Pennsylvania Ballet

Article excerpt

PENNSYLVANIA BALLET ACADEMY OF MUSIC PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA OCTOBER 30-NOVEMBER 8, 2003

I left the Pennsylvania Ballet's performance of Dracula thinking, "What an amazing company this is!" After changes in artistic leadership, bankruptcy, and near extinction in the 1990s, it has emerged victoriously alive and kicking in the new millennium, with Roy Kaiser at the helm. This is the company's fortieth anniversary season, and they are by no means middle aged. The PA Ballet repertoire ranges across the ballet spectrum from nineteenth-century classics to contemporary pieces by Dwight Rhoden, David Parsons, and Trey McIntyre. The dancers' command of Balanchine's works should bring enthusiasts flocking to Philadelphia to see them strut their stuff during the centennial year.

So, why Dracula? Well, it was the Halloween season and, like The Nutcracker for Christmas, holiday programming is a surefire crowd pleaser. I attended a Saturday matinee performance. Kids (mainly girls) of all ethnicities brought their parents, attesting to the success of Kaiser's outreach, education, and marketing efforts. Ghoulish regalia was on sale in the lobby, and some youngsters came dressed in capes and long, web-sleeved dresses. The audience was in the mood, and they were given a spectacle that lived up to expectations. …