A brilliant evening of works by Hans van Manen by Philadelphia Ballet

Hans van Manen by Philadelphia Ballet
Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.

Philadelphia Ballet presented Hans van Manen Humankind May 12-15, 2022, at the Academy of Music. 

For those who may not know van Manen, he has brilliantly choreographed modern ballet works for decades for his Nederlands Dans Theater. When his company visited New York in 1975, impressionable minds and hearts, mine included, were swept away. Impossibly, his works have not been presented here for years, so it is with amazing pleasure that we get this opportunity. Philadelphia Ballet has not disappointed his fans, both old and new. 

Opening night was Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 7:30pm. The program included Hans van Manen’s (HvM’s) masterpiece Grosse Fuge, 1971, using music by Beethoven played by a string quartet. The scenery was courtesy of San Francisco Ballet, and it was stunning.Among the eight awesome soloists was the retiring star Jermel Johnson, who, of course, danced brilliantly. What shall we do without him? Lucky us, that we have had his peerless artistry this long. Like any athlete, there comes a time when the body tells us to retire. Mr. Johnson was given a two-page tribute in the program. Good luck to you, Mr. Johnson, in your future endeavours. 

Next was Variations for Two Couples (1985), with Dayesi Torriente, Arian Molina Soca, Oksana Maslova, and Jermel Johnson. Mr. Molina Soca was extravagantly beautiful this evening as he moved with grace and spellbinding artistry. Indeed, This season has shown him to be at the acme of his powers. He fluidly and nonchalantly partnered Ms. Torriente in amazing movements. Mr. Johnson and Ms. Maslova appeared to have been melted onto each other. So beautiful, so dazzling. Scenery and costumes were courtesy of San Francisco Ballet.

The final offering of the evening was HvM’s 5 Tangos (1977). A large complement of dancers moved to the rhythms of Astor Piazzolla. The costumes were courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet. This beautiful evening was applauded at length by an exceedingly excited audience. 
Although the Philadelphia Ballet’s season is finished, there is a Spring Festival at Red Rose Farm in Villanova June 2-4, 2022. These performances will be unique to the occasion. For ticket information to this fundraiser, visit www.RedRose.givesmart.com
Philadelphia Ballet’s 2022/2023 Season is now open to subscribers. Old favorites plus new works will be presented in a busy season. For information, visit www.philadelphiaballet.org/subscribe

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