Pennsylvania Ballet Announces Revolutionary 2016-2017 Season

Pennsylvania Ballet’s Artistic Director, Angel Corella, has announced the repertoire for the 2016-2017 Season. The Company’s 53rd Season will be the second to have all performances selected by Corella. With the 2016-2017 Season, Corella continues to raise the level of dance and broaden the scope of programming for Pennsylvania Ballet.

“In the 2015-2016 Season we saw excitement from the audience and dancers about premiering new work, this season we want to build on this momentum and continue to propel our dancers out of their comfort zones,” said Angel Corella. “This Season we continue to honor our roots with works by Balanchine, while introducing new and exciting pieces to further entertain our current and new audiences with varying ballet styles.”

The 2016-17 Season will include World Premiere ballets by three highly sought after choreographers; Philadelphia based choreographer Brian Sanders; Nicolo Fonte, creator of June 2015’s Grace Action; and Choreographer In Residence, Matthew Neenan. In addition, Pennsylvania Ballet will perform three Company Premieres; David Dawson’s The Third Light, with music by Gavin Bryars; Nacho Duato’s Remansos, with music by Enrique Granados; Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, with music by Bohuslav Martinů, and five Balanchine ballets. This season will also feature three full-length ballets including Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella; the Premiere of Angel Corella’s adaptation of Le Corsaire; and Philadelphia’s holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.

Pennsylvania Ballet will also launch a new performance schedule for the 2016-17 Season, running from the beginning of October 2016 until May 2017. This new schedule creates Fall and Spring Seasons.

In addition to the performances in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet will be traveling to Cleveland, Ohio to perform seven performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcrackerä at The Cleveland Orchestra’s 2016 Holiday Festival, November 30 – December 4. These performances feature Tchaikovsky’s score performed live by The Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Associate Conductor Brett Mitchell, and The Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus directed by Ann Usher, who will join the performances to sing in the iconic “Snow Scene”.

Pennsylvania Ballet’s 2016-2017 Season

photo credit Alexander Iziliaev

October 13-23, 2016
The Academy of Music
Choreographer: Ben Stevenson
Music: Sergei Prokofiev
Pennsylvania Ballet’s 53rd Season opens with the most enduring princess fairytale of all time, Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella. Since its first ballet production in 1813, Cinderella has drawn audiences into a compelling story about finding love, strength and acceptance despite personal obstacles. Set to Prokofiev’s heartfelt and lyrical score, the ballet was given new life 47 years ago by acclaimed choreographer, Ben Stevenson. Cinderella captures the skill and grace of the dancers while bringing to life Charles Perrault’s classic fairy tale. A lavish combination of music and dance—highlighted by a fanciful carriage, pumpkins, plumes of smoke, and elaborate costume changes—enchants dance and theater lovers of all ages.


November 10-13, 2016
Merriam Theater

  • Brian Sanders World Premiere
  • The Third Light by David Dawson, music by Gavin Bryars [Company Premiere]
  • Square Dance by George Balanchine, music by Antonio  Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli

While Philadelphia resident Brian Sanders has choreographed on Pennsylvania Ballet dancers for Shut Up & Dance benefit performances in the past, this will be his first Pennsylvania Ballet commission. David Dawson’s Third Light uses a cast of 10 dancers to reach new heights of beauty, while creating a dramatic edge. Rooted in classical technique, but with a modern look, this piece features a creative combination of solos, trios, and duets. The dancers capitalize on minimalist scenery and lighting to create a rewarding experience for the audience. George Balanchine’s Square Dance has intricate choreography – showcasing the versatility and innovative style of one of the greatest choreographers in ballet history.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™
December 9-31, 2016
The Academy of Music
Choreography: George Balanchine
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Escape to the Land of Sweets for the Philadelphia region’s most beloved holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcrackerä. For 48 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, the charm of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet students, impassioned artistry of Pennsylvania Ballet dancers accompanied by the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra and The Philadelphia Boys Choir as they bring Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score to life. This magical production is one of three full-length ballets for Pennsylvania Ballet this season; with a magical story and a history that goes as far back as 1892. George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ is presented by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.


Le Corsaire (The Pirate)
March 9-19, 2017
The Academy of Music
Choreography: Angel Corella (after Marius Petipa)
Music: Adolphe Adam
Based loosely on the poem The Corsair by Lord Byron, this lighthearted production is a feast for the eyes. Set on the Arabian Peninsula in the time of princes, pirates and harems, a chance meeting in a marketplace ignites the devotion of true love between the pirate captain Conrad and the lovely Medora. This exciting production includes dynamic pirate sword fighting and kidnappings that weave into the love story. With elaborate costumes, and impeccable set design, the exuberant and breathtaking choreography opens a world of possibility to dancers and audience members alike through the story and the classical ballet style.


April 6-9, 2017
Merriam Theater

  • Remansos by Nacho Duato, music by Enrique Granados [Company Premiere]
  • Nicolo Fonte World Premiere
  • Western Symphony by George Balanchine, music by Hershy Kay

Based on Poetic Waltzes by Enrique Granados, Nacho Duato uses the fluid, flawless, and elaborate choreography that he is known for in Remansos. Nicolo Fonte’s World Premiere is sure to demonstrate the creative dialogue between his daring vision and the dancer’s seemingly limitless grasp of physical expression. The Company will also perform George Balanchine’s Western Symphony, a heartwarming ballet infused with gestures and formations of American folk dance. This high-spirited and playful work consists of classical American songs including, “Red River Valley,” “Old Taylor,” “Rye Whiskey,” “Good Night Ladies,” “Oh Dem Golden Slippers,” and “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” Featuring rugged cowboys and their beloved feather-festooned saloon girls, the ballet showcases a series of fast paced challenging vignettes culminating in a wild full company crescendo of pirouettes.

May 11-14, 2017
The Academy of Music

  • Rush by Christopher Wheeldon, music by Bohuslav Martinů [Company Premiere]
  • Sylvia Pas de Deux by George Balanchine, music by Léo Delibes
  • Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux by George Balanchine, music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Tarantella by George Balanchine, music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Hershy Kay
  • Matthew Neenan World Premiere

Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon spins a lovely tale of visual symmetry with dance arrangements marked by opposing lines, double diagonals, and alternating entrances. Rush, combines postmodern style with Martinů’s vernal composition to create a fresh dance experience with traditional roots. Sylvia Pas de Deux, Tarantella, and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux showcase Balanchine’s legacy in duets, breaking boundaries and setting new standards for ballet. Sylvia Pas de Deux plays a pivotal role in the history of dance, as it was the first ballet to break with Romantic-era conventions through the implementation of a strong female lead. Set to a “lost” musical selection from Act III of Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux treats audience to a virtuosic display of amazing agility and technique. Tarantella, the third of Balanchine’s duets being presented, is based on a myth performed by gypsy dancers as they traveled from town to town. The myth held that anyone bitten by a tarantula could dance poison out of their body. This piece provides a dazzling display of exceptionally high speed, nimble steps, and rapid changes in direction that astonish from start to finish. This performance closes with a World Premiere from internationally acclaimed choreographer Matthew Neenan, who has held the position of Choreographer in Residence at Pennsylvania Ballet since 2007. He has continued to win countless awards throughout his career and raise his choreography profile, with each new piece being a progression in his artistic evolution that has Balanchine and postmodern influences.

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations to the new and re-invigorated ballet. I am loving it once again. Thank you Mr. Corella for putting our company back on the worlds stage. Your leadership and vision are appreciated.
    Sincerely, Joan Myers Brown

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