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Pennsylvania Ballet To Present Multifaceted Program Featuring George Balanchine’s Serenade

Plus: Afternoon of a Faun by Jerome Robbins, Under the Sun Pas de Deux by Margo Sappington, and Petite Mort by Jiří Kylián [Company Premiere]

Artists of Pennsylvania Ballet in George Balanchine’s Serenade,
choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust.
Photo: Alexander Iziliaev

Experience the sweeping breadth of Pennsylvania Ballet’s repertoire with a mixed bill headlined by a timeless George Balanchine classic, Serenade, February 6-9 at the Merriam Theater.

“The four ballets on this program complement each other beautifully,” Artistic Director Roy Kaiser says. “Together, they create a performance experience that is at once emotional yet exhilarating, intimate yet powerful.”

Serenade, a romantic, plotless ballet, holds a special connection to Pennsylvania Ballet. The Company’s founder, Barbara Weisberger, witnessed the creation of this seminal work. As Mr. Balanchine’s first child student, Ms. Weisberger sat under a piano and watched as he choreographed the piece on older students at his School of American Ballet. The resulting work is a milestone in ballet history, featuring a lush Tschaikovsky score with striking moments of drama throughout.

Also on the program, Afternoon of a Faun by Jerome Robbins has been called “a miniature masterpiece.” Set in a ballet studio with memorable music by Claude Debussy, a male and female dancer meet, with the audience as their mirror. Under the Sun became an iconic work for the Company when commissioned from choreographer Margo Sappington in 1976. Inspired by artist Alexander Calder, the pas de deux features hypnotic music by Michael Kamen and inventive partnering.  Jiří Kylián’s aggressive and athletic Petite Mort, set to two Mozart piano concertos, receives its Company premiere in closing this deeply varied program.

Tickets to Serenade at the Merriam Theater are on sale now. Tickets are available online at paballet.org, by phone at 215.893.1999, and in person at the Kimmel Center Box Office.

Serenade performances at the Merriam Theater:
Thursday, February 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 8 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 9 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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