BalletX returns to live performances with a series of four outdoor shows at The Mann in Fairmount Park.
During a recent conversation with BalletX Artistic and Executive Director Christine Cox, choreographer Hope Boykin and percussionist and composer Ali Jackson, I found out quickly how much of BalletX’s post-pandemic return to live performances this summer, four outdoor shows, June 24 to 26 at The Mann on Parkside Avenue in Fairmount Park, was based on mutual respect, fandom, and friendship.
For instance, Cox, a classically trained dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet from 1993 until her retirement from the stage in 2006, knew well the work and reputation of Boykin, a longtime student at The Ailey School who worked as an assistant to choreographers Milton Myers and the late Talley Beatty, as well as being a part of the legendary PHILADANCO. In turn, Boykin has been a longtime collaborator with Jackson who, in his time, has played with the likes of Max Roach, Donald Byrd, Betty Carter, Aretha Franklin, and James Mtume, as well as Wynton Marsalis, whose work appears on its own within the confines of this summer’s BalletX choreographic compositions.
“That Old Piano Roll” from trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, along with “Finishing the Hat” by minimalist Steve Reich comprise the foregrounded musical background of BalletX co-founder and choreographer Matthew Neenan’s Sondheim-inspired work. Choreographer Dwight Rhoden’s athletic movement and grace is backed to the tune of deconstructed Bach and beyond. Boykin’s collaboration with Jackson, “IN The Distance,” is a jazz groove-filled journey into abstract movement.
With the pandemic still a thing (believe it or don’t), The Mann has a series of enhanced safety precautions, including mandatory face masks and socially distanced seating. So deal.
Tickets begin at $35 and are on sale now. Go.