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BalletX Fall 2018 Season at the Wilma

Ralph Malachowski

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posted by Ralph Malachowski on Dec 4, 2018 10:30am | comments


The Wilma Theater is now presenting BalletX’s Fall 2018 season until December 9. There are three world premieres in their Fall season: Yonder, a Skype Ballet, by Wubkje Kuindersma; The Last Lifeboat, by Marguerite Donlon; and Napoleon/Napoleon, by Cayetano Soto.

BalletX had a 30-minute pre-performance talk presenting the three choreographers in which they spoke about their works, focusing upon the genesis of their works, and the methodology used in creating and presenting the works on this opening night, November 29. Ms. Kuindersma had difficulties entering the U.S.A. on a visa, so part of her ballet was begun over Skype, with her watching and reacting to the dancers, hence, the subtitle, “a Skype ballet.” Ms. Donlon described her work as a reflection upon the fact that her great aunt was saved from third class certain death on the Titanic in 1912 by a heroic man who took her to first class I order to be the last woman on the last lifeboat. The men allowed the women to be saved while they all drowned in the icy Atlantic. Mr. Soto explained that his work was inspired by his thoughts on “The Emperor’s Syndrome,” a psychological phenomenon whereby children and teenagers abuse their parents. He chose to look at the humorous side of the issue, placing it during the time of empire, with distinctly Prussian overtones.

Leading the evening was Yonder, a Skype Ballet, by Wubkje Kuindersma, a mysterious work where the ten dancers seemed to be looking into the horizon, or yonder, for hope, for answers, and for peace. The group dynamics often reminded audience members of Gerald Arpino or Maurice Bejart, while one duet for two men stood out with distinction. Stanley Glover and Roderick Phifer appeared to be close friends, perhaps lovers, in a grand, expansive duet which was a joy to witness. Yonder is a beautiful work well worth a return viewing in the future.

After an intermission, The Last Lifeboat, by Marguerite Donlon began ominously, with the plaintive moan of a ship at sea. Several figures in strange capes added to the mystery which soon unfolded into a literal retelling of the teen-aged girl being saved by the young man. Zachary Kapeluck was phenomenal as the young man. At the end of the work, he appeared to be drowning by his downward movements. An unforgettable, hair-raising moment not to be forgotten.

After the second intermission, Napoleon/Napoleon took the stage. As with the other two works, this was again totally different in approach and design from the others. Mr. Soto brought unexpected movement along with humor to completely change the tone of the evening. The costumes for both men and women were uniform/kilt concoctions with petticoats. The queer sensibility continued with tricycles and bad, egocentric behaviors played out in dance. Napoleon/Napoleon was both refreshing and troubling by turns. Bravo to the dancers and to the choreographer.

BalletX will continue its Fall season at the Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, until December 9.  For information about this and the Spring 2019 season which will be at the Wilma from March 6-17, call the box office at 215-546-1824, or visit .


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