Posted on Sat, Feb. 5, 2011

Photo deleted at photographer’s request.

Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancer Julie Diana and soloist James Ihdein Christopher Wheeldon’s “Polyphonia,” in “Classic Innovations” at the Merriam.

By Merilyn Jackson

For The Inquirer

Fueled by controversy, the public perception of ballet is evolving from girly pink to grown-up sexy. The evolution was evident Thursday night in Pennsylvania Ballet’s presentation of three contemporary works at the Merriam Theater.

The pieces that made up the program, “Classic Innovations,” were 10 to 23 years old, but looked as clean and crisp as spring blossoms. Their vibrance rebutted the death knell that New Republic writer and former dancer Jennifer Homans virtually rang for ballet in her recent book Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet. And these dancers looked delightfully human, compared with the obsessive character Natalie Portman portrays in the hit film Black Swan.

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