Former Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Meredith Rainey is currently in the studio collaborating with Tania Isaac. Together, they are creating a brand-new work, (In)Visible, set to premiere April 1-2 as part of the Annenberg Center Live African Roots, American Voices series, a multi-year journey that celebrates the African diaspora’s unique contributions to American culture. Tickets cost $30 and are available online at AnnenbergCenter.org or by phone at 215.898.3900. The Annenberg Center is located at 3680 Walnut Street.
Through the use of a mix of playful satire and flowing movement, (In)Visible examines individual and collective ideas of identity as it pertains to culture, sexuality and race, and the life of paradoxes we all lead. The piece is inspired by, but not about, Rainey’s life and the paradoxes in it. While Rainey has a background in ballet, this piece will showcase other dance forms. Rainey’s collaboration with Isaac has pushed his choreography and influenced his ideas. The pair also wrote poems to be incorporated into the piece.
Schedule of Performances
Friday, April 1, 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 2, 7:30 PM
Meredith Rainey Dance is part of African Roots, American Voices, Annenberg Center Live’s multi-year journey that celebrates the African diaspora’s unique contributions to American culture. Each year focuses on a different musical genre, exploring its roots and cultural impact. The 15/16 season focuses on jazz, a wholly-original American art form. Jazz is unpredictable, it’s bold, it’s a conversation. As Louis Armstrong said, “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”
Meredith Rainey began dancing at 15 in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale. In 1985, he joined the Milwaukee Ballet. In 1987, he was invited to join the newly formed Pennsylvania Milwaukee Ballet and then remained with the Pennsylvania Ballet when the collaboration ended—the majority of the time as a soloist—until his retirement in 2006. Among other awards and fellowships, Rainey has been the recipient of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship (1995 & 2002), the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Artist as Catalyst Grant (2001), the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2002), a finalist for the Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2003) and a Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Grant (2010). Rainey has been commissioned to create works for Pennsylvania Ballet, BalletX, Delaware Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, National Ballet De Cali and Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble, as well as institutions such as The University of the Arts, Drexel University, Swarthmore College and Bryn Mawr College. His work has been performed in North and South America and throughout Spain. In 2009, Rainey founded and directed Carbon Dance Theatre, a contemporary ballet company in Philadelphia. In 2014, after deciding to concentrate on more artistic projects, Rainey closed the company and remains a sought-after teacher, mentor and independent choreographer.
Tania Isaac fuses choreography with personal documentary and social commentary, resulting in dances that are elegant and dramatic, yet highly accessible. An electric and commanding performer, Isaac has been a member of David Dorfman Dance, Rennie Harris Puremovement and Urban Bush Women. Her publications explore the spectrum of contemporary dance ranging from essays and commentary on functional mechanics to comparative literary esthetics in performance. With a focus on the absolutely addictive sensation of moving with both meditation and abandon, Isaac aims to distill the satisfaction that we crave the freedom to move in any form, idiom, culture or location and marry it with the conscious ideas of how dance, movement, art and thought shape who we are, where we exist and live, and how we negotiate that interaction. Her current work is an exploration of creative method she calls the “Open Notebook” – a way of turning a room into a laboratory of investigation and participation in multiple forms. She developed this project during a 2006 residency at the Maggie Allesse National Center for Choreography. Her work has been presented and supported by the Painted Bride Art Center, Harlem Stage, Bates Dance Festival, the Independence Foundation, National Performance Network, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and Philadelphia LiveArts. She is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Drexel University, a 2011 Pew Fellow and a 2012 MacDowell Fellow.