Janet Anderson


BSR Contributor Since May 12, 2009

Janet Anderson is a widely-published dance writer who lives in Laverock, Pa.

I started out as a political aide, working as a legislative assistant to Senator Mark Hatfield, moved on as special assistant to Nancy Hanks, who was then chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Married a college professor, worked on my own Ph.D., which remains uncompleted, because we kept moving. My topic, which I still hope will be a book, is a ballet analysis of Degas's work.

In Los Angeles someone read a small dance item I'd written. The Los Angeles Herald Examiner called and asked if I wanted to review for them, and I said yes. I found reviewing had the same immediacy as political work. You see something, you think about it, you write about it and move on, building a mental bank to draw on.

That led to the Santa Monica Evening Outlook, Long Beach Press Telegram, and, when we moved East, to the Philadelphia Inquirer (Weekend section), Philadelphia Daily News (dance critic) and on to PBS Applause, Seven Arts Magazine and Philadelphia City Paper .

My husband is a professor of folklore. We live a couple blocks out of Chestnut Hill in Laverock. .

By this Author

28 results
Page 1
Someone to blend with Johnson's physicality. (Photo: Alexander Iziliaev.)

Pennsylvania Ballet's "Balanchine/ Wheeldon/ Tharp'

Three big names, perfect together

The Pennsylvania Ballet's combination of George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon and Twyla Tharp provided a romp for audience and troupe alike.

Janet Anderson

Articles 1 minute read
Keegan: Not so easy, and a little dangerous.

BalletX Summer Series: Farewell, Anitra

Sophisticated fun

BalletX did it again, assembling a program rich in musical choices, burnished by exceptionally challenging choreography that kept dancers and audience alike on edge.

Janet Anderson

Articles 3 minute read
Yogev, Fadeley: Next year, a program for kids?

Pennsylvania Ballet's "Peter Pan' (2nd review)

Peter, we hardly knew ye

Pennsylvania Ballet's Peter Pan was sumptuous and entertaining. But unlike The Nutcracker, it probably left most kids clueless about its original enchanting characters and story.

Janet Anderson

Articles 3 minute read
None dare call her 'middle-aged.'

"Montage Ó Trois': Jeanne Ruddy's farewell

Jeanne Ruddy closes a chapter

In a dozen years as a wonderful part of Philadelphia's dance community, Jeanne Ruddy and her company found drama, tragedy and comedy not in theater or mythology but in everyday life. Her farewell was a beautiful blend of dance and artwork.

Janet Anderson

Articles 4 minute read
Widell (left), Hench: Jesus, with a little help from his friends. (Photo: Alexander Iziliaev.)

Pennsylvania Ballet's "Messiah' (1st review)

Easter special

Robert Weiss's Messiah may be a Bible-based ballet, but it offers the physical strength and highly charged interactions of real theater.

Janet Anderson

Articles 2 minute read
Veyette (left), Fadeley: A family tradition in more ways than one.

Pennsylvania Ballet's "Nutcracker' (1st review)

Even Scrooge's heart would melt

Once again, Pennsylvania Ballet trotted out a new corps of sugar plum fairies and little angels in what's become a Christmas tradition for the whole Philadelphia metropolitan region.

Janet Anderson

Articles 3 minute read
Bare feet, bright costumes, infectious joy.

KÓ¹lÓº Mèlé's "Sacred Journeys' at the Painted

African roots: The real deal

KÓ¹lÓº Mèlé is no mere group of well-meaning ethnics performing to amuse themselves and their audience; it invites us into the infectious beauty, mystery and glamour of the true African aesthetic— which is a long way from tap dancing and shuffling.

Janet Anderson

Articles 3 minute read

BalletX's Fall Series

Real life in dance? Well, why not?

BalletX founders Matthew Neenan and Christine Cox started with a dream of pursuing the new and the different in movement. Their extraordinary Fall Series demonstrated that they're not only changing dance, but also changing people's lives in the process.

Janet Anderson

Articles 3 minute read
Hua Hua Zhang's floating costumes: A far cry from Punch and Judy.

"Two Hands' at Annenberg

Magical moments

Two Far East expatriates now based in Philadelphia— the Chinese puppeteer Hua Hua Zhang and the Indonesian choreographer Kun-Yang Lin— joined forces for a program that was enthralling from beginning to end.

Janet Anderson

Articles 2 minute read
Kerollis, Horne in Seiwert's 'It's Not a Cry': How relationships change. (Photo: Alexander Iziliaev.)

BalletX Summer Series (1st review)

The BalletX formula: Compose seriously, dance joyfully

BalletX's summer program demonstrated just how accomplished this spunky company has become in a short time. Whether they're creating their own work or bringing in intriguing experimenters from around the world, the BalletXers rarely produce anything that isn't totally professional and excitingly new.

Janet Anderson

Articles 4 minute read
Hench (left), Fadeley: Beautifully precise. (Photo: Alexander Iziliaev.)

Pennsylvania Ballet's "Swan Lake' (1st review)

Out of the forest and into the studio

Roy Kaiser says he wanted a Swan Lake that was an original production. He couldn't have known how well Christopher Wheeldon's poetic original interpretation of a long established classic would suit his company and his audience.

Janet Anderson

Articles 6 minute read
Portman (left), Kunis: The image a dancer fears most.

"Black Swan' (2nd review)

Hall of mirrors: Inside a ballerina's head

What sets Black Swan apart from other ballet movies is that it's a psychological thriller with genuine ballet roots. In the overheated work of learning the dual Swan Queen role, the heroine begins losing her ability to sort out what's real and what's imaginary. Black Swan. A film directed by Darren Aronofsky. For theaters and times in greater Philadelphia, click here.

Janet Anderson

Articles 5 minute read
'Phantasmagoria': Brueghel via Taylor, complete with nun and Bowery bum.

Paul Taylor at Annenberg (2nd review)

Sound and fury, signifying…. what?

The great modern dance pioneer Paul Taylor is 80 years old and dripping with honors. But Phantasmagoria, his newest piece, couldn't be weirder or less like the work that has made him a legend.

Janet Anderson

Articles 4 minute read
Pillardance: Unexpected stimulation.

Fringe festival wrapup

Fringe Festival wrapup: Even the silly stuff is growing up

You can still find still quirky little outfits putting together odd bits and pieces and calling it theater or dance or performance art. But on the whole, the level of accomplishment at the 2010 Live Arts/Fringe Festival greatly exceeded those of the past.

Janet Anderson

Essays 6 minute read
Keating (top), Prescott in 'Risk of Flight': Who needs a story line? (Photo: Alexander Iziliaev.)

BalletX Summer program at the Wilma (1st review)

It's all about movement

BalletX celebrated its fifth anniversary with a program demonstrating just how sophisticated this small troupe of ten has become within a short time period. It was especially good to see Matthew Neenan back to being his movement funky self again.

Janet Anderson

Articles 3 minute read