Pennsylvania Ballet Upcoming Premieres include first ever performance by an American ballet company of the work of modern master Trisha Brown

Photo credit: Alexander Iziliaev

Pennsylvania Ballet and Artistic Director Angel Corella will enthrall audiences with passion, poetry, and human emotion in Balanchine and Beyond. This final program of the 2015/2016 Season features Hans Van Manen’s Adagio Hammerklavier, Trisha Brown’s O zlozony/ O composite, Jean-Pierre Frohlich’s Varied Trio (in four), and George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments June 9-12 at The Merriam Theater.

“This program showcases our dancer’s abilities to convey emotion and connect with the audience,” said Artistic Director Angel Corella. “In particular, working with Trisha Brown’s choreography in O zlozony/ O composite, they bring poetry to life. Audiences will be amazed with the depth of these artists as they transition from one ballet to the next, each time eliciting a different reaction and emotions.”

The program opens with Hans Van Manen’s Adagio Hammerklavier. Set to one of Beethoven’s most well-known piano concertos, Op 106., Van Manen creates a work of riveting intellectual tension and expressive power in this ballet, Adagio Hammerklavier. In this piece three couples enact a series of encounters which seem to never quite achieve resolution. Tension builds as the flow of choreography is constantly disrupted in beautiful manner until Van Manen allows the choreography to release and flow, pinning it back to the melodic line of the score, moving above the notes in its own parallel pattern.

Trisha Brown brings two poems to life, Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Renascence and Czeslaw and Milosz’s Ode to a Bird, in O zlozony/ O composite, a company premiere for Pennsylvania Ballet. Originally choreographed on the Paris Opera Ballet, this piece combines the richness of Brown’s most complex movement and the refined action of classical dance. In an investigation into the visualization of poetry, the choreography interweaves movement with verses by the poet as the dancers perform with a beautiful, dream-like quality.

Pennsylvania Ballet’s performances of O zlozony/O composite are the culmination of the year-long Trisha Brown retrospective, “In the New Body,” in partnership with Bryn Mawr College, and mark the first time ever that an American ballet company has performed a dance by this modern master. This haunting work is accompanied by an original score from Grammy-nominated composer Laurie Anderson.

“In this piece Trisha was interested in creating an alphabet of movements, working with poetry, and was fascinated and inspired by the bodies around her,” said Neal Beasley, stager for Trisha Brown. “I feel very fortunate to be working with Pennsylvania Ballet. These artists are fantastic and have been able to soar through the piece while making each move genuine to their own body.”

Jean- Pierre Frohlich’s Varied Trio (in four). The piece features a collection of short dances with movement that resonates with the dissonant, contemporary score of Lou Harrison. First premiered in 2013 by New York City Ballet MOVES, Varied Trio (in four) is also a company premiere.

The performance closes with George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, a ballet inspired by the medieval belief that human beings are made up of four different humors that determine a person’s temperament. Each temperament associated with one of the four classical elements, earth, air, water and fire, which were in turn the basis for the four humors. The four humors are reflected in the ballet’s four movements, “Melancholic,” “Sanguinic,” “Phlegmatic,” and “Choleric.”  Set to the score by Paul Hindemith, The Four Temperaments, is one of Balanchine’s earliest experimental works, fusing classical steps with a lean and angular style.

“I worked with Pennsylvania Ballet decades ago and have been excited to return ever since,” said Elyse Borne, setter for George Balanchine, “I love setting Four Temperaments because there are so many roles. I enjoy seeing what each dancer’s soul brings to the ballet and how they interpret the steps.”

The performances at The Merriam Theater:

  • Thursday, June 9 at 7:30pm
  • Friday, June 10 at 7:30pm
  • Saturday, June 11 at 2:00pm
  • Saturday, June 11 at 8:00pm
  • Sunday, June 12 at 2:00pm

Tickets are available online at or by phone at 215.893.1999, and in person at the Kimmel Center Box Office.

Conversations with Pennsylvania Ballet
Please join Conversations with Pennsylvania Ballet, a free informal discussion, with Pennsylvania Ballet dancer Laura Bowman who will talk about her experience preparing for Balanchine and Beyond, and her long career at Pennsylvania Ballet. This free event will be held on Monday, June 6 at 6:30pm at the Philadelphia City Institute Free Library (1905 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA).

Ignite your passion for dance with Preludes – Pennsylvania Ballet’s pre-show discussions. Held in the theater prior to each performance, except the Saturday evening performance, Preludes feature an ever-changing roster of company members, artistic and administrative staff, and visiting artists discussing Pennsylvania Ballet’s performances, taking questions, and offering unmatched behind-the-scenes insights. Preludes begin one hour prior to show time and are free and open to all patrons holding a ticket for the performance that follows. Preludes are a great way to meet other ballet fans, enhance your knowledge of the art form, and get to know the artists behind Pennsylvania Ballet’s beautiful and thrilling performances.

Please note: Preludes are free and open to all ticket holders for the day listed on the ticket.

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