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Doris R

Pennsylvania Ballet

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Just wondering if anyone saw PA Ballet's last performance for the season. The audience really got into Margo Sappington's Rodin Mis en Vie -- Rodin's sculptures brought to life by dancers in painted unitards. The Athlete was energetic and powerful, The Kiss was so sensual and beautiful it made me cry. The Gates of Hell was the finale and it was limbs and bodies entwined and tossed about all over the place. (Oh those wild 70's!) It was certainly a crowd pleaser. I understand every performance brought the audience to their feet. It was quite a contrast from last month's beautiful tutus and tiaras of Sleeping Beauty but a great way to end the season -- and hopefully will bring in some new subscribers for next year.

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Thanks for this, Doris. Unfortunately, although we have at least a dozen people in Philadelphia, they don't post about what they've seen! (I hope they GO to the ballet :) )

I missed "Rodin Mis En Vie" the first time around and I'm not sure I'd like it, but it's nice to read about. I would be very glad to read about what's happening with Pennsylvania Ballet. They used to be a very good Balanchine company. So I hope you'll report through the season -- and maybe that will spur others to join in and we can have a special forum for Pennsylvania Ballet too!

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Although I didn't see this performance, a friend of mine did and enjoyed it - although she had seen it before when Valentina Kozlova performed The Kiss and actually liked it better. :) One thing my friend said that struck me was that she felt Ms. Sappington choreographed the emotion into the ballet. Doris R, how do you feel about this?

I've seen two other pieces by Margo Sappinton and thought both were excellent - the dancers who performed the pieces were also very good. ;) I've heard that some, feel her roots in musical theater are too strong - but I don't hold that against her, and quite enjoy her approach.

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This was the first Margo Sappington piece I've seen. The emotion choreographed in? Your friend may have a point, but it still has to be carried off. I saw two performances with different casts, and both versions of The Kiss were beautiful. To me it was an idealized portrayal of young love and passion. The first evening I got teary, the second afternoon, I cried. Maybe because the second performance was done by a young apprentice who made me believe it was real. Whatever, it was fun! I wouldn't want a steady diet of this, but it made for an entertaining show.

at -- Unfortuantely, PA Ballet has lost their Balanchine connection for next year. Ballet Mistress, Sandra Jennings, is going to San Fransico Ballet. She'll be in Philladelphia at the beginning of the season to set their Balanchine program, but she is officially gone. :)

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As interesting as the most recent ballets may have been (I didn't see them, but I've never been impressed with Sappington's work on ballet companies, and Janek Schergen's [excuse misspellings] version of Beauty feels musically wrong in places), I'd still like to see PA Ballet rachet itself up a notch in terms of reperetory development. Where are the ballets by Forsythe? Wheeldon? Duate? (I don't even think they have a Kylian ballet in the rep.) And why don't they do the full-length Jewels?

I strongly feel that the company does not reach as high as it could in terms of long-range artistic vision. Their excellent dancers deserve more.

Ray

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I'd like to see PA ballet ratchet itself up a notch too (it's a nice company I don't get to see too much, but I like when I see it.) but I will ask a tangential question. Does everyone have to do a Forsythe or a Duato piece to ratchet up their repertory? It's a tough choice, on the one hand there's having a repertory in stasis and unhappy dancers, but I'm also seeing Repertory Lockstep out there. We had a thread a little while before you joined, Ray, called "The National Ballet of Anywhere" - and there's the Anywhere Regional Ballet too. And at this point I think the Anywhere Regional Ballet does Steptext and Na Floresta on their "we can do cutting-edge works" mixed bill, as well as Dracula in October and Cinderella in the Spring.

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I agree completely: reperetory lockstep results from the unhealty combination of choreograhic star-struck presenters, overweening Executive directors, narrow-visioned Artistic Directors, and limited resources. (Part of why I retired from dance was because I was tired of doing bad ballets that were vapid and easier to dance--and less well-paying, natch!--than broadway shows! If they were audience pleasers I did not feel the love.) My main point was that the choreographers/works PAB chooses do not significantly challenge the dancers--or the audience. While Margo Sappington may not quite be on the lockstep list, I don't think she qualifies as a particularly daring alternative.

Ray

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Ray, I'd love to seem them do Jewels. I saw it when FWDB did it several years ago, Mejia's "swan song" with the company in the Bass Performance Hall's Inaugural season. PA Ballet could do it beautifully.

Leigh, I don't like to think of PA Ballet as the NBofA, but they are doing Cinderella next spring.;) Doesn't a lot of this really come down to doing a money-maker to bring in the grandmas and the little girls in their party dresses? Children love fairytale ballets, and daddies love to see their little ones exposed to the art at a time other than Nutcracker. Financially its a good move.

They are also performing The Firebird next season, Carmina, and Paul Taylor's Company B, as well as some new works (one by Jessica Lang) and an all-Balanchine evening.

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I can understand how stale it can get when local company does the same programs again and again. I must say though, I am glad. I have only ever seen the Nutcracker, performed by a local college (Rowan) and Carmina Burana by the PAB. I wanted so badly to go see some of PAB's shows in Philadelphia, the last few months, but finances did not permit this. I am dying to see some of the classics, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Cinderella... I have never seen them.

If they didn't do these presentations again and again, when would I have the chance? At least it does appear that they perform some other peices as well, for a nice variety.

Ok, my train of thought has been derailed, so thanks for listening.

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Hi!

I know I should probably post in the "Welcome" forum for this, but I just wanted to say thank you to whomever (Alexandra? Leigh?) created a separate thread for Pennsylvania Ballet. I've lurked on this board for over a year, but the introduction of this thread spurred me to actually register. And now that I know there are others out there with whom I can discuss Pennsylvania Ballet performances, I will be much more inclined to post. So, thanks again! :(

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Welcome, Tessa! Now I wish I'd made a forum for Pennsylvania Ballet when I first put up the company foorums. I hadn't included one because we hadn't had any posts on this -- Ray's was the first that I can remember.

We do have several people from Phillie, so I hope this will become more active. I'd hoped the company forums would become a place for news and discussion of each company, reviews, talk of dancers, etc. It takes three or four people to make this happen -- we've got that now, so take it away :(

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