6ABC Loves The Arts

The 1950s era of jazz comes to life on stage

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
6abc loves the arts

The 1950s era of cool, urban jazz comes to life on the stage with the Pennsylvania Ballet

The Ballet is called New York Export: Opus Jazz and it's a mix of modern and classical dance&.Broadway's West Side Story in ballet form.

When it debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958, Opus Jazz was an instant smash hit. It was choreographed by Jerome Robbins, best known for his work in film and Broadway. He directed West Side Story the year before.

Roy Kaiser, Artistic Director, PA Ballet says, "I've always loved the piece because I think it's a great piece for the newer younger dancers in the company because it's in the flavor of West Side Story.

Evoking the raw youth and energy of the cool urban 1950s, Opus Jazz is nicknamed 'ballet in sneakers' because the dancers wear keds instead of pointe shoes.

"We have nothing else like this in our repertoire. It's very accessible. You don't need to know anything about dance. It's just great, great movement and great music," said Kaiser.

The dancers will also perform Peter Martin's Barber Violin Concerto, a pas de duex, showcasing the range between classical and modern dance and put on the world premier of a newly commissioned work by choreographer-in-residence, Matthew Neenan.

The Ballet's production of New York Export: Opus Jazz runs this Thursday, May 31st through Sunday, June 3rd. For tickets and scheduling, go to Pennsylvania Ballet.

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