(PHILADELPHIA, PA) — Pennsylvania Ballet has announced the launch of its digital spring season, titled Strength. Resilience. Beauty., featuring newly filmed productions of classic ballets, world premieres and principal solo performances. The season will pay tribute to the late Barbara Weisberger (1926-2020), who founded Pennsylvania Ballet with an extraordinary vision to connect with community through ballet. The season, made up of three separate programs, will air on paballet.org from March 25 to June 2.
“We are proud to dedicate this season to our founder Barbara Weisberger. She was a true visionary and our company is forever grateful for the indelible impact she had in our community and the industry as a whole,” said Pennsylvania Ballet Executive Director Shelly Power. “This season, our audience can enjoy an unparalleled repertoire of ballet, accessible from the safety of their homes. Now more than ever, there is a strong desire from our patrons and our community to discover the arts that evoke joy, emotion and inspiration in these difficult times. Although we won’t be able to perform live at the Academy of Music this season, our incredible dancers and artistic staff quickly adapted to create new digital works for dedicated audiences – near and far – until we can return to the stage safely.
“This season will surely leave our audience breathless and spellbound as our dancers have poured impeccable artistry into each production after six months away from the stage,” said Pennsylvania Ballet Artistic Director Angel Corella. “These repertoires are some of the most physically demanding works we have created at Pennsylvania Ballet, and our dancers have risen to the challenge by working tirelessly to practice technique and maintain peak physical condition during this time of quarantine. This season is a celebration of the resilience of our dancers, the beauty of their craft, and the strength of mind and body that continues to drive the art form forward.
First installment: Strength – Broadcast from March 25 to 31, 2021
The season will open with George Balanchine baroque concertos, by Stanton Welch release, Angel Corella, Russell Ducker and Kirill Radev suspended in time, and a solo extract by Matthew Neenan Penumbra.
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First produced in 1941, baroque concerto is hailed as one of Balanchine’s masterpieces. Neoclassical ballet is danced to Johann Sebastian Bach Concerto for two violins in D minor. The ballet features an all-female ensemble of ten Pennsylvania Ballet dancers who embody athleticism, precision and grace.
Welch’s Clear (2001) is a beautiful abstract piece inspired by the emotionally impactful events of 9/11. The ballet explores the thought process of discovering what is most important in life and finding clarity in the face of its final moment. Set to music by Johann Sebastian Bach, the explosive and fierce choreography allows the audience to immerse themselves in every move performed by seven strong male dancers and a single female dancer.
suspended in time (2011) is an exuberant and impeccably choreographed piece by Radev, Ducker and Corella that brings together a cast of male and female dancers to conclude the triple program. A celebration of strength, art and freedom, the ballet features the music of rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), including hits such as “Strange Magic” and “I am Alive”.
The first episode will end with a stunning solo performance from lead dancer Jermel Johnson of Neenan’s Penumbra (2008), set to music by Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera and performed by principal pianist Martha Koeneman.
Second part: Resilience – Broadcast from April 29 to May 5, 2021
The second program of the season will feature George Balanchine Allegro Brillante, by Christopher Wheeldon Polyphony, Angel Corella Suite Raymonda, and a solo extract by Dwight Rhoden And that’s how…
by Balanchine Allegro Brillante is hailed as one of his purest and happiest dance pieces. Originally produced in 1963, the ballet is to the tune of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 3 and features a high degree of choreographic development in a restricted time and space, making it one of the most demanding pieces in the repertoire.
A groundbreaking contemporary work by Christopher Wheeldon, Polyphony (2001) features eight dancers moving in very precise, almost mathematical choreography for stunning visual effect. This angular ballet is staged on ten pieces for piano by the composer György Ligeti, pioneer of the musical technique of micropolyphony.
Marius Petipa’s original 1898 choreography is reconstructed by Corella for this production of Suite Raymonda. The festive orchestration and classical choreography present a series of impressive solos, revealing different emotions and colors with each movement. This ballet is danced to the enchanting score by Alexander Glazunov.
The second episode will end with another spectacular solo performance from lead dancer Jermel Johnson of Rhoden’s And that’s how… (2015). Featuring music by Steve Reich, this excerpt celebrates one man’s strength, majesty and perseverance and the inevitable evolution that happens in life over time.
Third part: Beauty – Broadcast from May 27 to June 2, 2021
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The Pennsylvania Ballet will conclude its season with three world premieres choreographed by Juliano Nunes, Meredith Rainey and Russell Ducker. Each ballet will feature music by incredibly accomplished and in-demand Philadelphia-based composer Jennifer Higdon.
Strength. Resilience. Beauty. is dedicated to the late Pennsylvania Ballet founder, Barbara Weisberger, who passed away in December 2020. Weisberger was a key influence on the contemporary American ballet movement and notably brought the Pennsylvania Ballet to prominence and acclaim under her leadership. She was a protege of choreographer and New York ballet co-founder George Balanchine, whose work is rooted in the core identity of Pennsylvania Ballet and is carefully presented throughout the spring digital season to honor the company’s Balanchine roots. .
Pennsylvania Ballet dancers took lessons, rehearsed and filmed performances for the digital spring season at the Performance Garage, a dedicated dance space in Philadelphia’s Spring Garden neighborhood, while adhering to appropriate safety guidelines. The newly renovated studios and theater are outfitted with professionally hung floors and a custom stage to look like a larger front stage theater space to better showcase the ballets on film.
Single tickets for each installment are available for purchase for $25, and a combined ticket for all three installments is available for $50. An exclusive VIP package consisting of unlimited viewing within the dedicated time frame is available for $175. Tickets can be purchased through paballet.org.
Donations to the ballet company can be done here.
*The directory is subject to change
Founded in 2000 by Jeanne Ruddy and Victor Keen, the performance garage is a non-profit dance organization providing dance classes, rehearsal and performance spaces in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia. It’s a true community center, home to dancers of all genres and levels. The Performance Garage builds community through dance by presenting world-class and innovative performances, and providing dance education and community outreach programs that foster the development of the art form, creating affinities between various groups of people.
The Pennsylvania Ballet is one of the nation’s premier ballet companies and one of Philadelphia’s cultural treasures. Internationally acclaimed dancer Angel Corella took the reins as Artistic Director at the start of the 2014/2015 season, taking the company to a new level of excellence with 45 dancers from around the world and an ever-growing repertoire of works. . In addition to performing on Philadelphia’s famous Avenue of the Arts, Pennsylvania Ballet serves more than 17,000 people in the Philadelphia area each year with hands-on, high-quality arts education activities offered to children and adults, regardless their socio-economic background or their abilities. For more information, visit paballet.org or connect with us at Twitter, Facebook, instagram, and Youtube for a behind-the-scenes look at our dancers in the studio and on stage.
The Pennsylvania Ballet is supported in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development and receives support from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
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