dance

BalletX's Winter Series will warm your bones with electrifying dance

Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

It's sensational, and if you're not trying to hold back sobs as you watch it, you might be a robot.

BalletX's Winter Series will warm your bones with electrifying dance

Alexander Iziliaev
BalletX's Winter Series will warm your bones with electrifying dance

Alexander Iziliaev

The always-engaging, ever-changing, not-your-mother's-ballet company, BalletX, presents its 2015 Winter Series, a nearly two-hour long presentation split into four distinct performances.

Each is exquisite in its own way, and each serves to illustrate the inherent talent of these dancers and creativity of these choreographers.

Nortbert De La Cruz III's world premiere of Talsikan was up first, a dark, brooding but electrifying piece that offered the dancers wearing strange, whip-like props on their costumes that they gracefully incorporated into their movements. They leapt and twirled, as ballet dancers do, but in this piece, they also scurried across the stage, writhed and drummed with pointe shoes from underneath a nearly-closed curtain. It was indeed the sort of piece you get lost in, over before you know it.

Triptych, Val Caniparoli's piece based on a series of photographers of soldiers before, during and after war, had the dancers wearing military fatigues and infusing the piece with militaristic movements like stylized salutes and standing at attention. If there was ever a way to incorporate the military into ballet, Caniparoli's done it, but that doesn't mean it still doesn't feel…odd, somehow.

But it's really Amy Seiwert's It's Not A Cry that will absolutely floor you during this series. With just two dancers and the haunting, heartrending sounds of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah," the piece muses on a struggling relationship, with the dancers' gestures ones of grasping and then pushing away, erotic embrace and then painful rejection. It's sensational, and if you're not trying to hold back sobs as you watch it, you might be a robot.

The series' finale switches gears — thankfully, for our emotions — with Cayetano Soto's Malasangre, a sassy, high-energy piece with the guys in long skirts and the girls in nude-colored outfits, with Cuban/Spanish/Latin music pumping behind every movement. Here, the stage is littered with gray paper butterflies (I think, butterflies),that scatter and dance just as the company does. It's a flashy explosive piece that closes out the show on a high note — but in this Winter Series, the show is made up of almost exclusively high notes; regular dance fan or not, don't miss it. It'll warm your frigid winter bones.

Winter Series 2015, $22 and up, Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St., Fri., Feb. 20, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 21, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 22, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., http://balletx.org/ 

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