Written by Lindsay Westley   
Published on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 10:30

Philadelphia 01/16/2014 — Featuring cellist Gabriel Cabezas and BalletX dancer Chloe Felesina, LiveConnections presents a musical pas de deux on February 2 at 12 p.m. The unique performance features cello compositions by Bach, Britten, Golijov and Saariaho, translated into movement by Felesina. The program will include both choreographed works and improvisation, showcasing each artist’s nimble artistry and interdisciplinary collaboration.

It is part of LiveConnections’ ClassicAlive concert series, which aims to push the boundaries of classical music and attract new audiences, and will be held at partner venue World Cafe Live in the casual and intimate Downstairs Live. Concertgoers may enjoy brunch or sip mimosas while enjoying this innovative performance.

Gabriel Cabezas, a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra and the National Symphony of Costa Rica, among others. He has augmented his classical training and performance with contemporary collaborations, including ongoing collaborations with cello great Yo-Yo Ma and hip-hop dancer Lil Buck, whose interdisciplinary interpretation of Camille Saint-Saën’s “The Swan” was a major influence for LiveConnections curator Mary Wheelock Javian.

“Gabe was a student in the Community Artist Program, an initiative I lead at Curtis, and attracted my attention as an artist that wanted to experiment with new collaborations and alternate venues,” Javian said. “Even though he is already successful as a soloist, he seeks out other opportunities and chances to grow as an artist. I was particularly inspired by the Yo-Yo Ma, Lil Buck video and knew that Gabe had worked with both artists in Chicago.”

Chloe Felesina, a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, has danced professionally with San Francisco’s The Foundry dance company and the Sacramento Ballet. She moved to Philadelphia in 2010 to dance with BalletX. Founded in 2005 by former Pennsylvania Ballet dancers Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan, BalletX is Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, rooted in classical ballet technique, but with a focus on bold, exploratory contemporary movement.

“Chloe was recommended to me by the company for her artistic curiosity and ability to collaborate,” Javian said. “Everything came together when these two artists met. They are both classically trained and striving for something that expands those traditions to create work that is unique and honest.”

Javian brought together Cabezas and Felesina to begin choreographing the planned-movement portion of the program in August 2013.The artists will reveal their collaborative process to the audience with a playful back-and-forth between choreographed and improvised works. The improvisation sections of the program will alternate between artists, with Felesina reacting to Cabezas’ playing, and vice versa. One of the major works on the program will be a juxtaposition of a Bach cello suite and a Britten cello suite, allowing Felesina and Cabezas to further explore the variations and similarities between different composers and styles of movement.

LiveConnections is presenting three additional ClassicAlive concerts this season, including the Kinan Azmeh Quartet in March, blending classical, jazz and Arab styles; violinist Kristin Lee in April, performing eclectic duos with steelpan, theramin and spoken word; and Jordan Dodson in May, a rising classical guitar star who collaborates with emerging composers.

For complete February 2 concert details, visit


For more information, visit

BalletX unites world-class choreographers with an outstanding company of professional dancers to forge new works of athleticism, emotion, and grace. Through the daring vision of its award-winning founders and artistic directors, Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan, BalletX challenges the boundaries of classical ballet by encouraging formal experimentation while preserving rigorous technique. The Company is committed to producing new works of the highest quality and integrity that bring the combined visions of choreographers and dancers to life and cultivate in audiences a collective appetite for bold new dance. With three annual performance series in Philadelphia, BalletX has reached diverse audiences of all ages and backgrounds as the Resident Dance Company of The Wilma Theater. Visit for additional information.

[Chloe Felesina image: Alexander Iziliaev, courtesy of BalletX]




Lindsay Westley, PR coordinator
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[Image: Amanda Stevenson Photography]



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