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Robert Abrams
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Wilma Theater
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An Interview with Matthew Neenan of BalletX about their upcoming performance "Proliferation of the Imagination" at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA)

by Robert Abrams
April 2, 2011
Wilma Theater
265 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.546.7824

Featured Dance Companies:

BalletX
BalletX (mail)
P.O. Box 22713
Philadelphia, PA 19110-2713
215-280-4824
www.balletx.org

Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA)
PIFA (office)
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Attn: PIFA Festival
260 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-546-PIFA
www.pifa.org

The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) is a sponsor of ExploreDance.com.

Proliferation of the Imagination will be performed April 12 through April 24, 2011. Tickets are $25 to $35 each.
Robert Abrams: What is your role in the show?

Matthew Neenan: Choreographer and Co-Director.

RA: Please describe the performance you will present at PIFA.

MN: It is a dance theatre piece based off of Guillaume Apollinaire's "The Breasts of Tiresias". It's a collaboration between The Wilma Theater and BalletX.

RA: Have you collaborated with anyone to create your PIFA presentation?

MN: Yes.

RA: Who have you collaborated with to create your PIFA presentation?

MN: Walter Bilderback, dramaturg, and co-director, Rosie Langabeer, composer, Steven Dufala, set designer, Maiko Matsushima, costume designer.

RA: What has this collaboration allowed you to achieve that would not have been possible without it?

MN: Everything! Getting to work with actors has been a huge treat and has opened a new avenue for my work, I know I'd like to direct another theater piece in the future. It's been wonderful for the dancers to explore a new side of themselves dealing with text and singing as well. The actors and dancers are enjoying the collaboration of cross discipline.

Also, the ability to work with designers over a long period of time has allowed more detail, integration and depth. Having live music and working with a composer to create the proper score for the work itself is creatively satisfying.

RA: In your art that you are presenting at PIFA, what is unexpected?

MN: Most of the material in the piece is unexpected.

RA: What is "new" about the art you are presenting at PIFA?

MN: It's completely new territory for BalletX. We've never collaborated on such an interdisciplinary piece before and it allows us to have a new relationship with the audience.

RA: What is the connection between your show at PIFA and Paris between 1910 and 1920?

MN: The play first premiered in 1917. The play is extremely surreal and we are trying to bring out as much surrealism as possible. Visually this work has a certain cubist look to it as well.

RA: What else would you like people who are thinking about purchasing a ticket to your show to know about your art?

MN: It's a very colorful, funny and surrealist production. I know people will enjoy this performance immensely. The cast is fantastic.

To purchase a ticket to this show, go to www.pifa.org/events/980191014.
To purchase tickets to all PIFA dance events, go to www.pifa.org/events?bucket_id=1.
For more information about BalletX, go to www.balletx.org.
To follow PIFA on Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/PIFAPhilly.
To "Like" PIFA on FaceBook, go to www.facebook.com/PIFA.Philly.
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