[Donald went to see the Pennsylvania Ballet's 50th anniversary show, honoring artistic director Roy Kaiser, and reflects on the makings of a successful performing arts piece. -- the artblog editors] My very first introduction to the performing arts was a Pennsylvania Ballet production of “The Nutcracker” when I was five years old. Coming back to the Academy of Music to see “Director’s Choice” on May 9 proved to be some form of homecoming for me. That night’s three unique performance pieces gave me a wide variety of dance disciplines and musical styles to sink my teeth into. “Director’s Choice” is ... More » »
[Andrea experiences a two-day multidisciplinary event involving music, visual and performance art, presentations, and discussions centering around notable African-American artwork, thought, and creativity]. — the artblog editors] Until this weekend, I’d never experienced crowd fervor aroused for a loftier goal than football. “Carrie Mae Weems LIVE” dramatically changed that. I was challenged, engrossed, stretched, and deeply moved by a showcase of current African-American artists, critics, and scholars. It was a heady experience to be with a majority African-American audience in a major, New York museum for two-and-a-half days that celebrated, discussed and analyzed African diasporic creativity. High time for this ... More » »
Dancing Around the Bride at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA)through Jan. 21, 2013 is an extraordinary, multi-dimensional exploration of a significant period in American art history. While the ideas it presents are hardly new, the sensitive installation, designed by the artist, Philippe Parreno, emphasizes the multi-disciplinary nature of the mutual personal and artistic influences among Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. This is an exhibition as Gesamkunstwerk, and it offers the best, possible understanding of the interconnected, artistic experimentation in New York City in the late 1950s-1960s. Parreno’s installation pivots around a low, platform ... More » »
A young man in the nondescript uniform of his generation (trainers, tee shirt,…) dances in front of the automatic doors to a grocery store. His solo (captured on video) veers between street dancing and modern dance, then turns into the stumbling of a drunk. The slow motion, repeats and jump cuts of the video manipulation creates its own, sophisticated choreography. Edward and Me (2000) is the first of six videos in the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery‘s exhibition, David McKenzie; Everything’s alright, nothing’s okay! (through September 28). The video is smart and appealing – yet raises the question of what assumptions we’d ... More » »
Commotion is a six-month project directed by John J. H. Phillips for University of the Arts (U Arts). Funded under the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (RDA), it involved a course for U Arts students, seven professional artists in various art forms (including writing, dance and theater), workshops with residents of Grays Ferry, Point Breeze, and South of South Street, two artists as workshop leaders and a large number of technical staff. The funding for Commotion was generated by PECO‘s construction of a power station in Grays Ferry; following legislation in 1959, any private developer who obtains property through the RDA must ... More » »
Andrew Simonet, David Brick and Amy Smith founded Headlong Dance Theater in Philadelphia in 1993. The three college friends use theatrical props, street clothes, and speech in their works, which honor movement in space. Their non-standard productions lie between dance and theatre and may not ever include jette or pirouette moves. Over the years the team, which is based in Philadelphia, has performed nationally and internationally and received a Pew Fellowship (2006). More recently they have done some performances in galleries in response to art — at the ICA (for the Sheila Hicks exhibit) and at Dalet Gallery in Old ... More » »
The 103 minutes of Pina rush by quickly, even for a non-dance aficionado. It's not just the 3D effects in Wim Wenders' tribute to the late dancer/choreographer Pina Bausch, although there are a couple 3D wows. What is captivating is the love. Love of the dancers for their late artistic director (who died in 2009, 5 days after being diagnosed with cancer); love of Wenders for his subject; and love of human beings by Pina, whose exquisitely choreographed dances telescope the joy, sorrow and need of one human for another ... More » »
The 2010 Philadelphia Live Arts and Fringe Festival is over, after sixteen days of nearly non-stop performances. As anticipated, Lucinda Childs’ Dance–a re-staging of the original piece of 1979–with film by Sol LeWitt and music by Philip Glass, was the exemplar to which all other avant-garde work should aspire. With Childs’ roots in the original “fringe” of conceptual artists at New York’s Judson Memorial Church in the early 1960s (which offered unconventional figures like Yoko Ono, Allan Kaprow, and Claes Oldenburg a place to show their work), these trailblazers all helped to redefine dance, music, theater, and the visual arts.