In the News

Dance Celebration reaches milestone 30th anniversary season

April 27, 2012

(Philadelphia, April 27, 2012)—Dance Celebration, presented by Dance Affiliates and the Annenberg Center, celebrates its 30th anniversary in the upcoming 12/13 season. With a dedication to presenting the nation’s finest contemporary dance through commissions, world premieres and innovative programming, Dance Celebration continues to be one of Philadelphia’s cultural gems, lauded for its exceptional artistic stamina. Under the artistic direction of Randy Swartz, Dance Celebration has presented more than 200 stylistically-diverse dance companies in more than 1,500 performances and has reached close to one million people.

“We are so thrilled to achieve this milestone,” states Artistic Director Randy Swartz. “It has been a commitment to not only present a wide range of dance styles from around the globe but to commission new works, host residencies, be the site of numerous world premieres, provide hundreds of free master classes and provide an educational platform for area school children through daytime performances with study guides. This season, we are delighted to celebrate our rich history with both world-class companies who have become beloved friends and fresh, new companies that point to an invigorating future.”

From the very beginning, Dance Celebration made a commitment to engage and commission work from a number of core companies including Hubbard Street Dance, River North Dance Chicago, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, MOMIX, Parsons Dance and Paul Taylor Dance Company. Over the years, the resulting works have included Prism by Pilobolus Dance Theatre, the world premiere of Lunar Sea by MOMIX, Klezmerbluegrass by Paul Taylor and The Sweetest Sounds by River North Dance Chicago. Formalized in 2000, this core company commitment continues to include biannual presentations, commissioning of new work, use of live music and special community residencies. To commemorate the 12/13 season, Dance Celebration will commission a new work by River North Dance Chicago.

Dance Celebration has also partnered with the University of the Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in residencies, presentations and educational forums. It has also hosted numerous dance icons including Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Alwin Nikolais, Twyla Tharp and Nacho Duato.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary, Dance Celebration is thrilled to announce the line-up of companies for the 12/13 season—a vibrant mix of contemporary dance favorites and up-and-comers. Highlights include eight companies, world and Philadelphia premieres and a special commission. Dance Theatre of Harlem and Pilobolus Dance Theatre who appeared in the first season (1983-84) return with new programs. River North Dance Chicago presents a world premiere based on the music of Eva Cassidy commissioned by Dance Celebration. The season is aptly titled “Celebrating the Past…Looking Ahead.”

Performances take place at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street. Subscriptions to the 12/13 season are on sale now and can be purchased online by visiting, over the phone by calling 215.898.3900 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlightingor by visiting the Annenberg Center Box Office. This season provides an impressive subscription offer—purchase eight shows for the price of six. Single tickets will go on sale on August 27.

The full schedule for Dance Celebration’s 12/13 season includes:

Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, October 11-13

Nominated for Tony®, Emmy® and Grammy® awards, Lar Lubovitch has been cited by the New York Times as "one of the ten best choreographers in the world.” Lubovitch’s tenure at the forefront of contemporary dance has spanned decades,

thanks to his “breezy, fluid and engaging” choreographic style (New York Times). Audience members will enjoy the Philadelphia premiere of Legend of Ten.

Spellbound Dance Company, November 15-17

Dance Celebration is proud to continue a 30-year tradition of presenting the next great dance company, with the North American debut of Spellbound Dance Company. Boasting an unmistakably exquisite style, this Italian company, known for its highly expressive and dynamic movements, features a combination of class, grace and technique—“the choreography is seductive, the dancers are enchanting” (Diornale di Sardegna).

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, December 13-15

“Part goofy, part glorious, all man” (New York Times), the gender-bending Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, will send audiences on a laugh-out-loud excursion into the world of classical ballet that sends up every artistic conceit, while paying tribute to the choreography of the classics. Performing en pointe, these “mallerinas” revel in buffoonery with perfectly pointed toes and leaps to the heavens, promising an entertaining alternative during the holiday season.

Pilobolus Dance Theatre, January 17-20

“Audiences should expect the unexpected” exclaims NYC Newsday of this Dance Celebration favorite. Whether they are performing for millions at the Olympics, on an Oscar® telecast or live on stage, Pilobolus continues to amuse, innovate and engage with its newest repertoire.

Motionhouse, February 7-9

This English export makes its American debut in the 12/13 season. Dubbed "a fascinating assault on the senses, amazing" (Manchester Evening News), Motionhouse meshes live performance with film, daring to scale bounds and traverse art forms with “a huge dose of choreographic flare, acrobatic flourish, humor, empathy and real life relevance” (Brighton Festival).

Parsons Dance, February 27 & March1-2

“One of this country’s top contemporary dance troupes” (Tulsa World), Parsons Dance performs works filled to the artistic brim with bouncy, breathtaking and magical choreographic charm.

River North Dance Chicago, April 4-6

This high-energy conglomerate of jazz, ballet and contemporary movement has been lauded as “classic and sophisticated, but with a playful, modern twist” (Naples Daily News). Dance Celebration presents a commissioned world premiere work dedicated to the life and music of Eva Cassidy, an extraordinary artist who died years before her music became cult classics.

Dance Theatre of Harlem, May 16-18

Dance Celebration is thrilled to welcome back this treasure. After a five-year hiatus, this contemporary, boundary-pushing ballet company reinvents itself, with the blessing of founder Arthur Mitchell, and now under the guidance of Virginia Johnson, who was the company’s leading dancer for 20 years. Its first tour will feature new works and Balanchine classics.


As a part of the Annenberg Center’s performance-enhancing INSIGHTS program, Friday evening Dance Celebration performances include a free post-show talk-back with the company.

Significant funding for the 12/13 Dance Celebration season is provided by the William Penn Foundation and also in part by Friends of Dance (Affiliates), the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Virginia C. Mulconroy Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation.

State arts funding support is received through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.