Pennsylvania Ballet soars with 3 new works

Sunday, 12 November 2017, 10:24:07 AM. The ballet is starting to look like a new company. Is that a good thing?
New ballets are always a treat, and the Pennsylvania Ballet opened its second fall series at the Merriam Theater on Thursday night with three of them, including two world premieres. Its On Edge program shows the speed and daring of its dancers in a trio of contemporary ballets. Helen Pickett’s Tilt, commissioned by the company, opens the program. It’s a multilayered ballet exploring how people interact with their environment. Set to music by Philip Glass, it includes many surprises, starting from the beginning, with the dancers popping up from under a large platform. Dim lighting makes the details difficult to see, but there is always something to look at in unexpected places. While a couple is dancing a duet on one side of the platform, other dancers repeat small patterns in the shadows on the other side. One by one, the four principal women arched backward off the platform into their partners’ arms, creating a lovely sort of layered effect. Mayara Pineiro and Arian Molina Soca emote with their full upper bodies, arms and shoulders swooping as they step. Oksana Maslova, paired with Zecheng Liang, combines her delicate footwork with her amazing flexibility without being overly showy. Matthew Neenan, choreographer-in-residence, created his 17th world premiere for the Pennsylvania Ballet, It Goes That Way. Set to a series of pieces by Laurie Anderson, it opens with Ana Calderon, Ian Hussey, and Alexandra Hughes moving robotically with each staccato beat, fitting in smooth...Read more
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