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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Something new for Philadelphia

Posted on Mon, May. 17, 2010

With more than forty dances notched in Brooklyn-born choreographer Nicolo Fonte’s dancebelt, how is it we’ve not seen one in Philadelphia prior to last Friday night? Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has commissioned six dances by him in as many years and is the third company to perform his 1999 In Hidden Seconds since he made it for Spain’s Compania Nacional de Danza. They gave the work its Philadelphia premiere at the Kimmel’s Perelman Theater over the weekend.

Twenty international companies offer Fonte’s works, and it would be great if Pennsylvania Ballet had several. His work is too important to be unknown to Philadelphia ballet lovers who jumped to their feet at its close.


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