Photo Flash: Get A First Look at BalletX's SUMMER SERIES
BroadwayWorld has a first look at BalletX's, Philadelphia's premier contemporary ballet company, Summer Series 2018 at The Wilma Theater, now on stage though July 22.
The company, led by Artistic & Executive Director Christine Cox, will perform three world premieres by award-winning choreographers Penny Saunders, Matthew Neenan, and Andrew McNicol (2018 Choreographic Fellow). The season finale program features original music by Rosie Langabeer and classical selections by Mozart and Mendelssohn, as well as lighting design by Michael Korsch, and costume design by Martha Chamberlain, Reid & Harriet Design, and Marc Eric.
"There's a real collaborative spirit behind Summer Series," says Cox. "Penny and Rosie are creating a work interweaving sound and live musicians into the dance's narrative, and Matthew is mentoring Andrew as they both delve into the music of two classical masters."
Penny Saunders and Rosie Langabeer's world premiere collaboration, Rock-a-Bye, blends found sound, haunting melody, and live music to paint a portrait of time and fate's impact on a family and its matriarch. The music will be performed live on stage by Langabeer, with musicians Tara Middleton (Sun Ra Arkestra) and Gregg Mervine (West Philadelphia Orchestra). The Arts Fuse describes Saunders choreography as "wonderfully complex." She won the 2016 Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship and has created on Hubbard Street Dance, Whim W'him, and Grand Rapids Ballet. Langabeer is a Barrymore Award winner for Outstanding Music and Musical Direction, and co-created Matthew Neenan's Sunset, o639 Hours (2014). Her music has been called "evocative" by The New York Times and "atmospheric with great humor" by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Matthew Neenan's new work, Situated, is set to Mendelssohn's Songs without Words, performed live by Martha Koeneman (principal pianist, Pennsylvania Ballet). Neenan has revealed the work's narrative comes in the form of a mysterious prop puzzle of chairs, which the dancers engage with and solve together as a variety of vignettes unfold on stage. Neenan co-founded BalletX with Cox, and has created many of the company's signature works, including The Last Glass (2010) and Sunset, o639 Hours (2014). His choreography is "fresh, touching, musical, original... He makes dancers look appealing, and he engages audiences," wrote The New York Times.
Andrew McNicol's lifelong love of Mozart's Requiem and his fascination with the energy, physicality and fast pace of American dance form the underlying inspiration for his world premiere with BalletX. His piece Requiem explores life, love, and loss, and the power of nature. Chosen from a competitive pool of international applicants, he serves as the 2018 Choreographic Fellow under mentor Matthew Neenan. McNicol has created work for The London Olympics, The New York Choreographic Institute, and The Royal Ballet of Flanders. He is described as "talented beyond his years" by Ballet News.
New company members Stanley Glover and Anna Peabody join BalletX for Summer Series 2018 and the 2018-19 Season. Stanley Glover is a 2016 graduate of the University of the Arts. He performed as a principal dancer in Cirque du Soleil's Las Vegas production of Mystére, and he was a top 20 contestant in the 11th season of the hit show So You Think You Can Dance. Anna Peabody is a 2018 graduate of Indiana University. She has studied under Carla Körbes, Norma Pera, and JeanPierre Bonnefoux. Summer Series also marks the farewell performances of Gary W. Jeter II and Daniel Mayo, following four successful seasons with the company. BalletX is thrilled to welcome back dancer Chloe Perkes, returning to the stage this summer following shoulder surgery earlier this year.
The 12-performance Summer Series also invites audiences deeper into the world of contemporary ballet through two signature X-Process events: a pre-show Conversations with the Artists on opening night and a post-show Q&A on July 12. BalletX will host Young Xers Night, a pre-show cocktail reception and after party for young dance lovers and professionals, on July 19.
Tickets to BalletX Summer Series 2018 are available online at https://www.balletx.org/summer-series-2018/, and by phone at 215-546-7824.
Photos by Candice DeTore