Cel­e­brat­ing the every­day with Leah Stein Dance Com­pa­ny’s Close to Home’

2 minute read
The Leah Stein Dance Company brings movement to Edith Neff's paintings. (Photo by Mira Treatman)
The Leah Stein Dance Company brings movement to Edith Neff's paintings. (Photo by Mira Treatman)

Leah Stein Dance Company presents Close to Home, a reflection on Philadelphia’s Edith Neff, a painter known for her striking scenes of everyday Philadelphia life. The performances take place on September 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 4 PM at The Art Room Studio and is directed by Leah Stein, who will take the stage with 10 other dancers of a wide variety of backgrounds.

Finding Balance

Carefully chosen from a wide variety of backgrounds, Stein describes the dancers taking the stage as “Dancer-dancers meeting professional dancers, actress, and movers.” The group was carefully curated as Stein searched for voices to create that just-right balance of expressive variety. Using improvisation within the structure provided by the subject matter, they hope to convey the dynamic and dramatic scenes of Philadelphian life through their story, song, and movement.

Keeping it Local

Brought to life through a partnership with the Woodmere Museum, Stein was surprised at how closely she connected to an artist she had only just discovered. Neff and Stein’s collective passions for exploring shared and personal space, and the personal vs. the collective are motifs that resonate strongly in the performance. The dancers will depict Neff’s fascination with the intimacy of sharing public spaces, her family, and her self-portraits. These topics will also be interpreted through the performer’s own experience, adding their own voices and creating what Stein calls “ a layering of time and memory, present time with the past; a bringing together of many voices rather than one narrative.”

At its core, Close to Home stays true to Neff’s themes of celebrating the everyday. “This work [is] about the beauty of the ordinary... the beauty, the richness, the depth in simplicity or even accidents; being tuned to the ordinary and the everyday.” Like the subjects of Neff’s art, she says, “it gives so much room for individuality so we’re not all trying to look alike or speak alike, but we are still in connection with each other.”

What, When, Where:

Close to Home takes place on September 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 4 PM at The Art Room Studio, 2329 S. 34th Street, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia. Tickets are $20 and available online. The venue is not wheelchair accessible.

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