Hello brethren,

Most of you know me as a singer, songwriter, and sometime philosopher, but I’m going to put on a different hat for these upcoming blogs – that of the audience, the influenced, the absorber. Why? Because we need a map of where we are to know how to get beyond it. And it seems like good timing since coming up is one of the largest cultural gatherings in my area in many years, PIFA. The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts runs from April 7 – May 1 and has dance, film and video, food and fashion, kids and family stuff, music, speakers, salons, visual arts and exhibitions. Many of the best restaurants in Philadelphia will have guest chefs – 11 of them to be exact – Master Chef’s from Lyon and Paris – here to collaborate with the local chefs. The menu will be served from April 13 – May 1st. Visit http://www.pifa.org for more details.

(Okay so I got on a tangent there with the food .. can’t help it! .. so now after we’ve all eaten…)

Right now I’m looking for music and classical art forms that are pushing boundaries, and which I hope are going to answer a number of my existential questions about the nature of music today and where its going in the future – especially classical music, which is bound to old traditions and searching for new ones.

So this past week I attended a rehearsal for a multi-media show created by the fine arts renegade dance company BalletX and the Wilma Theatre.

The rehearsal was for their upcoming show, “Proliferation of the Imagination”. The most notable innovation of the show? The choreography and the music are being created at the same time.

Co-Artistic Director and choreographer Matthew Neenan and Dancers
photo: Bill Hebert/BH Photos

The dancers of BalletX are all trained in ballet but were looking for a way to do more innovative performances in Philadelphia. Co-creators Matthew Neenan and Christine Cox started the company five years ago. This project is based on the 1917 surrealist play “Les Mamelles de Tiresias” by Guillaume Apollinare, and Matthew Neenan and Walter Bilderback of the Wilma Theatre are working together to make a multi-dimensional performance on a text loosely based on Apollinare’s original play. Oh, and for your feminists out there, gentleman and ladies alike, this one is for you. The lead character lets her breasts blow up like balloon and goes off to live as an independent. And there’s more…

While Matthew choreographs, Rosie Langabeer, a new Zealand native, plays accordion and creates beat loops while upright bass, eclectic world percussion and harp join her. Some of Langabeer’s compositions are made before rehearsal, and some during as the dancers and musicians experiment together. Rosie is influenced by many different disciplines of music, but for this piece, her work in an Edith Piaf band is most apparent. Her accordion playing gives the music the turn-of-the-century French flavor that it needs while heading off to Zanzibar and into the 21st century.

composer Rosie Langabeer
photo: Bill Hebert/BH Photos

The dancing that I saw is beautiful, wild, strong, and bawdy, while created by Matthew and the dancers in one thorough gesture. It’ll be a mind-expanding show, and an entertaining, out-of-balance experience. It seems to makes sense because .. it doesn’t.

Here is some video of rehearsal that you can check out:


The show runs from April 12 – 24 and tickets are 25-35 and available on their website

In the meantime, I’ll be off for more adventures in Philadelphia. Stay tuned.

This story is brought to you with the support of PIFA (Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts) <http://www.pifa.org/> . Please Like their Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/PIFA.Philly>  Page and Follow them on Twitter <http://www.twitter.com/PIFAPhilly>