Philadelphia’s Premier Contemporary Ballet Company
Christine Cox, Co-Founder, Artistic and Executive Director
Matthew Neenan, Co-Founder, Choreographer
Saturday June 24 at 8 pm
Tickets available exclusively through the McCarter Ticket Office on or about March 1
BalletX Contemporary Ballet
BalletX produces original choreography that expands the vocabulary of classical dance for all audiences.
BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet, unites distinguished choreographers with an outstanding company of world-class dancers to forge new works of athleticism, emotion, and grace. Founded in 2005 by Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan, and now under the direction of Cox as Artistic & Executive Director, BalletX challenges the boundaries of classical ballet by encouraging formal experimentation while preserving rigorous technique. The company is committed to producing new works of the highest quality and integrity that bring the combined visions of choreographers and dancers to life and cultivate in audiences a collective appetite for bold, new dance.
Choreography: Matthew Neenan
Music: String Quartet Op. 76, No. 1 by Haydn; Credo by Kevin Puts (By arrangement with Aperto Press, publisher and copyright owner. Sole Agent: Bill Holab Music.)
Lighting Designer: Mark Stanley
Costume Design: Reid & Harriet Design
World Premiere: August 8, 2016, BalletX at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater at the Vail International Dance Festival
CRE·DO noun: a statement of the beliefs or aims that guide someone’s actions. Credo was inspired by choreographer Matthew Neenan’s recent travels to India. With new cultures, scents, symmetries and chaos everywhere, he found himself with a surplus of new dance ideas, and questions about how communities work, live, and love together. Credo is an exploration and reflection on those questions and memories.
“Matthew Neenan, whose choreographic career has blossomed at the festival, delivered ‘Credo,’ the last and best premiere of the evening, for the Philadelphia company BalletX. Its pantomimic gestures, marking rhythms in a Haydn score, rode the line between silly and profound” – The New York Times
“The work has the markings of a Neenan piece, with some of his often-used shuffling steps and arm movements, but it also has layers of breath work, pantomime, group dances, poses that look like Indian statues and paintings, and dancers wrapped in colorful sari-like costumes.” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
Each pas de deux took place in front of and through the company, which together formed sculptural architecture of gods in bas-relief, or — with linked arms and angled bodies — the illusion of elegant script. The dancing was intense and connected, solemn and joyful at the same time. – The Broad Street Review
“With the richly satisfying Credo, Neenan’s fluency in moving dancers in ever-evolving patterns, groupings, and juxtapositions enraptures the senses so fully that time is suspended, and the dance comes to a close before it hardly seems to have begun.” – The Dance Journal
GRAN PARTITA (2014)
Choreography: Jorma Elo
Lighting Designer: Drew Billiau
Costume Designer: Christine Darch
Music: “Lyric Suite, Allegro” by Alban Berg; “Serenade No. 10 in B-Flat Major, K. 361” by Mozart; “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” by Monteverdi; “Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Major” by J.S. Bach; “Clavierbuchlein, Book II for Anna Magdalena” by J.S. Bach
“The centerpiece, Jorma Elo’s “Gran Partita” (2014), is marvelously danced. [It] sets big, showy movements and emphatic dynamics where the music is subtle and often gentle… allow[ing] BalletX’s precise rigor and fullness of tone to emerge. This is a company whose skills continually deepen and mature.” – The New York Times
“Gran Partita was inspired by the film noir classic, Touch of Evil… Alban Berg’s chilling music and Drew Billiau’s lighting… carved the stage into harsh triangles and cast smoky shafts of light along the varied groupings, duets, and solos… [and] maintained the sleek look of BalletX.” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Jorma Elo’s “Gran Partita” accumulated depth and visual cohesion as it spun through a mix of musical excerpts, from the twitchy strident agitation of Berg’s Lyric Suite to the consoling Bach aria. By the end, Elo’s trademark aesthetic — sweeping balletic moves overlaid with quirky gestures and subverted by quixotic shifts of weight and dynamics — started to settle a bit, letting us revel in gorgeous shapes and human connections.” – The Boston Globe
“A playful, organic piece that solidified BalletX’s ability to stretch its gracefully athletic limbs.” – Broad Street Review
BIG ONES (2016)
Choreography: Trey McIntyre
Music: Rehab, Wake Up Alone, F**k Me Pumps, Valerie, You Know I’m No Good, Some Unholy War, To Know Him Is to Love Him, Back to Black, Back to Black (Vitamin String Quartet)
Lighting Designer: Drew Billiau
Costume Designer: Reid Bartelme & Harriet Jung
Set Designer: Trey McIntyre
“We are caught in a war between wanting to be great and wanting to be loved.” – Trey McIntyre
World Premiere: February 10, 2016, BalletX at The Wilma Theater
Big Ones explores the internal process of highly creative artists, and their balance between fearlessness and fragility, boldness and insecurity. The choreography is set to the voice of Amy Winehouse, who lived and died somewhere between greatness and ruin. The piece will also feature costumes by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung.
“’Big Ones’ is truly weird, but it takes you inside its weirdness so soon and so surely that it shows many different humors: It’s funny, touching, poignant, stirring.” – The New York Times
“Mr. McIntyre’s choreography is juicy, very dancey and weirdly passionate; without ever being sure where it came from, I fell in love with it early on.” – The New York Times
“Wacky, eccentric and fabulous.” – The New York Times
“A work to the music of Amy Winehouse that’s filled with brooding darkness.” – The Wall Street Journal
“McIntyre stages the piece to superb effect, with smooth transitions from scene to scene even where the scenes are strikingly different choreographically.” – Critical Dance
“The positive audience reception proves not only that Winehouse still resonates strongly, but that good pop ballet continues to be an area of opportunity.” – Dance Tabs
About the Company
Since the company’s founding in 2005, BalletX has expanded its repertoire with over 50 world premieres by internationally renowned artists including Jorma Elo, Nicolo Fonte, Jodie Gates, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Edwaard Liang, Adam Hougland, Matthew Neenan, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Gabrielle Lamb, Joshua L. Peugh, James Gregg, Olivier Wevers, Tobin Del Cuore, and Mauro Astolfi, among others. Firmly rooted in ballet technique, these contemporary pieces challenge BalletX’s dancers with the innovative possibilities of ballet in the 21st century.
With four annual performance series in Philadelphia, BalletX has reached diverse audiences of all ages and backgrounds as the Resident Dance Company of The Wilma Theater. Now recognized worldwide for its unique repertoire, the company participates in growing numbers of national and international tours, including performances at prestigious venues and festivals such as The Joyce Theater in New York City, Vail International Dance Festival in Colorado, Laguna Dance Festival in California, Festival de Ballet in Colombia, Ballet EXPO in South Korea, Sweet Pea Festival in Montana, Spring to Dance Festival in St. Louis, and DANCECleveland.
BalletX’s distinctive contribution to the American dance community has been recognized and supported in recent years by generous grants from the William Penn Foundation, Shubert Foundation, The Jerome Robbins New Essential Works (NEW) Program, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Engaging Dance Audiences (a program of Dance/USA), Barra Foundation, Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, and PECO, among others.