Corrections or additions?

This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the January 21, 2004

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Now the City of Dance Boom!

Dance companies large and small are thriving in Philadelphia. The city

today is home to more than 40 companies and 2,000 professional

dancers. While the city’s marquee attractions – Pennsylvania Ballet,

Philadanco, and Rennie Harris – can write their own tickets, the city

has devised a novel way to bring its plethora of small, independent

companies before the public, and it’s called Dance Boom!

The annual festival mixes and matches two or three companies on a

mixed bill and professionally produces the resulting torrent of dance

over a three-week period at the Wilma Theater. The third annual

DanceBoom! launches on Wednesday, January 21, with dance shows

continuing every Wednesday through Sunday, to Sunday, February 8.

This year’s festival centers on the plural dance perspectives that

call the city home. It showcases a significant group of city companies

that have had the opportunity to collaborate with artists in other

countries. These dancer-choreographers draw from a broad palette of

dance forms, and the season includes traditional dance and the

reconstruction of a classic work from the modern dance canon.

DanceBoom! opening night features Headlong Dance Theater and Group

Motion Dance Company, two of the city’s best known and long-lived

modern companies, both of which function as collectives. Headlong,

which has been produced in New York’s hip venues and come away with

its coveted Bessie Award, was co-founded by three friends from

Wesleyan University – Andrew Simonet, Amy Smith, and David Brick. Next

in the Dance Boom line-up is a multi-cultural evening featuring

choreographers Charles O. Anderson (with his new company Dance Theatre

X), Hip hop artist D. Sabela Grimes, and Japanese American dancer Roko

Kawai.

Also featured in the three-week Dance Boom is Melanie Stewart Dance

Theatre and Philadelphia Chinese Opera Society. The final program

features Subcircle, performing on a bill with Dancefusion, which is

remounting an Anna Sokolow classic, "Time Plus."

"In this year’s festival two things jump out at me," says festival

curator Nick Stuccio. "One is the work being made with international

collaborators from both the Far East and Europe, and the other is the

infusion of dance theater in several works. Each evening provides an

exciting comparison of work based in both modern and traditional

dance." There was a time, says Stuccio, when those Philadelphia

dancers "who gained the slightest bit of quality in their art-making

left to pursue it in other places where there were more resources and

more audience. This is no longer true."

– Nicole Plett

Dance Boom!, Wilma Theater, Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia,

215-546-7824. Online at www.wilmatheater.org. Tickets $20; opening

night celebration is $40. Wednesday, January 21, to Sunday, February

8.


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