Philadelphia Dance Theatre, a classic repertory dance company now located on the campus of the New Covenant Church at 7500 Germantown Ave. across from the old Trolley Car Diner, is presenting its annual community performance free of charge this Saturday at 4 p.m.
Audience members are asked to bring their own chair or blanket for a seat on the lawn. Directly following the performance in the courtyard is a fundraising event 'Al Fresco with the Artists," for a suggested donation of $20. Enjoy cocktails and light fare while having the opportunity to meet the artists.
“Breaking Ground,” consists of four new works that feature classical to contemporary dance, all commissioned specifically for the company’s individual dancers. The choreography highlights the broad range of styles taught at the company.
Highlights include “Isle of Hope, choreographed by Pat Brown, which features weaving patterns and exuberant footwork and celebrates the warmth and beauty of Irish culture. “Concur,” by choreographer Gary Jeter, is designed to highlight the quintessential PDT dancer - technically sound, fluid, and dramatic. This ensemble work is constantly shifting between duets, trios, and solos, yet it maintains a connectivity throughout.
These are followed by “Parola,” choreographed by Lila Kushner, a company alum who is now studying at Boston University. This intense unison work is set to a sound score of indistinct “words” - and presents the audience with questions pertaining to the modern world's incessant chatter.
Finally, “Moonshine,” by resident choreographer Melissa Chisena, is a joyful dance that celebrates Appalachian culture, with Kentucky bluegrass music and folk-like idiosyncratic movement.
According to director Joy Delaney-Capponi, Philadelphia Dance Theatre is a pre-professional ballet school that provides quality classical training and exposes students to a range of choreographers and styles. Its mission is to “enrich, inspire, and uplift lives through classical ballet, dance education, and performance.”
“The school is committed to bringing high quality, professional performances to the community at an affordable price,” she said. So the company donates a select number of seats to various charitable organizations for each of its productions - including area children’s homes, homes for adults with intellectual disabilities, and Vet Tix, a nonprofit organization that provides tickets to veterans and their families.
According to Capponi, the school provides dance training for beginners through pre-professional students.
Alumni have gone on to study with internationally-recognized schools, have been awarded scholarships to university dance programs, and are currently working professionally in the dance industry and beyond.
In addition to “Breaking Ground,” the organization’s annual free performance for the community, the company also presents an acclaimed “A Philadelphia Nutcracker,” each winter season, as well as a “sensory-friendly” Nutcracker, which is an abbreviated and gentler version of the classic holiday ballet, with lower music and softer lighting for those with sensory sensitivities.
The company also offers a children’s story ballet each spring season, and each year’s season culminates with a June showcase. Each year the school also awards tuition assistance to those who qualify, as part of the troupe’s Tuition Assistance Program and Boy’s Tuition-Free Program.
For more information, go to philadancetheatre.org.To register for the fundraising event, go to donorbox.org/breaking-ground-donations?default_interval=o