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5 Questions with Jarrod Takle

Posted March 2, 2022

Circa’s smash hit, Humans, had its U.S. premiere on our stage back in fall 2018, and we are thrilled to welcome this bold, Australian circus troupe back in March with its newest work, Humans 2.0. As we await this spectacular production, let’s get to know a bit more about longtime Circa ensemble member Jarrod Takle in just five questions!

1) What is your earliest memory of circus arts?
I remember seeing Cirque du Soleil on television as a child. I must have been about five years of age, and it stayed embedded in my brain for at least a year until my parents enrolled me in a local recreational youth circus program (probably an attempt to stop me cartwheeling into furniture). Read more...

Two years and tons of Annenberg Center upgrades

Posted February 22, 2022

Over the past two years, we’ve been very fortunate to embark on numerous projects to renovate and upgrade the Annenberg Center’s facilities and infrastructure. These major improvements, designed by VSBA Architects, were made possible by a gift from Keith L. and Katherine Sachs, which formed the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation in 2016.

On the Annenberg Center’s exterior, the hardscaped approach to the 37th Street entrance has been widened to better connect those doors to the 37th Street walkway. Read more...

5 Questions with Ali Doughty

Posted February 8, 2022

Ali Doughty grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, studying Irish dance at the McDade-Cara School of Irish Dance. She’s now a World Champion Irish dancer and will be gracing our stage with Chicago’s Trinity Irish Dance Company Feb 18-19. We were eager to connect with Doughty and learn more about this amazing local talent in just five questions.

1) What first got you into dance?
When I was eight years old, my mom signed me up for Irish dance summer camp at McDade (now McDade-Cara), our local Irish dancing school, as a way to learn more about my Irish heritage. Ever since then, my dancing shoes have followed me everywhere! I feel very grateful to my teachers Sheila Sweeney, Annmarie Sheehan, and Maureen Hegarty for giving me such a wonderful dance family to grow up in - who would have known that my first dance camp would eventually lead to dancing professionally with Trinity Irish Dance Company! Read more...

Penn’s Music Department returns to live performances

Posted January 31, 2022


Let me begin by saying that it is an honor to be asked to submit a blog post for Penn Live Arts on behalf of the Music Department. We are certainly grateful to be a partner with PLA.

The Penn Music Department’s performance programs offer students of all musical backgrounds the chance to develop their musical skills through ensemble performance and private instruction. Our hope is that our performances not only give students and other community members an outlet for creative expression but that they also serve to enhance the cultural life on campus.

We also present a variety of professional performances. These include concerts by the Daedalus Quartet, the Music Department’s ensemble-in-residence, and other guests, many of whom present the music of Penn faculty composers and graduate student composers. Read more...

Power of Penn Performing Arts Campaign Impact Report

Posted January 25, 2022

As we conclude the Power of Penn Performing Arts Campaign, it is heartening to reflect on the last eight years of transformative performing arts activity here at Penn Live Arts. It is also a privilege to still be here, after a tumultuous two years for performing arts across the globe. We are able to celebrate the incredible success of the campaign and continue supporting the innovative artists of today because of you, our generous community. Your belief in our mission to transform lives by connecting diverse audiences with visionary artists allows us to go forward into the next era for Penn Live Arts with confidence in our programs, commitment to our artists and gratitude for our supporters. Read more...

5 Questions with Eugenia Repelskii

Posted January 19, 2022


We are very eager to welcome Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, or the Trocks as they’re lovingly called, back to our stage for the first time since 2012. As we await the laugh-out-loud antics of this seriously stunning and gender-bending ballet troupe, we are happy to have connected with the company’s slightly esteemed but highly tolerated dancer Eugenia Repelskii* to learn a bit more about her in just five questions.

1. What first got you into dance?
My mother Maria Repelskii bought a one-way ticket on the Trans-Siberian Railroad where I found myself dancing for our supper. Read more...

Happy holidays

Posted December 21, 2021

Happy holidays from all of us at Penn Live Arts!

Recent Highlights: Aug – Dec 2021

Posted December 20, 2021

Vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant performs on December 12.
Photo: Elizabeth Robertson for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The 21/22 season marks the first with our new identity, Penn Live Arts (PLA), and we’re excited that it highlights our connection with the University of Pennsylvania even as we broaden our performances to venues outside of our home at the Annenberg Center. The name also underscores our commitment to live performances, which we’re proud to say continued throughout the pandemic.

Since we officially re-opened the Annenberg Center in August, we have welcomed 10,000 people to a wide variety of events, from scores of student shows to Penn Vet’s rite-of-passage White Coat Ceremony to Legacy on Broad, the largest Bollywood-fusion dance competition on the East Coast, to our first indoor Penn Live Arts presentations since March of 2020. Read more...

Carols after a Plague

Posted December 8, 2021

Artwork by Sasan Saidi
Silence not Holy Black Madonna
Mother of All
Offer sacred praise to her
If not, thy tongue should silence give
Holy tone she is
Wholly listen in
- Shara Nova, from Carols after a Plague: II. Tone-policing

Like so much that has happened in the last twelve or more months, Carols after a Plague is the solution to a problem. In fact, so much of creativity, whether artistic or scientific, is the result of facing a challenge that needs solving. In this case, the challenge posed was multi-faceted: “How to record these conflicting feelings, born of isolation, fear, and social unrest? How to make a record of this time? How to better reflect the community we live in?” Read more...

5 Questions with Michelle Dorrance

Posted December 1, 2021

On December 10-11, we welcome Dorrance Dance for its Penn Live Arts debut. "Dorrance is a virtuoso, both as a dancer and choreographer," (The New York Times) and we can’t wait to have this tap superstar’s company grace our stage. But first, let’s learn a little bit more about her in just five questions.

1. What first got you into dance?
My mom was a professional ballet dancer, and she started a school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina when I was barely a year old, so I started dancing very young, but I was pretty terrible at ballet (inherited my soccer coach father's flatter feet and much less flexible legs). However, I quickly excelled at/became obsessed with tap dancing because it was a form of musical expression, and that came much more naturally to me than graceful movement as a loose-limbed kid. And I truly fell in love with the art form through the tutelage of the school's founding tap teacher, Gene Medler. Very different from most "studio" tap dance teachers of the time, Gene sought out the elders of our community, taught us a history we never would have learned elsewhere, and brought us to the early tap dance festivals to study with cutting edge young dancers like Savion Glover and the last of the jazz-era hoofers who were in their 80s and 90s at the time. I feel so incredibly lucky to have grown up with Gene as my teacher, mentor, and friend. Read more...