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BalletX: A Fall to Remember

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dancer Anitra Keegan in Meredith Rainey’s THEY BREAK.  Photo by Bill Hebert.BalletX opened their fall series last night at the Wilma Theater; performances will run through Sunday, November 22nd. 

 

Not only does fervor have its way with BalletX’s dancers in the company’s third season, but so does the spirited, commanding choreography of three choreographers who have lent their exquisite comprehension of motion and sensitivity for movement to electrify with three world premiere dance pieces. Their ability to take an old-world art form and transform it into a born-again genre is seamless. 

 

The fluidity of your conventional ballet is there, but the concise, peculiar movements take the experience to a whole new level. A somber sensuality. Atypical, staccato movements.  Your eyes may too dance in awe of a style that is infrequently witnessed. These dancers aren’t just going through the motions, but they become the piece as they bald-facedly and readily give their all to a show that was only put together in a few weeks—in what the choreographers called a “rushed” process.

 

The process was not only hurried, but it is never complete. Guest choreographer Alex Ketley confesses he will more than likely give show-goers a new point of view of his “SILT” number from now until BalletX’s fall series closing. “From this show to tomorrow’s show, I’m going to change it.  I’m monitoring it as I watch it over and over,” he humbly admits after the opening show.  “SILT,” the show’s middle child, is dim and murky.  The silence that opens up the dance gives off such an awkwardness that it fuels your anticipation and curiosity for an indistinct storyline that evolves right before your eyes. His work is compliant.

 

Local choreographer Meredith Rainey draws inspiration from a Chris Armstrong oil painting named “Summerhead” that has men dancing in long, flowing skirts and women dancing with such force that sweat brashly flies from their faces. In “THEY BREAK,” Rainey wanted to do something big with a lot of movement and he accomplishes that. “I see myself as a vehicle and I keep my ego out of it,” he reveals.

 

dancer Colby Damon in Matthew Neenan’s LAST OF THE YEAR.  Photo by Bill HebertThe last number created by BalletX’s Co-Artistic Director Matthew Neenan is so light and airy and such a stark contrast from the pieces that came before, it will turn your November night into a day reminiscent of sun rays and a warm breeze. Think Disney’s “Fantasia” colliding with modern ballet.  “LAST OF THE YEAR” will make you smile from the inside out and gives room to confiscate your thinking cap for a perfect closing to an otherwise obscure show.

 

There’s so much raw emotion and broad range of meaning that, like all art, you can truly make what you want of it.  But if you thrive to know if you’re in sync with what the choreographers had in mind, attend the show Saturday at 2PM for an intimate Q&A session with the creators.

 

The dancers’ discipline and control is so apparent through dreamlike stillness and an inner sense of calm. They boast across the stage and rotate their bodies in electrifying movements.  Your senses will be heightened.  Your chest will tighten. Your heart will expand. Take on what BalletX has put forward.

 

 

Tickets: General $30,  Senior $25, Students $20! 
To purchase tickets Call (215)546-7824, click here or visit the Wilma Theater Box Office, 265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia

Group tickets: Get a group of 10+ and save 20%.  Call today to book your group seats!

 

 

Photos by Bill Hebert (BHPhotos)