Here or The Importance of Normal. The performance is a welcome dance work among the talking heads presentations of the 12th annual First Person Arts Festival, a 10-day affair dedicated mostly to autobiographical narrative expressed through storytelling and song.

Photo by Yi Zhao

THE GARDEN (Nichole Canuso Dance Company): Offer your hand…

Six audience members isn’t an empty house; that’s the full load for Nichole Canuso Dance Company’s THE GARDEN. The basement below us is an expansive concrete stretch, a network of small rooms and squared pillars, and we’re sent down into a smallish room scattered with chairs. We’re invited to sit wherever we like.

Emily L. Gibson and Steve Lippe in MAKING the WORLD a BETTER PLACE through MURALS.

NICE AND FRESH November (SmokeyScout): Get punched in the face by art at SmokeyScout Productions’ NICE AND FRESH

SmokeyScout is named after artistic director Josh McIlvain’s cats: Smokey and Scout. The program of the November NICE AND FRESH thanks them, along with Moving Arts of Mount Airy (MAMA), the intimate,…

Raphael Xavier. Photo by Brian Mengini.

Raphael Xavier’s THE UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO AUDIENCE WATCHING PERFORMANCE at the First Person Arts Festival

Published by The Dance Journal. Reprinted by kind permission. Like many artists, dancer Raphael Xavier has a difficult time describing exactly what he does for a living.  “I usually say…

Photo: Alexander Iziliaev

JEWELS (Pennsylvania Ballet): Dance review

Published by The Dance Journal, reprinted with kind permission. As noted in Lew Wittington’s interview with PA Ballet Artistic Director Roy Kaiser last month, George Balanchine’s iconic JEWELS is an immense undertaking. …

Sebastian Cummings, creator and performer in "I Am Because I Am" in DANCE IT OUT.

DANCE IT OUT: SEBASTIAN AND SHANNON (curated by Meg Foley): What Stays With You

Excerpted from thINKingDANCE.net. Upon entering the dark, intimate AUX space for Meg Foley’s first DANCE IT OUT (a new series she is curating), the crowd made chatter from their seats along…

Roy Keiser

Roy Kaiser looks forward and back as Pennsylvania Ballet turns 50

Published by The Dance Journal. Reprinted with kind permission. Pennsylvania Ballet launches its 50th season this month with the celebrations, reunions and gala performances, but the company has already been…

lucinda-childs-selected-dances-review

Modern dance DNA is Childs’ play

The retrospective of Judson Church choreographer-dancer Lucinda Childs’ SELECTED DANCES, 1963-78 last week was instructive and artistically purposeful. This work is still so vibrant in its exploratory nature that Childs’ innovations are part of the evolving dance stream.

Sarah Knittel stars in SADIE, REMEMBERED

NICE AND FRESH October (SmokeyScout): New art pops up

Fresh from the inaugural weekend of NICE AND FRESH, I’m heartened to report that SmokeyScout Productions (founded by Josh McIlvain and Deborah Crocker in 2008) now offers something new and…

nice and fresh mount airy

NICE AND FRESH theater in Mount Airy

What a pleasant corner of Philadelphia is Mount Airy. A suburban urban neighborhood: trees and grass yards but also sidewalks and train lines; driveways and quiet but also co-ops and…

beyond-the-light-leila-ghaznavi

[74] BEYOND THE LIGHT (Leila Ghaznavi and Pantea Productions): Fringe review

Beyond the Light is a devised puppetry/theater/music/acrobatics/dance exploring unrequited love through whimsical, nighttime wonderment. A blonde boy and a black-haired girl stand in separate shadows, glimpsing one-another across a chasm…

Roots, AKA performance Fringe review

[73] ROOTS (AKA performance): Fringe review

AKA performance is a new dance collective, formed by young choreographers Katrina Atkin, Ann-Marie Gover, and Alessandra Delle Grotti to showcase their individual approaches to dance. Finding a good balance…

HATCH (Birds on a Wire Dance Theatre): Fringe review

[66] HATCH (Birds on a Wire Dance Theatre): Fringe review

An exciting new company with a promising future, Birds on a Wire Dance Theatre presents a mini-festival of six short world-premiere performances in HATCH. Led by Artistic Director Melissa Rodis,…

Cavidad, Enza DePalma, Fringe review

[61] CAVIDAD (Enza DePalma): Fringe review :: Strangers in a Void

Excerpted from thINKingDANCE.net. There’s some strong male/female attraction buzzing through CAVIDAD, but it never loses its cool feel. The dancers come together in various combinations, relating, but keeping their distance, investigating—then…

CELEBRATING DANCE (Dancefusion & 360° Dance Company)

[60] CELEBRATING DANCE (Dancefusion & 360° Dance Company): Fringe review :: Then/Now

Excerpted from thINKingDANCE.net. I was riveted. Eve Gentry’s Tenant of the Street (1938) held me breathless as Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch, of 360° Dance Company, pushed her deeply curved body through the space of Mandell Theater’s…

Break/Drift/Resist, Tangle Movement Arts, fringe review

[59] BREAK/DRIFT/RESIST (Tangle Movement Arts): Fringe review :: Tonight I watch a mantis-limbed woman…

Excerpted from thINKingDANCE.net. Swings, hoops and ropes hang expectantly in the rectangular cavern that is Philadelphia Soundstages, drawing my gaze up and seeming to wait for a life giving touch. Tangle…