Philadelphia keeps Bethlehem lighter on their toes

By Elizabeth Krupka
December 20, 2010

Sounds of pointed shoes landing and sewing machines purring fill the Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem, Pa from Dec. 15-19 .

The Pennsylvania Youth Ballet puts on annual “Nutcracker” performances, however this year there was something special about the performance, three of the lead dancers hail from Philadelphia.

Riolama Lorenzo and Sergio Torrado are from the Pennsylvania Ballet.  These two have been dancing with the Pennsylvania Ballet for years, and honing their craft for even longer.

Anthony Burrell is the third lead dancer, who is a Philadelphia native.

Lorenzo and Torrado were both born outside of the country. Lorenzo in Havana, Cuba and Torrado in Madrid, Spain. However both found a common love in classical ballet.

“I have danced with the Pennsylvania Ballet for nine years, and before that with the New York City Ballet for five. Overall I have been dancing for a little over 25 years,” Lorenzo said.

Both Lorenzo and Torrado began their study of ballet outside of the country and came here to dance professionally.

They ended up dancing in Bethlehem through Sarah Lane, the Sugar Plum fairy from last years “Nutcracker.”

Lane worked with Torrado on the set of “The Black Swan” and had mentioned to him that dancing at the Zoellner was an experience that he would enjoy. Torrado’s only request was that Lorenzo would be his partner.

“We are partnered together for many things. We danced together for many things, making the performances easier. Before ‘Nutcracker’ we just finished performing ‘Carmen,’” Lorenzo said.

Lorenzo and Torrado were paired together for all performances of Carmen that the Pennsylvania Ballet put on.

Unlike Lorenzo and Torrado, Burrell danced in Philadelphia since his childhood.  Burrell attended Franklin Learning Center for high school then continued his study of dance at the University of the Arts.

Burrell then left the University of the Arts to join the Alley II. This led him to the opportunity to join the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. After completing his tour with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Burrell pursued a career dancing in television and film, competing on “So You Think You Can Dance” season 7.

“We were all so excited to be here. Everyone was so kind but on top of that professional. Even the young ones who were here were excited to dance. It has been a wonderful experience,” said Lorenzo.

The Zoellner Arts Center was filled with applause as the curtains went up to have little pieces of Philadelphia keeping Bethlehem lighter on their toes.

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Elizabeth Krupka

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