Inside the Pennsylvania Ballet's 2012-2013 Season

Classic Arts Features   Inside the Pennsylvania Ballet's 2012-2013 Season
With each passing season, Pennsylvania Ballet steps ever closer to its golden anniversary. In 2012-2013, the Company will take on some of the most groundbreaking work in its storied history, complemented by revered classics.


"Our 49th Season will challenge each dancer to develop a new aspect of his or her craft," Artistic Director Roy Kaiser says. "I hope you will join us on the journey.

Surrender your heart to the ultimate ballet of the Romantic era, Giselle, October 18-28, 2012 at the Academy of Music. Haunting and poetic, Giselle tells the story of a peasant girl who falls in love with a prince, and the heartbreak and despair that follow. With a moving score by Adolphe Adam and choreography by the French master Marius Petipa, Giselle offers both the promise of young love and the tragedy of it slipping away, in one evening of stunning classical dance. "What I love about Giselle is that it calls for such complex character from the principal ballerina, all while executing demanding technical feats," Kaiser says. "At the same time, this ballet truly showcases and relies on the corps. The audience will see why it has stood the test of time."

Revel in ballet's boundless potential with an evening of diverse works by three renowned choreographers in Balanchine/Wheeldon/Tharp, February 7-10, 2013 at the Merriam Theater. The legendary Twyla Tharp anchors this program with the quirky and fun Push Comes to Shove, originally created for Mikhail Baryshnikov and featuring Tharp's trademark theatrical style. A Dance Magazine review praised this work's crossover capabilities saying "Tharp made ballet beautiful in a new way, tough and cool."

George Balanchine's Square Dance is a favorite of many dancers. Its title comes from the structure of American folk dance, which Balanchine found made a complementary frame for classical ballet movement. Dancers wear simple leotards and tights, allowing audiences to focus on the dancers' breathtakingly speedy footwork and the brilliant score by Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli.

The Company Premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's compelling and intimate After the Rain showcases inventive partnering and heartfelt emotion. The first section of this piece features three couples. The second, most-identifiable part is a pas de deux. The ballerina is dressed in a pink leotard and her partner is bare-chested. At times they are close and tender with one another, while at other times they are separated and searching for one another. Kaiser recalls being spellbound by this work when he first saw it. "It kept my interest intently from beginning to end. Not every ballet does that," he says with a laugh.

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Visit the vibrant, mystical fantasy of George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream,March 7-17, 2013 at the Academy of Music. Set to Felix Mendelssohn's lush score, this enchanting ballet brings William Shakespeare's classic comedy to life. The hilarious tale follows the adventures and misadventures of a group of mortals and immortals in their quest for love. More than 20 child dancers from our new school will fill the forest as fireflies and fairies. A choir adds to the magic of this elaborate production, fit for all ages. Kaiser calls Midsummer one of his favorite full-length ballets of all time. This season, the Company will use updated sets and costumes designed by Martin Pakledinaz.

Carnival of the Animals
Let your imagination soar with Christopher Wheeldon's charming Carnival of the Animals, May 9- 12, 2013 at the Academy of Music. The story follows the dream of a boy, asleep in the American Museum of Natural History. Wild creatures emerge, and hilarious antics ensue. With witty narration written by Tony-Award winning actor John Lithgow, Carnival of the Animals unfolds to the well-known Camille Saint-SaêŠns score.

Two Balanchine masterpieces open the evening. Ballo della Regina is a joyous collection of allegro variations set to the music of Giuseppe Verdi. Its title translates to "dance of the queen." "Ballo is a tour de force for the principal ballerina," Kaiser says. "It's an action-packed 17 minutes." When the Company last performed Ballo della Regina in 2008, Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times raved about Principal Dancer Amy Aldridge, saying she "handles its ballerina role with a glow of confidence that no New York ballerina currently brings to it."

A Company premiere, Stravinsky Violin Concerto is one of Balanchine's classic black and white ballets. Balanchine and composer Igor Stravinsky collaborated on many works, their partnership undoubtedly strengthened by Balanchine's extensive musical training. "He understood a score from the inside out," Kaiser says. "Stravinsky Violin Concerto mirrors the intricacy and intensity of the music." Its movement is geometric and architectural.

Forsythe & Kylišn
Celebrate the evolution of Pennsylvania Ballet's repertoire with Company premieres by two of today's most influential choreographers in Forsythe & Kylišn, June 13-16, 2013 at the Academy of Music. Artifact Suite offers William Forsythe's singular brand of aggressive, angular movement. His daring interpretation of the ballet lexicon boasts lightening-quick rhythm, to-the-hilt extension, and unmatched precision.

Equally kinetic yet strikingly soulful, Jirˇ‹ Kylišn's seamless, fluid vocabulary propels his somber Forgotten Land. New to our repertoire, Kylišn found inspiration for this piece in a painting of water eroding the shore by Norwegian Expressionist painter Edvard Munch. For Kaiser, an eclectic season is necessary to the dancers' growth. "A contemporary piece like Forgotten Land can inform the performance of a classic like Giselle," he says. "The dancers become broader as artists."

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker_Ê¢
Journey to the wondrous Land of Sweets for the Philadelphia region's most beloved holiday tradition, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker_Ê¢. Follow Marie and her Prince through the dazzling party scene, a harrowing battle, a glistening forest full of snow, and into the Sugarplum Fairy's kingdom. Spectacular sets and costumes make this 44-year-old tradition sparkle like new. The Philadelphia Boys choir and dozens of local dance students add to the enchantment. See why so many make memories with this production.

Marissa Montenegro is Public Relations Manager at Pennsylvania Ballet.

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