Going Behind the Scenes at PA Ballet, and thoughts on my journey at the Philadelphia Inquirer

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's been some eighteen months since dear Avery Rome first opened the door to me and so many other talented writer friends at the Philadelphia Inquirer. We were invited to write about the things we loved, the things we saw, the things that we thought mattered. It was a gift. We seized upon it.

Later, under the direction of friend and editor Kevin Ferris, the stories continued. I wrote (for Avery and Kevin) about place—about Eastern State Penitentiary and The Woodlands, Chanticleer garden and Stone Harbor, the Wissahickon and the Schuylkill, the hip hop kids of West Philly and the legacies of Locust Walk, the avant garde artists of East Kensington and metalworkers in Port Richmond, the slant of light in Philadelphia and the chimes above my mother's grave at Valley Forge Park, the Devon Horse Show. I wrote about the city that is my enduring home. I cherished these opportunities.

Last Friday I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes as Pennsylvania Ballet rehearsed for the opening of its fiftieth season. I was there because fate had brought me there—because I had met Julie Diana, principal ballerina, at a University of Pennsylvania Association of Alumnae event (Julie is the president) and because our conversation carried forward.

The story I wrote and photographed is the story that appears in this Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer (in stores now). I held my breath all week long, praying that—in the wake of abrupt changes at the Inquirer—the piece would still be valued. I write these stories in celebration of those who have revived the city, those who live in the city, those who lift and transcend the city. I wanted—very much—to celebrate Julie Diana, her husband, Zachary Hench, and Pennsylvania Ballet.

I am enormously grateful to Kevin Ferris and his team for seeing this story through during a challenging week. I will forever be indebted to Julie, Zachary, Marissa, and the Ballet for a certain Friday afternoon.

The curtains are almost rising at Pennsylvania Ballet. Go. Be swept away.

The link to the story is now live.


Victoria Marie Lees said...

Beautiful, Beth. Thank you so much for sharing the ballet and its talented players with your avid readers. ~Victoria Marie Lees

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