Pennsylvania Ballet's digital spring season, is currently underway. Titled Strength. Resilience. Beauty., the virtual performances feature newly filmed productions of classic ballets, world premieres, and principal solo performances. The season pays tribute to the late Barbara Weisberger (1926-2020), who founded Pennsylvania Ballet with an extraordinary vision to connect with the community through ballet. The season, composed of three distinct programs, is streaming on paballet.org now through June 2.
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“We are proud to dedicate this season to our founder Barbara Weisberger. She was a true visionary and our Company is forever grateful for the indelible impact she made in our community and across the industry,” says Pennsylvania Ballet’s Executive Director Shelly Power. “This season our audiences can enjoy an unparalleled repertory of ballets, accessible from the safety of home. Now more than ever, there’s a strong desire from our patrons and community to experience the arts that evoke joy, emotion and inspiration during these challenging times. While we can’t perform live at the Academy of Music this season, our incredible dancers and artistic staff have swiftly adapted to create new digital works for devoted audiences – near and far – until we can safely return to the stage.”
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Strength. Resilience. Beauty. is dedicated to the late founder of Pennsylvania Ballet, Barbara Weisberger, who passed away in December 2020. Weisberger was a key influence on the contemporary American ballet movement and notably brought Pennsylvania Ballet to national prominence and acclaim under her direction. She was a protégé of choreographer and New York City ballet co-founder George Balanchine, whose work is embedded in the core identity of Pennsylvania Ballet and is thoughtfully featured throughout the digital spring season to honor the company’s Balanchine roots.
“This season will surely leave our audiences breathless and spellbound as our dancers have poured impeccable artistry into each production after six months of being away from the stage,” says Pennsylvania Ballet’s Artistic Director Angel Corella. “These repertoires are some of the most physically demanding works we’ve created at Pennsylvania Ballet, and our dancers have risen to the challenge by working tirelessly to practice technique and maintain peak physical condition during this time of quarantine. This season is a celebration of our dancers’ resilience, the beauty of their artistry, and their strength of mind and body which continues to push the art form forward.”
Pennsylvania Ballet dancers took class, rehearsed and filmed performances for the digital spring season at the Performance Garage, a space dedicated to dance in Philadelphia’s Spring Garden neighborhood, while adhering to appropriate safety guidelines. The studios and newly renovated theater are outfitted with professionally sprung floors and a custom stage to resemble a larger proscenium theater space to better showcase ballets on film.
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Single tickets for each installment are available for purchase for $25, and a bundle ticket for all three installments is available for $50. An exclusive VIP package consisting of unlimited viewing within the dedicated timeframe is available for $175. Tickets can be purchased via paballet.org.
Second Installment: Resilience
Streaming April 29 - May 5, 2021
The season’s second program will feature George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, Angel Corella’s Raymonda Suite, and a solo excerpt from Dwight Rhoden’s And So It Is…
Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante is hailed as one of his purest and most joyous dance pieces. Originally produced in 1963, the ballet is set to Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and features a high degree of choreographic development within restricted time and space, making it one of the most demanding pieces in the repertoire.
A breakthrough contemporary work by Christopher Wheeldon, Polyphonia (2001) features eight dancers moving in highly precise, almost mathematical choreography to stunning visual effect. This angular ballet is set to ten piano pieces by the composer György Ligeti, who pioneered the musical technique of micropolyphony.
Marius Petipa’s original choreography from 1898 is reconstructed by Corella for this production of Raymonda Suite. The festive orchestration and classical choreography features a series of impressive solos, revealing different emotions and colors with each movement. This ballet is danced to Alexander Glazunov’s enchanting score.
The second installment will close with another spectacular solo performance by principal dancer Jermel Johnson from Rhoden’s And So It Is… (2015). Featuring music by Steve Reich, this excerpt celebrates the strength, majesty, and perseverance of one man and the inevitable evolution that takes place in life, over time.
Third Installment: Beauty
Streaming May 27 - June 2, 2021
Pennsylvania Ballet will conclude its season with three world premieres choreographed by Juliano Nunes, Meredith Rainey, and Russell Ducker. Each ballet will feature music from the incredibly accomplished, in demand Philadelphia-based composer, Jennifer Higdon.