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Pennsylvania Ballet To Present Balanchine-Wheeldon-Tharp

Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Zachary Hench in Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove.
Photo: Alexander Iziliaev

Revel in ballet’s boundless potential as Pennsylvania Ballet presents a trio of diverse works with Balanchine/Wheeldon/Tharp, February 7-10, 2013 at the Merriam Theater.

“The three choreographers on this program are nothing short of titans in the dance world,” Artistic Director Roy Kaiser says. “Their distinct styles will showcase our dancers’ incredible artistic adaptability.”

George Balanchine’s Square Dance is a favorite of many dancers. Its title comes from the structure of American folk dance, which Balanchine found made a complementary frame for classical ballet movement. Dancers wear simple leotards and tights, allowing audiences to focus on the artists’ breathtakingly speedy footwork and the brilliant score by Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli.

Christopher Wheeldon’s compelling and intimate After the Rain, a Company premiere, showcases inventive partnering and heartfelt emotion. The first section of this piece features three couples. The second, most-identifiable part is a pas de deux. The ballerina is dressed in a pink leotard and her partner is bare-chested. At times they are close and tender with one another, while at other times they are separated and searching for one another, all set to the moving music of Arvo Pärt.

The legendary Twyla Tharp anchors this program with the quirky and fun Push Comes to Shove. Originally created for Mikhail Baryshnikov and featuring Tharp’s trademark theatrical style, this piece moves to a lively score by Joseph Haydn and Joseph Lamb and uses a bowler hat as its central prop. Dance Magazine praised this work’s crossover capabilities saying, “Tharp made ballet beautiful in a new way, tough and cool.”

Tickets to Balanchine/Wheeldon/Tharp at the Merriam Theater are on sale now, starting at $30. Tickets are available online at paballet.org, by phone at 215.893.1999, and in person at the Kimmel Center Box Office.

Balanchine/Wheeldon/Tharp performances at the Merriam Theater:
Thursday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 9 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 10 at 2 p.m.

- Steven Weisz

Founder & Editor
While not a dancer himself, Weisz’s love for the arts and dance started as a child growing up in New York City. With parents, who were strong supporters of the arts and part of a community with an incredible array of notable artists in music, dance, theater and fine arts, Weisz’s access and affinity for the performing arts took root. Upon attending college in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 70’s, Weisz started performing as a puppeteer, magician, juggler and fire eater as a means of supplementing his income. This soon grew in to what became Rainbow Promotions Inc., one of the largest entertainment and special events producers in the region. It was here that he began to promote and book dance for major events throughout the city. Many of the dancers he worked with in the early days of his company are now major choreographers in Philadelphia. At the same time, Weisz’s interest in computers and the early developments of what is now known as the Internet, led him to also start another company, Delaware Valley On Line, which became one of the first regional ISPs. It was this combination of event production, internet development and event marketing that led him to examine the use of the internet as a means to promote the arts. Dance continued to be a major interest for Weisz and in 2005 he founded PhiladelphiaDANCE.org as a major online resource to promote dance in the city. It was soon after that the Dance Journal was also founded as a way to provide an outlet for writing on a range of topics that encompass the ever growing and emerging dance community in the region. Weisz continues to run both PhiladelphiaDANCE and The Dance Journal on purely a voluntary basis with no income derived from any of his projects. He is also the Artistic Director of Graffito Works, a unique platform for dancers and performing artists to create site-specific work and to make it readily accessible to the public.

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