Most ballet companies wouldn’t look for inspiration in a middle school. But then, BalletX isn’t like most companies.
Premiering tonight at the Wilma Theater as part of BalletX’s Fall Series 2011, “Jackson Sounds” is an original piece choreographed by artistic director Matthew Neenan along with help from the seventh grade students at Andrew Jackson Public School in South Philadelphia.
“The school is very diverse and the students are all from various backgrounds. We did other workshops with them where we came up with how they felt about the music and came up with certain dance moves that I put in the piece,” says Neenan, who also worked with award-winning composer Robert Maggio.
Rounding out the evening’s program will be a premiere by choreographer Loni Landon and “Silt,” a piece by San Francisco-based choreographer Alex Ketley. Before each show, the audience will be able to see the evolution of “Jackson Sounds” through a short documentary about the process with the students, who will be performing in the lobby. “Some of the students could have creative careers,” says Neenan. “We wanted to teach them about the creative process and how we gather inspiration and how to use it.”