On April 26 through May 7, BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet and resident dance company of The Wilma Theater, presents 13 performances of its Spring Series 2017 at The Wilma Theater. Since its 2005 inception, BalletX has built a repertory of 61 world premieres, leading The New Yorker to describe the company as “a place of choreographic innovation.” In recent years, BalletX has enhanced its commitment to innovation by instituting the Choreographic Fellowship, a program aimed at pairing an emerging choreographer with an established mentor in the field to create world premiere work on BalletX dancers. Spring Series 2017 will feature works by this year’s Choreographic Mentor, Cayetano Soto and Fellow, Tommie-Waheed Evans, as well as the return of Matthew Neenan’s The Last Glass (2010).
“I am looking forward to this performance series because it features a new work by Choreographic Fellow and Philadelphia native, Tommie-Waheed Evans. He is a rising star in our community and it will be a thrill to present his work on the company alongside Cayetano Soto and Matthew Neenan,” says Christine Cox, Co-Founder, Artistic & Executive Director of BalletX.
Cayetano Soto is a Barcelona-based choreographer whose work has been performed on companies around the world, including Nederlands Dans Theater, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Balé da Cidade de São Paulo, Companhia Nacional de Bailado, and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Soto was appointed the resident choreographer of Canada’s Ballet BC in 2015. He is serving as BalletX’s 2017 Choreographic Mentor to Tommie-Waheed Evans, and his work Schachmatt will be presented by BalletX for the first time in the United States. Soto told the Vancouver Sun that Schachmatt (“checkmate” in German) reflects his own battle between thinking and feeling when he’s creating new work, explaining “sometimes you listen to your brain, sometimes to your heart… for me, it’s like a game.” Following Schachmatt’s world premiere on Ballet BC in November 2016, The Georgia Straight described the piece as, “a nonstop parade of fun… there were flashes of Cabaret and Sweet Charity, offset by a soundtrack that spanned French postwar ballads, cheesy mambos, groovy ’60s dance beats, and even Peter Gunn.”
Matthew Neenan has been named “one of the strange originals of American ballet” by The New York Times. Since co-founding BalletX with Christine Cox in 2005, his choreography has been performed by companies around the country, including Pennsylvania Ballet, Opera Philadelphia, The Washington Ballet, Ballet West, Juilliard Dance, and New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute. BalletX welcomes the return of Neenan’s The Last Glass, which originally premiered on the company in 2010, and has since toured the country, with performances most recently at the 2016 Vail International Dance Festival, World Music/CRASHarts at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, and Portland Ovations, Maine. Drawing inspiration from the wild street-parade sound of American indie-rock band Beirut, The Last Glass is a ballet that slowly awakens like a city, part mysterious pageant and part raucous celebration. The Boston Globe commended The Last Glass’s “flurry of idiosyncratic solos and duets that ranged from playfully flirtatious to sexy and contentious,” and The New York Times praised the work’s “startling spontaneity and urgency,” a quality Neenan will amplify by re-casting all ten BalletX dancers in different roles this time around.
Tommie-Waheed Evans was already quite accomplished in his dance education and work with Philadelphia- based dance troupe PHILADANCO! when he was selected as BalletX’s 2017 Choreographic Fellow. Now with the fellowship opportunity underway Evans says, “It’s totally changed me and the way people see and respect my work. I know this is a serious platform to be placed on, and I’m humbled and excited about it.” BalletX’s Choreographic Fellowship, currently in its 2nd year with ongoing support from the Wyncote Foundation, is an opportunity for emerging artists to expand their experience and further develop their unique voices under the mentorship and guidance of established choreographers. Regarding the creation of a world premiere work under mentor Cayetano Soto, Evans says, “I’m a huge fan of his work. A good mentor is a gift from the universe, and I’m looking forward to a mentor committed to navigating me out my ‘comfort zone’ to make something extraordinary happen.” Evans plans for a world premiere inspired by contemporary video artist Bill Viola, and featuring the music of Jonathan Pratt, a New York City-based composer.
For a closer look at the Spring Series 2017 production, BalletX invites audiences to various audience engagement programming events, known as The X-Process. Starting with a pre-show Conversations with the Artists on opening night, audiences are also welcome to attend a Post-Show Q&A with the artists after the Thursday, April 27 evening performance.
Tickets to Spring Series 2017 at The Wilma Theater are available online at www.balletx.org, by phone at 215- 546-7824, or in person at the Wilma box office at 265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
BalletX Spring Series
The Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Wednesday April 26, 8:00 PM
Pre-Show Q&A with Artistic Collaborators, 7:00 PM Thursday April 27, 8:00 PM
Post-Show Q&A with Choreographers Friday April 28, 8:00 PM
Saturday April 29, 2:00 PM
Saturday April 29, 8:00 PM
Sunday April 30, 2:00 PM
Sunday April 30, 7:00 PM
Wednesday May 03, 8:00 PM
Thursday May 04, 8:00 PM
Friday May 05, 8:00 PM
Saturday May 06, 2:00 PM
Saturday May 06, 8:00 PM
Sunday May 07, 2:00 PM
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