Our digital season concludes with a series of world premieres celebrating the beauty of dance and the music of Jennifer Higdon. Streaming May 27–June 2.

DANCE CARD

“In the game of ballroom etiquette, a ‘Dance Card’ was used to record the names of successive partners. It was a carefully orchestrated affair, much like Jennifer Higdon’s colourful score. Dressed in white tie attire, the ballet recalls the jubilance of a formal gala. As the performers fleet between partners, we are in effect dancing with our audience. I hope our patrons fill their dance card with that shared experience. May we have this next dance?” – Russell Ducker, choreographer

Cast

Mayara Pineiro
Ashton Roxander
Kathryn Manger
Aleksey Babayev
Sydney Dolan
Etienne Diaz
Lucia Erickson

Pau Pujol
Jaqueline Callahan
Austin Eyler
Gabriela Mesa
Isaac Hollis
Julia Vinez
Jeremy Power

Russell Ducker

Russell Ducker began his training at the Royal Ballet Lower School, White Lodge and graduated from the Royal Ballet Upper School, Covent Garden in 2007. In 2006, he won the Pamela Self Award for dance, as well as a bursary from the NFL foundation. As a student choreographer, Russell received awards in the Dame Ninette De Valois, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, and Ursula Moreton choreographic competitions and in 2006 collaborated with  musicians from the Royal College of Music on a new work. 

Russell performed with the Royal Ballet in their productions of Swan Lake, Onegin, The Nutcracker as well as the  Anthony Dowell Celebration Gala. Russell joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet for our 2014/2015 season and was promoted to the rank of Demi Soloist in 2019. Since then Russell has danced in a range of classical and contemporary repertoire including leading roles in Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse, Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort Juliano Nunes’s Connections, and Nacho Duato’s Remansos among others. Russell has choreographed twice for Pennsylvania Ballet 2, firstly in 2016 with Where The Sidewalk Ends featuring the poetry of Shel Silverstein and again in 2017 with Little Voices. In 2018 he premiered his first work for the main company, This Divide to music by Glenn Branca, at the Merriam theater. Pennsylvania ballet’s 2021 digital season featured his second company commission, Dance Card in an evening of works scored by Grammy award winning composer Jennifer Higdon. Also featured was Suspended in time, a collaboration with PA ballet artistic director Angel Corella and choreographer Kirill Radev to music by The Electric Light Orchestra.

Prior to Pennsylvania Ballet, Russell performed with Angel Corella and Friends. He later joined Angel Corella’s Barcelona Ballet, where he danced various soloist and principal roles and accompanied them in touring engagements to Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Buenos Aires, Portugal, and France. Russell also choreographed several ballets for the company, many of which enjoyed international premieres. Russell’s choreography with Barcelona Ballet includes Built to Fall Apart, Argon, Bourbon Street, Suspended in Time, Epimetheus, and In the Wake of Bliss

Russell has been featured in numerous television commercials, including one with premiere league footballer Neymar da Silva, and he has performed alongside Hugh Jackman and Maureen Lipman in Cameron Mackintosh’s West End production of Oklahoma.

SPILLWAY

Spillway is a meditation on the unsuppressable power of nature and its influence on the course of human lives–an unending journey with determinate direction and indeterminate end. Form and dynamics from nature are reflected in our natural being and the artifice, the art, that we make: the veins that carry our lifeblood follow the forms of rivers, and likewise the construction of our roads, highways, byways, and the course of our relationships through life. The form and flow of rivers is elemental, the shape of pure energy and life. Inspired by Jennifer Higdon’s study of three rivers in Tennessee, Concerto 4-3, Spillway continues the composer’s sonic journey into the course and flow of dance.” – Meredith Rainey, choreographer

Cast

1st Movement

Yuka Iseda
Jermel Johnson
Cory Ogdahl
Emily Davis
Nick Patterson
Sophie Savas-Carstens
Emily Wilson

2nd Movement

Lillian DiPiazza
Sterling Baca
Cato Berry
Adrianna de Svastich
Denis Maciel
Siobhan Howley
Erin O’Dea

3rd Movement

Lillian DiPiazza
Yuka Iseda
Sterling Baca
Jermel Johnson
Cory Ogdahl
Cato Berry
Emily Davis
Adrianna de Svastich
Denis Maciel
Siobhan Howley
Erin O’Dea
Nick Patterson
Sophie Savas-Carstens
Emily Wilson

Meredith Rainey

Meredith Rainey began dancing at 15 in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale. In 1985, he joined the Milwaukee Ballet. In 1987, he was invited to join the newly formed Pennsylvania-Milwaukee Ballet, remaining with the Pennsylvania Ballet when the collaboration ended—spending the majority of the time as a soloist—until his retirement in 2006.

Among other awards and fellowships, Meredith has been the recipient of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship (1995 & 2002), the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Artist as Catalyst Grant (2001), the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2002), a finalist for the Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2003), and a Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Grant (2010). 

Meredith has been commissioned to create works for Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet X, Delaware Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, National Ballet De Cali, Brandywine Ballet, Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble and institutions such as University of the Arts, Drexel University, Stockton University, American University, Goucher College, Swarthmore College and Bryn Mawr College. His work has been performed in North and South America and throughout Spain.

In 2009 Meredith founded and directed Carbon Dance Theatre, a contemporary ballet company in Philadelphia. In 2014 after deciding to concentrate on more artistic projects Meredith closed the company and remained a sought-after teacher, mentor, and independent choreographer. In the Summer of 2018 Meredith became a member of the first University of the Arts Master of Fine Arts in Dance cohort and graduated in May of 2020.

ENCOUNTERS

“Encounters is a reflection of my thoughts about this crazy wheel of time that is both universal and mysterious.  It is also about unexpected encounters and how we can’t anticipate how we will influence each other or whether our paths will cross again.  The people we meet have the potential to inspire us and increase the good within us. Our relationships are as mysterious to us as time itself and the possibilities are endless.

This piece was created on Zoom.  I was in one place and the dancers were all together in Philadelphia.  Despite the distance between us, the creative process was surprisingly smooth and honest, and everyone felt very free to explore new possibilities.  The constraints of Zoom offered me a new and unexpected language of movement and made me think outside my usual creative box.  The result is a very personal ballet that has been inspired by the many wonderful encounters in my life.” – Juliano Nunes, choreographer

Cast

So Jung Shin
Zecheng Liang
Nayara Lopes
Jack Thomas

Oksana Maslova
Arian Molina Soca
Dayesi Torriente
Thays Golz

Juliano Nunes

Juliano Nunes, born in 1990, trained at the Brazilian Dance Conservatory in Rio de Janeiro before furthering his studies at the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts and completing an apprenticeship with the Karlsruhe Ballet. His professional career began the following year, when he was hired by the company. His need for discovery took him to the Ballet Hagen in Germany, and he went on to join Gauthier Dance, also in Germany, for two years.

After a season at the Leipzig Opera Ballet, Nunes joined the Royal Ballet Flanders, under the direction of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. He has worked with, among others: Akram Kahn, Ohad Naharin, Merce Cunningham, William Forsythe, Jonah Bokaer, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Hans van Manen, and Yury Grigorovich, always fueling his curiosity while at the same time acquiring experience and a versatility that make him unique among contemporary dancers.

Nunes has also been successful as a choreographer. In 2017 he created Back Forward Back for Ballet Flanders, which he presented the same year at the 31st International Competition for Choreographers Hanover. Nunes has gone on to receive critical acclaim for his own choreography and has created pieces for the Royal Ballet in London, Nederlands Dans Theatre 2, Acosta Danza, Pennsylvania Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Mariinsky Theatre, Ballet Zürich Opera House, Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Staatstheater Hannover, Origen Festival Cultural, and Teatro San Carlo. Nunes has also contributed choreography for the hit Netflix series Tiny Pretty Things.

You may also like:

Season & Tickets

Whether you enjoy the grandeur and pageantry of full-length ballets or the breathtaking innovation of more contemporary works, our 54th season consists of a mixed repertoire designed to thrill and delight.

Meet the Ballet

Pennsylvania Ballet comprises a team of dedicated professionals—each one devoted to bringing you the most thrilling and inspired works ballet has to offer.

The School

The School of Pennsylvania Ballet offers the highest caliber dance education of any program in the Greater Philadelphia area, providing our students with exceptional technical training and unparalleled performance opportunities.