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November 12, 2016


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I saw both the rehearsal and opening night performances. I liked Third Light the first time and even more the second. So much is going on that you cannot take it all in the first time. The WHY? on the bare-chested men was discussed in the Preludes session. It signifies the body...not the costume. I think the music was harmony that the dancers put in motion.

I have long been a fan of Cirque de Soleil. Brian's piece, though aerial is not Cirque. The beauty of the dancers and their grace was astounding. I (and the rest of the audience) loved it. The music was less than exciting but the rest? All I can say is that Angel proves there is ballet after Balanchine.

Thanks Sherry, and much much thanks to Bryan for his detailed descriptions and observations.

I'm not generally a fan of ballet companies trying to access other forms of entertainment and pass it off as a ballet performance. If companies want to do that, they should probably eliminate "ballet" from their company names. There are exceptions, of course. Every once in a while a genius comes along who can pull it off marvelously and then everyone tries to imitate them. But a company's core product should neither slow in improvement nor suffer so that it can expand to other areas.

Angel perhaps may be tinkering with the idea of so-called "disruptive innovation". It's such a popular notion, but what people don't understand is that overall it fails much more often than it succeeds. If a company has a lot of extra cash and can afford failure after failure, fine - bring it on. But if the company doesn't have the coffers of a Proctor & Gamble or an Apple with which to research, experiment, and spend years fine-tuning, then it should probably resist the idea of disruptive innovation and think about innovating "inside the box" or at least close by it.

Ballet is a specific art form. Giselles and Swan Lakes still sell out all over the world. What does that tell you about what the audience wants to see? Unfortunately, at this time, there are few choreographers who dedicate themselves to working within the specific discipline. Consequently, ballet is searching for heroes to save it within worlds of modern dance, hip hop, gymnastics, and theater. Ballet can save its own soul and flourish, but its art can't be made on a production line or by people not well-educated in the discipline. It's really hard to do – duh, what in the arts is worthwhile that isn't hard to do?

In the case of PA Ballet, it doesn't sound like any harm has occurred as the result of wandering into acrobatic/gymnastic elements. But because I knew it wasn't going to be ballet, which is my core interest and where I choose to spend my discretionary income, I didn't make a great effort to get to Philly this time.

Hi Haglund, I completely agree with you regarding PAB and the veering from ballet. I also did not attend these performances (and I live 20 minutes from the Academy of Music) as I prefer more classical pieces and the Dawson and Sanders works are not my cup of tea. I still remember sitting through the horrible Neenan work last year (mainly to see Lauren Fadeley dance once last time, and also because it was on a bill with Serenade) but Square Dance was not enough of a pull to get me to go and sit through two pieces that I'd likely not enjoy. I'd rather spend my money elsewhere. But I'll definitely be there for Le Corsaire the last mixed bill of the season in May (I'll put up with the new Neenan work for Tschai Pas).

So far, no interesting or new castings for Nutcracker. I'm sure later in the run there will be.

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