The Pennsylvania Ballet opens its spring digital season with Strength, a triple bill of filmed performances including Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Stanton Welch’s Clear, and Suspended in Time, choreographed by Angel Corella, Russell Ducker, and Kirill Radev.
Playing to its strengths
Concerto Barocco is a longtime Pennsylvania Ballet favorite, but I’ve been looking forward to the other two pieces since the theaters went dark last March. Angel Corella co-choreographed Suspended in Time when he was director of the Barcelona Ballet. The dance, set to the music of the Electric Light Orchestra, focuses on three couples.
This will be its Pennsylvania Ballet premier, but for soloist Ashton Roxander, it brings him full circle. He first joined the company as a member of its PBII. In a recent interview, he told me, “The first-ever rehearsal I had was the solo from Suspended in Time—my first interactions with Angel. Now, he said, revisiting the part as a soloist, “you really feel your growth and realize how far you’ve come as a dancer. So that was pretty special.”
I asked if he was going to bring the sexy vibe of Corella’s version and yes, he is. “The music is so vibrant that if you don’t really throw yourself into it and unashamedly do the movement and feel your swagger, it doesn’t look right, so I definitely tried to pick up on that interpretation.”
Welch’s Clear, was a response in dance to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Set to the Music of J.S. Bach in a neoclassic style, it features one ballerina but focuses on the men of the company. Roxander said it’s the hardest ballet he’s ever done: “It just doesn’t stop. It’s high energy, and you just dance and dance and dance and dance.”
The season is dedicated to Pennsylvania Ballet founder Barbara Weisberger, who passed away in December at the age of 94.
What, When, Where, and Accessibility
Strength will be streaming with two casts from March 25-31, 2021. Tickets are available online, $25 for one cast, or $30 to see both. Season tickets are $50 and include Strength, Resilience in April, and Beauty in May. A VIP season pass is also available.
Image Description: Two ballet dancers are centered, Yuka Iseda and Jack Thomas, with other dancers in the background of the stage. Dressed in ivory white, Iseda and Thomas are together in position, looking to their left.