Koresh Dance Company performs in “Ev-o-lu-tion.” | Photo via Facebook, courtesy of Bicking Photography.
The Koresh Dance Company has been touring the world, showing off their amazing performances in Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma in the past few weeks alone. Next week they head to Belarus and then to Art Basel Miami, the prestigious international celebration of the arts. But before they go globe-trotting, see them tonight at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.
The dancers will perform their hit “Ev-o-lu-tion,” the work of artistic director and founder Ronen Koresh. The program uses movement to explore how humans would have – or could have – communicated at the dawn of time. Koresh asks, has our way of communicating really evolved or do we just use a different language? The piece uses guttural sounds and the body to investigate the raw side of humanity and whether we truly differ from our ancient ancestors.
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Millennium Dance Complex in the making | Photo by Lauren Mame Thomas
Get ready to squeal with joy, people: A massive new dance and strength-training complex—complete with three changing rooms and childcare!—is opening in the old Pearl Art & Crafts building on South Street come November.
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Millennium’s wall-to-wall street art |Photo by Lauren Mame Thomas
Attention all dancers (and Dance Moms fanatics): Millennium Dance Complex, the world-renown dance studio company, is opening a location in Philadelphia. Located on South Street in the former home of Pearl Arts & Crafts, the 39,000 square feet dance, arts, and fitness complex will open Friday, November 28th. But this isn’t just any old dance studio. The California-based Millennium has made its name by bringing the biggest choreographers in the biz to its studios to teach classes and workshops.
And boy, are they bringing them. Their opening weekend alone features classes instructed by choreographers for Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Mariah Carey, and more.
The majority of the studios classes will be drop-in style, covering all genres of dance with monthly master classes. (Check out Property’s coverage for more info on the building and photos.) Since half the A-list utilizes Millennium’s training facilities (located in Dallas, North Hollywood, Chicago and more) dancers may occasionally see a pop star hanging out while on tour to rehearse or scout talent.
Philadelphia-born owner Lori Ramsay Long and her 15-year-old daughter are to thank for the new complex. After spending years driving her daughter to New York for professional-track dance classes, Long wondered why she couldn’t find similar-quality classes a little closer to home. Now young dancers from the region can get top-tier training from a rotating cast of celeb teachers without the lengthy and costly commute.
Despite being a West Coast import, Millennium is fully embracing its South Street surroundings: its four huge studios are named after the letters in “Pearl” and marked with pieces of the art store’s original sign.
Everyone has that one thing they’ve always wanted to try: painting, singing, cooking … taxidermy. So, what stops us? Well, learning a new skill takes a lot of time and effort, as well as money and a bit of courage. (Ok, a lot). Philly is full of exciting classes and workshops to help you scratch that creative itch you’ve always had. The list of fun and funky options below is just the tip of the iceberg. Go forth and explore!
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Local choreographer—and former G Philly cover boy—Gunnar Montana is currently starring in his latest FringeArts piece Resurrection Room, one of a host of LGBT shows playing at this year’s festival. Unfortunately we haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but a reader, Mark Bolen sent this commentary that we wanted to share. Full disclosure: As you’ll discover when you read, Bolen is Gunnar’s ex-boyfriend, but conflict of interest aside, it offers a behind-the-scenes peek into the artistic evolution of one of Philly’s most promising up-and-coming performers, LGBT or otherwise. Check out his piece below.
Photos by Garrett Matthew
I met Gunnar moonlighting at a Center City restaurant back in 2011, but he didn’t call himself Montana then. He was Gunnar Clark, an adorable UArts senior, bursting with energy and creativity. We became fast friends—and eventually boyfriends. I spent two years on a wild ride intimately linked to Gunnar’s evolution as an artist. During the course of that time I got to load my car full of shredded medical records, ride a stretcher down 8th Street at 2 a.m. (we got pulled over, but avoided a ticket), stand in a robe in my tub and be doused with black paint, and fold I don’t know how many paper plates and cone “spikes.”
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Philly videographer Mike Cessario just wrapped on the pilot of a proposed documentary series that follows local electronic dance music (EDM) pioneer and Actual Records founder Aaron Ruxbin.
Cessario tells me he decided to shoot a film that focuses on Ruxbin because of the DJs unlikely story. He was a Drexel University business grad who “ditched the cubicle to create a grimey underground dance music empire in Philadelphia,” he says. “EDM has exploded and DJs are the new rockstars, but I want to show the less-glamorous side of the business—the side that actually powers 90 percent of [the Philly EDM scene].”
These days, Cessario says, Ruxbin basically lives out of his car while putting on sold-out shows at TLA and, for a little side money, a strip club called Purple Orchid. All that’s captured in pilot, with commentary by local MC Buddy Leezle and DJ Jack Deezl.
Cessario hopes this short film will attract investors who may be interested in backing a more-blown-out documentary. If not, this could be the only episode we’ll see. “This will remain a conceptual pilot for a series until we find more support. If we don’t, it will die and go to the pilot graveyard.”
Check it out above.
Last year Gunnar Montana had us all hot and bothered with the freakishly hot flyer to his dance show Basement, but this year our award for hottest FringeArts promo definitely goes to Brian Sanders JUNK.
The local dance company, known for provocative performances, high-flying trapeze acts, and, well nudity, is putting on Suspended at this year’s festival. The company’s website describes the show as “a fantastical titillating abyss, where dual states of being and consciousness cross both sides of the line at the same time.” It promises audacious physicality. amd strong adult content that is “raw, brash, erotic, extreme.”
Upping the hotness factor a bit, each show will be preceded by a “Locker Room Preshow,” where, if you pay a little extra, you can “join the men of JUNK for an up-close and personal view. Find yourself … caught in the middle of a rat-tail towel war; wearing soap suds and, enjoying all male, nude-bathing by candlelight.”
Uh, yes, please.
The show runs September 5-20 at JUNK’s studio at 2040 Christian Street. Tickets, ranging from $35 to $70 can be purchased here.
Extra outtake from the shoot:
Local dancer Jennifer Jones was just hired to join the L.A. Clippers Spirit Dance Team.
The 22-year-old tells me she moved to Los Angeles on July 11th, and began auditioning for the team only seven days later, on the 18th.”I got there at 8 a.m. and didn’t leave until about 5 p.m. … We went through three rounds of auditioning. The competition was intense. All of the girls who came to that audition were beautiful and phenomenal dancers.”
She soared through that day, and then moved on to finals, which consisted of three more rounds: jazz, hip-hop, and solo sections. After that, family and friends had a week to vote online. In the end she was one of the 18 dancers chosen—out of around 200 people.
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Since its start in 2010, National Dance Day, a day devoted to celebrating dance, has become a huge event across the country. This year, Philadelphia Dance Day has an amazing schedule planned, with workshops and live performances happening all day long, and a massive dance party to end the night. Local studios like Philly Dance Fitness, Studio 1831 and Major Moment Studio are participating, which means the lineup is packed with fun classes ranging from ballet to tango to Zumba, and even—gasp!— striptease. And the best part? This entire day, packed with workshops and classes galore, costs next to nothing—in fact, all of the workshops offered before 5:30 p.m. are completely free.
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Koresh Dance Company’s new permanent home at 2002 Rittenhouse.
Koresh Dance Company (KDC) closed on a deal this week to purchase 2002 Rittenhouse Square, a building it has been renting since August of last year. According to Executive Director Alon Koresh, the purchase makes KDC the first contemporary dance company in the city to own a building.
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