Photo Credit: Grace Kathryn Landefeld

Penn Live Arts Closes 50th Anniversary Season with SW!NG OUT, June 9-10

Penn Live Arts (PLA) closes its celebratory 50th anniversary season with SW!NG OUT, a joyful presentation of Lindy Hop choreography and improvisation conceived of by audience favorite and tap superstar Caleb Teicher, along with their Braintrust of collaborators Evita Arce, LaTasha Barnes and Nathan Bugh, all set to live swing music by the Eyal Vilner Big Band. This Philadelphia premiere concludes with an on-stage jam session, with the audience invited to participate! Performances are Friday, June 9 at 8 PM, and Saturday, June 10 at 2 PM and 8 PM. For tickets and more information visit PennLiveArts.org.


Dancers in SW!ING OUT are Evita Arce, Brandon Barker, Nathan Bugh, Gaby Cook, Andrea Gordon, AJ Howard, Michael Jagger, Jennifer Nicole Jones, Brian Lawton, Rachel Pitner, Caleb Teicher, and Sean Vitale. Musicians in the Eyal Vilner Big Band are Vilner, Willie Applewhite, Julieta Eugenio, Erán Fink, Ian Hutchison, Anthony Hervey, John Lake, Joshua Lee, Imani Rousselle, and Martha Kato.

Lindy Hop is the preeminent swing-jazz, partnered dance. In the late 1920s, movement elements, including those of the Charleston, the Collegiate and the Texas Tommy, were swirling together in African American communities to form a new style, and they coalesced around a musical groove called “swing.” Dance champion George Snowden supplied the name “Lindy Hop” in reference to Charles Lindberg, whose transatlantic flight was the phenomenon of the moment. The name stuck, and the dance was popularized by early masters at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.

SW!NG OUT presents social Lindy Hop and vernacular dance as a jazz concert experience. It is a blend of prearrangement and improvisation, where only some of the steps are choreographed and only some of the music is on the page. Performers and spectators are invited to interpret the material in real-time to share in the exhilaration of creation.

Even though Lindy Hop and vernacular jazz have been used in other productions for nostalgia or novelty, there has not been a touring, evening-length program celebrating what these dances have become. By assembling genuine swing-dance superstars in an improvisatory space, this show offers a unique glimpse into their universe: the modern Lindy Hop scene.

Teicher’s Braintrust notes, “For us, Lindy Hop tackles the issues of society-at-large but in an arena of exaggerated humanity. Touch, trust, gender, history, intimacy and partnership get ground together there, in the crucible of jazz, and they are reified as art. Our mission with SW!NG OUT is to search for perspective on these complexities while embracing the joy of jazz dance and music.”

Friday, June 9, 8 PM
Saturday, June 10, 2 PM
Saturday, June 10, 8 PM
The Friday evening performance will be followed by a champagne toast to celebrate the end of the season.
Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
For tickets, call 215.898.3900 or visit PennLiveArts.org.

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