Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Tessa

  1. Not socalgal, but I can interject some thoughts on Neenan's choreography. I love "Vicissitudes" which is a piece he did several years ago (might have even been his first for the company). What do I like about it? Well, he cast a lot of corps members in starring roles which was fun to see! But beyond that, it has a circus-like quality; the finale of the piece has the dancers creating something akin to a rotating circus tent with their bodies- that's the only way I can think of to describe it, as there are a lot of people on stage at that point. There are also a lot of funny, quirky little movements in the piece, like when a female dancer is sitting on a male dancer's shoulder near the wings. He suddenly picks her up and throws her up so that she flies offstage and is (we hope!) caught by an unseen person. He also did a different piece a few years ago, the title of which I can't recall, that was very disjointed and critically reviled around here- but I thought it had some great moments, including the end when the whole cast came and sat on the edge of the stage with their legs dangling down into the orchestra pit. Neenan also created a great solo for Francis Veyette in that piece that included some breathtaking jumps. I know he's done some other pieces for the company, but I can't remember any of them at the moment...which may say something...nevertheless, his current piece sounds promising- wish I had seen it.
  2. I couldn't make it, but was wondering if anyone else had the chance to see this program. I saw Washington Ballet perform Trey McIntyre's Blue Until June a few years ago and thought it was good (if not amazing) work- I imagine PA Ballet's dancers could probably do a lovely job with it. Anyone attend? Thoughts?
  3. Read in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday that the PA Ballet heard from the Guiness people last week- they officially set the record for most people standing on pointe for one minute- a grand total of .... 126 people. A little underwhelming, in my opinion, but now there's a new record to be broken by dance companies all over the country!
  4. Just from observation, I don't think Philly ballet audiences like seeing the same ballets even every other year- I've heard other ballet-goers complain about Midsummer Night's Dream, Taming of the Shrew & Romeo & Juliet (just to name a few) being performed too much and those are never performed two years in a row. The subscribers would probably revolt if "forced" to see Swan Lake two years in a row. People don't seem to understand the huge cost of these productions... On a different topic, perhaps the company isn't starting till November next year so they can take Swan Lake on tour somewhere in October? That would be exciting!
  5. Wow! I'm so excited for next season! La Fille, Ballo & The Concert are definitely company premieres, as (I think) are the Tharp and Wheeldon pieces. I'm really pleased that the Robbins Trust in particular has been giving Pennsylvania Ballet the rights to more pieces in the past few years; his works deserve to be seen outside NYC! The only piece on this schedule that I'm not overly excited about is The Waltz Project...but I can live with that!
  6. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be going as I saw the production two years ago & I'm saving my pennies for Swan Lake. I hope Martha Chamberlain is Kate again, she was a riot! I especially like the scene with the horse. It's a really fun production.
  7. I think that's the eventual goal of the program- for the moment, my understanding is that Pennsylvania Ballet II does a lot of school performances (lecture-demos, that sort of thing.) I don't know if they have their own shows open to the public or not, though I think they perform at the Kimmel Center in festivals and things like that. I know that they've revived some old choreography for the group, stuff that the main company has not performed in many years, but I don't think they've had anything new created for them in the way that the ABT studio company has. They (PA Ballet II) also dance in the main company's Nutcracker and other ballets requiring large casts- does the ABT studio company appear in ABT productions? I would imagine they probably do.
  8. I have to do a little more research to get the full scoop but it sounds as though Clear Channel is about to become a major player in the Philadelphia theater scene as well. From what I understand, there are plans for the company to restore the SamEric theater (a boarded up movie palace) and book shows like The Lion King, etc. for six-month bookings. This might be ok except that the non-profit RPAC/Kimmel Center recently sunk a considerable amount of money into renovating the Academy of Music to accomodate touring broadway shows (they extended the ceilings to accomodate larger sets). If Clear Channel joins the fray here, that will make four theaters (Academy, SamEric, Forrest, and Merriam) vying to present the national touring shows. So far, RPAC seems to have been good about allowing the Ballet & Opera companies having their choice of bookings in the Academy- but it does seem like the Rockettes may be coming to town if Clear Channel gets their own theater.
  9. I know I had "Drina Dances Alone" when it was reissued in the US (by Scholastic, I think?) in the late 1980's. That one was about Drina going to the boarding school and dancing in the woods; it might also have been the same book in which she was cast in the J.M. Barrie play? "Drina Dances in Exile" seems like it would be an appropriate alternate title for this book, so I'm pretty sure they're one and the same.
  10. GWTW, Eh, I don't mean to knock it exactly but Stevenson's Dracula really is a big honking spectacle. Huge sets, flying people, horse drawn carriages, etc. Actually, the "Like the Phantom of the Opera" tag might be meant to demonstrate how it's a similar level of spectacle to that musical. There are some good scenes, but overall it's not my favorite ballet. Like you, I will probably miss it and go to Nutcracker instead (I dearly love PA Ballet's Nutcracker and am excited to see all the new company members in some of the roles.)
  11. So, anyone planning to attend Dracula? I have to admit, I have been intrigued by the way in which the company has chosen to market this ballet. There are some interesting events planned- an audience costume contest, a costume ball, and I think a character brunch. The last time PA Ballet did this production it was in the spring, so I imagine they are capitalizing on the Halloween timing this year. However, a friend of mine (a theater guy who knows I love ballet) mentioned to me in passing that he thought the ad campaign for Dracula was terrible. I asked him what he was referring to and he said the radio ads say, "Dracula: it's like Phantom of the Opera but with pointe shoes!" He thought this was silly because Dracula is probably a better known story than Phantom of the Opera and it might also confuse people into thinking that the Dracula ballet (this is the Ben Stevenson version) follows the Phantom storyline...I thought about what he said, and though I didn't think it was quite such a bad tagline as he did, I came up with a question of my own- do you think the average non-ballet person knows what "pointe shoes" are? Is this common parlance? Or would "ballet slippers" perhaps be a more recognizable term? Just wondering...anybody else have any thoughts on this campaign?
  12. There's a pretty nice review of this program in the Philadelphia Inquirer today: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/enterta...end/6976032.htm
  13. Dale, If you have specific Concerto Barocco needs, I'm not sure that they'll be met with the Barfield/Chamberlain pairing. I like both dancers a lot, but I'm not sure they fit the adjectives you used. Barfield is a very pretty, diminutive and winsome-looking dancer who is typically cast in "princess" roles. I would not describe her dancing as especially spiritual- she is more of a clean, straightforward dancer. Chamberlain is an interesting dancer- I like her a lot, but I like her best in roles where her comic talents shine (Swanhilda & Kate in Taming of the Shrew come to mind.) I would say that of the two, she is the more spiritual dancer... The women in Cast B (Aldridge & Ochoa) come closer to fitting the ideals you described, I think. Thoughts from anyone else? Agreements? Disagreements?
  14. I'm pretty sure that Phillip Colucci (corps) and Tara Keating (soloist), both of Pennsylvania Ballet, are Juilliard graduates. I believe Colucci actually won the Princess Grace fellowship for modern while he was at Juilliard! Not sure how two Juilliard grads ended up at the same company, but it might have had something to do with Ben Harkarvy? He was the former Artistic Director of PA Ballet and left the company in the 70's (I think?) to go to Juilliard. He has since passed, and I don't know if he was still an active teacher when Colucci and Keating were students there...
  15. Thank you, Dale! Both casts sound good, in my opinion though I'm tempted by the B cast since I'd like to see Jamar Goodman in his PA Ballet debut. Very exciting to see that Philip Colucci is in both casts of Fancy Free- he's wonderful to watch and I think this ballet is an excellent fit for him. I'm also excited to see Jennifer Gall cast in two featured roles- she did a terrific job back when she was an Apprentice in demi roles in Interplay & Arden Court and I was actually surprised to see how much responsibility she was given so early on but then this past year she didn't seem to be cast so much...I was slightly worried that her trajectory would be that of some of the NYCB girls who get lots of early exposure and then seem to fade out a little, so the two roles in this program is a good development!
  16. Not much to add on the topic of Firebird thanks to the detailed reviews above except to say that I think the hats/headresses/pie plates worn by the princesses were actually worse than the skirts! It's quite a spectacle, and for some other reviews there is a thread on the Pennsylvania Ballet section re their production of Kudelka's Firebird this past June.
  17. Ari, sorry if my post was unclear. I meant that when I was a child in the 80's I thought I remembered seeing Dane LaFontsee dance. I know he was a grown-up in the 70's
  18. rg, thanks so much! Some of those names take me way back- I grew up watching Tamara Hadley & know a little bit about some of the other dancers- I believe Michelle Lucci is related to Susan Lucci (from soap operas) and I'm pretty sure I saw Dane LaFontsee as a child also (is this possible? I'm 26- was he there in the 80's? anyone know?) Also, I know that Janek Schergen today stages the Sleeping Beauty for the company- I think he is best known now for his work with Choo San Goh. I would love to see PA Ballet on film (especially the Dance in America performance!) but the union issues mentioned above are no doubt prohibitive.
  19. Personally, I am a sucker for great ballon. Men who can jump in a way that makes your heart stop for a second but who land in perfect control are stunning to me. But appearing to be a solid partner is also a must because I don't like that heart-stopping feeling to carry over into lifts.
  20. Yes, she is (and still very fun to watch.) I'm not sure of her age, but she's hardly the company's most senior dancer. I sure hope to see her as the Cowgirl again! Also, Christine started Phrenic New Ballet with Matt Neenan and Amanda Miller (who left PA Ballet last year) and she choreographs and performs with them a lot- they recently had their NYC debut, I think. I've actually never seen Phrenic (feeling sheepish) but I've heard good things...
  21. Socalgal, I don't think Rodeo is on the spring mixed bill in Philadelphia, though I would love to see it! Especially Christine Cox as the cowgirl, I think it's her best role. And now that Jodie Gates is gone, there's a spot for another cowgirl too! Maybe Tara Keating or Heidi Cruz? PA Ballet owns the Rodeo sets (I remember they got a large grant for it a while back) so I think that's why they take it on the road so often.
  22. Perhaps I missed it, but has anyone mentioned "Talk to Her", Pedro Almodovar's latest film? One of the main characters is a ballet dancer who falls into a coma. The man who eventually comes to be her nurse observes her in ballet class from his window, and the two characters are later visited by the dancing girl's teacher, who describes her plans to choreograph a ballet based on WWI. Also, there are several scenes in which we observe some of the film's characters watching Pina Bausch and her troupe in the theater- that's actually how the film opens. I'd be interested to know who the background dancers in the ballet class scense are (the movie was filmed in Spain) and whether the stars had any dance training.
  23. BW, You are in luck! The current issue of Arthur Frommer's Budget Traveler magazine has a whole article on the "Little wonder hotels of Philadelphia" (pleasant accomodations for under $100 in high season.) Unforturnately, I've misplaced it but I'm sure you can look at the article in your local Borders or Barnes & Noble. Lots of people I know stay at the Warwick, which is now a Radisson hotel, just off Rittenhouse Square and walking distance from the theater. The DoubleTree Hotel is also directly across the street from both theaters- you are correct that the Merriam and Academy are more or less next door to each other. Another walkable option is the Marriott at the Convention Center. Loews and Ritz Carlton are an easy walk too- I'm not sure about your price range. The Four Seasons is a little further away, and wouldn't quite qualify as walking distance, imo. When you look at the Arthur Frommer article, anything listed as being in Center City or Rittenhouse Square is a short distance from the theaters; Old City and Society Hill are a bit too far to qualify as walking distance, though they are a quick cab or subway ride from Broad Street where the theaters are. Hope this helped!
  24. Hooray for some of these long-overdue promotions! Especially Tara Keating, I've enjoyed her work tremendously for years. I think it's been about 3-4 years since the company promoted anyone to Soloist at all, so I'm sure the dancers are very excited about the changes!
  25. Paul-- Thanks for clarifying Mr. Mason's comment- when I read that, I thought "He ought to realize the Philadelphia Orchestra is not the ballet's orchestra!" I'm excited for the Wheeldon Swan Lake and though I imagine it will be a huge challenge for the company, it will be a tremendous boost if all goes well. I'm also excited for Fancy Free- many people might not realize this, but this is only the second Robbins ballet that PA Ballet has ever performed! Now if they can only get The Concert, I'll think I've died and gone to heaven. It's great to see the company develop a relationship with the Robbins Trust, even if it's only one ballet a year. And lastly, I'm excited for Trey McIntyre's "Blue Until June"- I saw Washington Ballet perform this piece and liked it quite a bit, and PA Ballet looks great in his works (that crazy ballet he did with Phillip Colucci dressed as a snowman/gingerbread man is my SO's favorite ballet of all time...)
  • Create New...