Pennsylvania Ballet and Artistic Director Angel Corella are proud to open the 2018-2019 season October 11-21 at the Academy of Music with the company premiere of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet, sponsored by PECO. The following month the company will present a contemporary program comprised of three ballets; Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort and world premieres from award-winning choreographer and Pennsylvania Ballet company member Russell Ducker, and Gallim Dance founder and artistic director, Andrea Miller, November 8-11 at the Merriam Theater.
“This is going to be a very exhilarating season for Pennsylvania Ballet,” said Angel Corella. “Throughout my career, I was lucky enough to perform both Romeo & Juliet and Petite Mort. I’m delighted that our dancers will now get to experience both masterpieces and bring two beautiful and romantic ballets to Philadelphia.”
Romeo & Juliet
Pennsylvania Ballet’s 55th season opens at the Academy of Music with the company premiere of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet. The choreography embraces Shakespeare’s passionate love story by showcasing the beauty of love and the devastation of death, with monumental set designs by Paul Andrews and the romantic Prokofiev score. Rarely performed by American ballet companies outside of New York City, MacMillan’s emotionally moving ballet is considered one of the 20th century’s best adaptations and is only allowed to be performed by the greatest companies in the world.
“We couldn’t think of a better way to kick-start this season than with one of the most powerful love stories in the world,” said Corella. “Romeo & Juliet has always been one of my favorite ballets to perform and we’re very proud that our company has the opportunity to share this stunning ballet. Everyone who sees it will understand why it’s considered the greatest ballet of all time.”
Petite Mort and World Premieres
Following Pennsylvania Ballet’s season opener, the November Program will explore where contemporary ballet has been and give a taste of where it might be headed. Performed at the Merriam Theater, the program will feature Jiří Kylián’s daring and provocative Petite Mort, and world premieres by Russell Ducker, Pennsylvania Ballet company dancer, and Andrea Miller, Gallim Dance founder and artistic director.
Created for the Nederlands Dans Theater in 1991 in honor of the Salzburg Festival on the second centenary of Mozart’s death, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort is danced to slow segments of two of Mozart’s most beautiful and adored piano concertos, Nos.21 and 23. The choreography incorporates subtle sexual imagery, exploring the concept with characteristic wit, humor, and eroticism.
“Petite Mort is one of the true masterpieces of the 20th century- beautiful, romantic, and moving all at all once,” said Corella. “It’s wonderful to see our dancers truly immerse themselves in movement that creates poetry with their bodies, making this the perfect opening to our November program.”
Russell Ducker is a Corps de Ballet member and promising choreographer whose work has already been performed all over the world. His fresh and informal style uses intimate partnering, thought provoking asymmetry and imaginative, playful echoing of movement to express complex emotive states. Ducker has choreographed numerous ballets for the Barcelona Ballet and the premiere of his five-movement choreography, titled Epimetheus, opened at the New York City Center in 2010. Throughout his career, Ducker has received numerous awards including the Dame Ninette De Valois in 2001, Sir Kenneth MacMillan in 2002 and 2003, and Ursula Moreton in 2005. This is his first commission for Pennsylvania Ballet.
“I’m very honored to have the opportunity to choreograph my first ballet for the Company and I can’t wait for the audience to experience the high energy performance we have planned,” said Ducker. “The ballet will be a journey for the dancers, exploring the incitement, impact and consequence of when two opposing forces meet.”
Known for her imaginative and visceral work, Andrea Miller is a world-renowned choreographer and creative director. She has developed a recognizable artistic voice of thrilling physicality, insatiable curiosity, and riveting emotion that pushes the boundaries of performance by continually discovering connections between movement and other forms of expression. Miller’s works have been performed across the world – from London and Paris to New York City. Two years after graduating from Julliard, she founded Gallim Dance, a New York-based company whose mission has been described as realizing the “endless human capacity for inspiration.” Miller was also the 2017-2018 Artist in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the first choreographer to hold this position.
"After attending Pennsylvania Ballet's mixed repertoire program last November, I was very moved by the company," said Miller. "I look forward to working with the dancers to create a demanding and powerful piece that ranges from explosive power to subtle stillness. Together we will explore new movements that bring us out of our comfort zone."