PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Pennsylvania Ballet is celebrating its 50th birthday with a new home and a season of collaborations with cultural organizations presenting museum exhibits and lectures that highlight the company's illustrious and sometimes difficult history.
The company's $17.5 million home on North Broad Street, a former garage for Brinks armored cars, includes four rehearsal studios for dancers with the ballet and its affiliated school — re-established last year after a two-decade absence — as well as wardrobe and costuming areas and several small offices. The company for many years had worked out of rented studios and office buildings in several locations.
"This is just the first phase of a much larger project," Michael Scolamiero, Pennsylvania Ballet executive director, said Thursday. An adjacent building is being rehabbed to house administrative offices and meeting space.
The new facility, called the Louise Reed Center for Dance, has plans for ballet classes and community programs to generate new revenue and to give the company a year-round presence.
The ballet also is celebrating its half-century mark with exhibits, films and lectures at a half-dozen museums and other locations during the spring and fall, engagements at the National Arts Center in Ottawa and possibly the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. There also will be a free performance at the Academy of Music in October.
The company's 2013-2014 season kicks off with its first complete performance of George Balanchine's three-act ballet "Jewels" Oct. 17-27. Also planned are company premieres of works by Robert Weiss and Jiri Kylian, world premieres by Trey McIntyre and Matthew Neenan, and annual favorites "The Nutcracker," ''Carmina Burana" and "Coppelia."
"I wanted to pay tribute to the people and some of the work that brought us where we are today," said Roy Kaiser, artistic director. "I (also) wanted to maintain our commitment ... to the creation of new work, and I wanted to continue bringing the work of contemporary choreographers working throughout the profession."