PA Ballet Announces 2011-2012 Season



North American Premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Jeu de Cartes

Company Premieres of Artifact Suite, Peter Pan, and N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz

World Premiere by Choreographer in Residence Matthew Neenan

International Debut of Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

Pennsylvania Ballet Artistic Director Roy Kaiser announces the Company’s 2011-2012 Season – a diverse collection of ballets showcasing the breadth of the dancers’ physical and artistic talents.

Four Company premieres from renowned choreographers Alexei Ratmansky, William Forsythe, Trey McIntyre, and Jerome Robbins – plus a world premiere by Choreographer in Residence Matthew Neenan – will invigorate the repertoire. Complementing them are audience favorites like Neenan’s Keep and Robert Weiss’ Messiah and unforgettable Balanchine masterpieces. Making the Company’s 48th Season ever more historic is the international debut of Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ in Ottawa, Canada.

“Our 48th Season shows there’s nothing Pennsylvania Ballet can’t do,” Kaiser says. “From challenging contemporary work to joyous story ballets, you won’t want to miss a moment.”

To join Pennsylvania Ballet’s 2011-2012 Season, call 215.893.1955 or visit Single tickets go on sale June 13, 2011.

*Denotes Company Premiere

Russian Suite: Ratmansky and Balanchine
October 20-23, 2011

Academy of Music
Featuring the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra

  • § Raymonda Variations by George Balanchine, music by Alexander Glazunov
  • § Jeu de Cartes* by Alexei Ratmansky, music by Igor Stravinsky
  • § Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine, music by Richard Rodgers

Witness history as Alexei Ratmansky’s bold Jeu de Cartes premieres in North America. One of the world’s most sought-after choreographers, Ratmansky originally created Jeu de Cartes for the Bolshoi Ballet. This vigorous, abstract work crafts a visual expression of Igor Stravinsky’s score of the same name. The French title translates to “The Card Game,” which for Ratmansky, simply addresses the “gamble” of choreographing to Stravinsky’s musical complexities. The former Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet and current Artist in Residence at American Ballet Theatre, Ratmansky draws on both his classical Russian training and Western influences.

Two diverse Balanchine treasures complete the program. Raymonda Variations was inspired by Balanchine’s love of Alexander Glazounov’s Raymonda and the music’s “grand and generous manner, its joy and playfulness.” Opening with a waltz for the principal ballerina and a corps of 12, the ballet is a practical A to Z of classical technique.

Broadway meets ballet in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Balanchine’s hilarious story of a dancer who falls in love with the girlfriend of a big mob boss. This “Chicago”-style one-act features sassy, show-stopping choreography set to Richard Rodgers’ score.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
December 10-31, 2011
Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky
Academy of Music
Philadelphia, PA
Presented by First Niagara
Featuring the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra

Be enchanted by the Philadelphia region’s most beloved holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. For 43 years, families have created yuletide memories with Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of this classic tale. The simple story of a girl, a gift, and a fanciful dream is made magical by opulent sets and costumes by Peter Horne and Judanna Lynn and the impassioned artistry of Pennsylvania Ballet dancers. Dozens of young dance students take the stage with our stars. The renowned Philadelphia Boys Choir raises their voices with the magnificent Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra to bring Tschaikovsky’s unforgettable score to life.

Adding to the excitement of this year’s Nutcracker season, Pennsylvania Ballet dancers will precede their Philadelphia engagement with a tour to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada. This historic tour marks the first international presentation of Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

Pushing Boundaries: Forsythe and Neenan
February 9-12, 2012
Merriam Theater

  • § Artifact Suite* by William Forsythe, music by Johann S. Bach and Eva Crossman-Hecht
  • § Keep by Matthew Neenan, music by Alexander Borodin and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Explore the physical and emotional frontiers of classical ballet with two innovative contemporary works. The Company premiere of Artifact Suite offers William Forsythe’s singular brand of unexpected musicality and marathon movement, set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Eva Crossman-Hecht. An ensemble of 18 dancers flies unceasingly throughout the stage, employing Forsythe’s daring interpretation of the ballet lexicon with lightening-quick rhythm, to-the-hilt extension, and unmatched precision.

Choreographer in Residence Matthew Neenan creates poignant magic with the return of his acclaimed work, Keep. Commissioned in 2009 and employing the music of Alexander Borodin and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Keep delves into the challenges of love and relationships through passionate pas de deux. An intimate, sensitive piece, Keep features vibrant costumes designed by former Principal Dancer Martha Chamberlain.

Messiah by Robert Weiss

March 8-17, 2012
Music by George Frideric Handel
Academy of Music
Featuring the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra

Inspirational. Moving. Pure. With Messiah, choreographer Robert Weiss creates an enthralling, epic ballet that translates Handel’s world-famous libretto to the stage. The former Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Ballet, Weiss employs more than 50 individual scenes to convey an emotional spectrum of joy, suffering, passion, and redemption. Messiah opens with a full choir onstage in a skeletal abstraction of a church. With sun streaming through the bare windows, dancers take the stage in a vivid, dramatic interpretation of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. A highlight of the production is Handel’s revered “Hallelujah” chorus.

Peter Pan* by Trey McIntyre

May 3-13, 2012
Music by Sir Edward Elgar, arranged by Niel DePonte
Academy of Music
Featuring the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra

Escape to Neverland with this whimsical ballet starring the boy who never grew up. Based on the classic story by Sir James M. Barrie, Peter Pan takes audiences on an adventure with all their favorite characters, including the Darling children and Captain Hook himself. Choreographer Trey McIntyre reinterprets the fairy tale with a twist for the new millennium, complete with spectacular flying sequences, swashbuckling swordfights, and costumes inspired by punk fashion. With music by Sir Edward Elgar arranged by Niel DePonte, Peter Pan is the perfect introduction to dance for audiences of all ages. This Company premiere is a ballet the whole family will never, never forget.

N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz*

May 31-June 3, 2012
Merriam Theater
Featuring the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra

  • § N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz* by Jerome Robbins, music by Robert Prince
  • § Barber Violin Concerto by Peter Martins, music by Samuel Barber
  • § WORLD PREMIERE by Matthew Neenan

Feel the flavor of the city that never sleeps with Jerome Robbins’ N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz. Robbins’ “ballet in sneakers,” celebrates the youth and vitality of the era in which it emerged: the distinctly cool 1950’s. N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz adopts the spirit of Robbins’ renowned musical “West Side Story,” with Broadway-style theatricality saturating this series of dances to the music of Robert Prince.

Also on the bill, Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto showcases two couples, bathed in white, performing a brilliant series of pas de deux. The piece embodies the lyrical movement of Samuel Barber’s inventive score that bridges from an opening adagio to its final scherzo, exploring the dichotomy between classical ballet and modern dance in three movements.

To complete the program, Choreographer in Residence Matthew Neenan mounts his much-anticipated 13th world premiere for the Company.

Founded in 1963 by Balanchine student and protégée Barbara Weisberger, Pennsylvania Ballet is one of the nation’s leading ballet companies. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the Company’s annual local season features six programs of classic favorites and new works, including the Philadelphia holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.  For more information, visit or call 215.551.7000.

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