Review: Meredith Rainey takes a new view of dance

Meredith Rainey talks a lot these days about finding his “voice,” and about the road he’s traveled since leaving the Pennsylvania Ballet three years ago, as he turned 40.

He’s been busy starting anew, honing his skills at making dances, shedding the old identity (call him “a former Pennsylvania Ballet soloist” and risk a slap on the wrist), and adapting to the mantle of choreographer. He’s stepping out.

“When you see somebody really go that next step in the artistic journey – it makes you go there, too,” he says. “You can’t go back to that old way of being ‘the dancer who does what they say.’ You become the dancer who starts to look for things to do, who starts to explore the aspects of the piece that you’re doing, the dance that you’re actually creating onstage.”

Born June 7, 1966, in Fort Lauderdale, Rainey is marking more than a birthday: This weekend’s premiere of his piece Look Inside culminates his year as artist-in-residence at the Community Education Center in West Philadelphia, as it introduces the beginning of a dance company of his own. Performed by Francis Veyette, a Pennsylvania Ballet soloist, and Rosalia Chann of BalletX, Look Inside is designed by Jorge Cousineau, with costumes by Martha Chamberlain. Anna Drozdowski is the dramaturg.