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Pennsylvania Ballet Kicks-Off the 2016-2017 Season with Two Fall Programs in a New Performance Schedule

by Veronica Mikitka Reed
September 1, 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Pennsylvania Ballet and Artistic Director Angel Corella are proud to open the season on October 13 – 23 with Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella sponsored by PECO. Three weeks later, Revolution, a triple – bill featuring the George Balanchine classic Square Dance, David Dawson’s The Third Light, and a World Premiere by Philadelphia-based choreographer Brian Sanders will run November 11 – 13.

The 2016-2017 Season also introduces a new performance schedule, running from October 2016 until May 2017. This new schedule creates a Fall and a Spring series packed with three full length story ballets, three World Premieres, and three Company Premieres.

“I’m looking forward to showcasing the diverse talent of our dancers to Philadelphia audiences,” said Angel Corella. “This season we will thrill audiences with Balanchine, full-length ballets, and new and modern works never before performed.”

Cinderella

The season opener at the Academy of Music, Cinderella by British choreographer Ben Stevenson, was first premiered in 1970 by the National Ballet of Washington. Set to a heartfelt lyrical score by Sergei Prokofiev, Stevenson transcends culture and time, drawing audiences to a compelling story of love, strength, and acceptance despite personal obstacles.

“Ben Stevenson is a master story-teller. He has a gift for putting human emotion in visual form,” said Janie Parker, one of Mr. Stevenson’s production stagers. “He brings the drama and romance of Cinderella to life, interjecting comic relief along the way.”

Revolution

Following Pennsylvania Ballet’s season opener is Revolution at the Merriam Theater, a repertoire program featuring Balanchine’s "Square Dance," a company premiere by David Dawson, and a World Premiere by Brian Sanders.

George Balanchine’s "Square Dance" pays homage to American folk dance with speedy footwork behind unlikely but pleasing scores from Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli. “It requires technique and stamina,” said Victoria Simon, a Balanchine Trust stager. “It’s a wonderful challenge for the dancers, but it’s a delight for the audiences.”

First created for the 40th Anniversary for the Royal Ballet of Flanders, David Dawson’s "The Third Light" has garnered international acclaim with its biting edge and seamless creative combination of solos, duets, and trios. Still rooted in the classical ballet tradition, this abstract piece was inspired by the presence and meaning of light. Bound by Gavin Bryars energetic score, "The Third Light" promises to take audiences on an emotional journey.

“'The Third Light' takes the audience through a complete range of expression and emotion. This piece is special because of the beautiful and extraordinary weaving plasticity of the movement,” said Christian Marchant, Ballet Mistress for David Dawson. “David has created a visual journey for us that brings the fascinating music of Gavin Bryars to life.”

Rounding out this dynamic program is a World Premiere by Brian Sanders, the Artistic Director and Founder of JUNK, a Philadelphia – based troupe that strives to produce work that is both artistic and accessible. He was noticed by Philadelphia Weekly as “the city’s most exciting choreographer” and is known for his grasp of technical dance techniques as well as his willingness to push boundaries in his choreography.

This commission touches a personal note for Sanders, who started taking classical ballet classes at the age of 11 from former Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Alexei Yudenich. “Alexei became my childhood hero. Since then, my career has taken a wide turn away from ballet but the core techniques and values that started with Alexei always remained,” said Sanders. “Returning to this arena so many years later is one of the most rewarding moments in my life. My hope is that somehow my work on these amazing artists translates to some young soul in the audience and inspires them as much as Alexei inspired me.”

The performances for Cinderella at the Academy of Music:

- Thursday, October 13 at 7:30pm
- Friday, October 14 at 7:30pm
- Saturday, October 15 at 2:00pm
- Saturday, October 15 at 8:00pm
- Sunday, October 16 at 2:00pm
- Thursday, October 20 at 11:00am
- Thursday, October 20 at 7:30pm
- Friday, October 21 at 7:30pm
- Saturday, October 22 at 2:00pm
- Saturday, October 22 at 8:00pm
- Sunday, October 23 at 2:00pm

The performances for Revolution at Merriam Theater:

- Thursday, November 10 at 7:30pm
- Friday, November 11 at 7:30pm
- Saturday, November 12 at 2:00pm
- Saturday, November 12 at 8:00pm
- Sunday, November 13 at 2:00pm

Conversations with Pennsylvania Ballet

Please join us for Conversations with Pennsylvania Ballet, a free informal discussion where a Pennsylvania Ballet dancer will talk about their experience preparing for the Season opening performance. This free event will be held on Monday, October 3 and again on Monday, November 7 at the Philadelphia City Institute Free Library (1905 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA).

Preludes

Ignite your passion for dance with Preludes- Pennsylvania Ballet’s pre-show discussions. Held in the theater prior to most performances, Preludes features an ever-changing roster of company members, artistic and administrative staff, and visiting artists discussing Pennsylvania Ballet’s performances, taking questions, and offering behind-the-scenes insights. Preludes begins one hour prior to show time and is free and open to all patrons holding a ticket for the performance that follows. Preludes is a great way to meet other ballet fans, enhance your knowledge of the art form, and get to know the artists behind Pennsylvania Ballet’s beautiful and thrilling performances.

Please note: Preludes is free and open to all ticket holders for the day listed on the ticket.

About Pennsylvania Ballet

Founded in 1963 by Balanchine protégée Barbara Weisberger, Pennsylvania Ballet is one of the nation’s leading ballet companies. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the Company’s annual local season features six programs of classic favorites and new works, including the Philadelphia holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. For more information, visit paballet.org, call 215.551.7000 or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to go behind the scenes at any time.
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