Spring Arts - Dance: There will be leaping, weeping

January 29, 2012

Ellen Dunkel
The Phialdelphia Inquirer

The forecast for the spring dance season is bittersweet. A lot of fantastic-sounding new choreography is planned, but we are also saying goodbye to two icons.

On the plus side, I look forward to several programs from Pennsylvania Ballet, especially the company premieres of Trey McIntyre's Peter Pan; Jerome Robbins' N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, a ballet in sneakers; and a world premiere from company choreographer in residence Matthew Neenan. In a Philadelphia-greatness two-for-one, hip-hop hero Rennie Harris is choreographing a new piece for Philadanco.

But two big names will be taking their final bows. Riolama Lorenzo, the tall, lovely Cuban principal dancer at Pennsylvania Ballet, retires in February after 10 years. And Jeanne Ruddy, a former Martha Graham principal dancer who has been choreographing and presenting dance here for 12 years, is folding her company after its season in May.

- Ellen Dunkel, who reviews dance for The Inquirer

Spring Arts - Dance:

Green Chair Dance (Annenberg Center, Feb. 3 and 4) This tiny Philadelphia troupe is quirky and fun. They jump, they make interesting shapes with their bodies, they act and react against each other, all with an alluring deadpan humor. (215-898-3900 or

Pennsylvania Ballet: "Pushing Boundaries" (Merriam Theater, Feb. 9 to 12) Three contemporary works, including William Forsythe's The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, which the company premiered in February, and Keep and 11:11 (to the music of Rufus Wainwright) from Matthew Neenan. Riolama Lorenzo will retire at the end of the run, after dancing her final performance, in Keep. (215-893-1999 or

Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company: "Oyster" (Annenberg Center, Feb. 9 to 11) Dance, circus, and Tim Burton - what more could you want? This piece was inspired by filmmaker Burton's book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. (215-898-3900 and

Pennsylvania Ballet: "Messiah" (Academy of Music, March 8 to 17) Live dance, live orchestra, and a full choir on stage, telling the story of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. (215-893-1999 or

BalletX (Wilma Theater, April 18 to 22) The modern ballet company's spring season includes a world premiere by Jodie Gates, as well as Edwaard Liang's Largo and co-artistic director Neenan's The Last Glass. (215-546-7824 and

Philadanco (Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, April 20 to 22) Rennie Harris, one of the best-known hip-hop choreographers, creating a world premiere for Philadanco? This I have to see! (215-893-1999 and

Pennsylvania Ballet: "Peter Pan" (Academy of Music, May 3 to 13) The boy who didn't want to grow up will fly across the stage of the Academy via choreography by Trey McIntyre. (215-893.1999 and

Jeanne Ruddy Dance (Suzanne Roberts Theatre, May 10 to 12) Ruddy's final season includes a last look at two of her dances - MonTage a Trois, which premiered last year at Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, and Out of the Mist, Above the Real - as well as a final world premiere for the company, Game Drive, based on Ruddy's experiences on a Kenyan safari and set to a score by Pulitzer-winning local composer Jennifer Higdon. (215-569-4060 and

Pennsylvania Ballet: "NY Export: Opus Jazz" (Merriam Theater, May 31 to June 4) In 2010, New York City Ballet danced Opus Jazz in gritty urban spots on PBS's Dance in America. Pennsylvania Ballet will premiere it in May on a program with Peter Martins' Barber Violin Concerto and a Matthew Neenan world premiere. (215-893-1999 and

Momix: "reMIX" (Annenberg Center, May 17 to 20) Momix is simply crazy, weird, surrealistic fun, and reMIX is a greatest-hits kind of show, so a good intro for newbies or a chance to catch up on favorites. (215-898-3900 and

The Phialdelphia Inquirer