Monday, April 14, 2008

Pennsylvania Ballet Gears Up for 45th Anniversary Season

Artistic Director Roy Kaiser has announced an ambitious lineup that celebrates classicism and challenges convention.

In the waning days of 1960, the country was poised for a new dawn. There was a renewed fervor for the arts, and building an American ballet tradition was a key facet of the agenda. During a colorful conversation at a cocktail party hosted by Lincoln Kirstein, the co-founder of New York City Ballet, the idea to found a ballet company in Philadelphia was crystallized. "Balanchine said to me 'We must have more ballet companies in this country'," recalls Pennsylvania Ballet's founder Barbara Weisberger. "My reply," she continues, "was 'Mr. B, if you're really serious about this--Philadelphia is the place'."

The ebb and flow of history would follow Pennsylvania Ballet through periods of prosperity and hardship, but the Company's commitment to class and artistry has never wavered. Over the past four and a half decades, the Company has cultivated a diverse repertoire that includes 127 classic and contemporary works, among them 33 jewels from the Balanchine collection.

The 2008-2009 Season marks Pennsylvania Ballet's 45th Anniversary, and Artistic Director Roy Kaiser has announced an ambitious lineup that celebrates classicism and challenges convention--three mixed repertory programs featuring some of ballet's biggest names, two romantic classics that have captivated audiences for centuries, and one dazzling production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.

"It's very satisfying to perform classic works from our repertory while bringing new work by emerging international choreographers to audiences in Philadelphia," says Kaiser. "Our dancers have been performing at a high caliber, and I'm confident this season will allow their artistry to shine through."

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