Christine Cox began her training with the Pennsylvania Ballet School and continued at the Philadelphia High School for the Performing Arts, spending summer sessions at the Joffrey and San Francisco Ballet schools. After high school, she danced with Balletmet in Columbus, Ohio for five years before moving to New York. There, Christine danced as a guest artist with Ballet Hispanico and performed for President George H.W. Bush at the Ford Theatre. She then spent one year with American Repertory Ballet before joining Pennsylvania Ballet in 1993-2006.

Christine has premiered works by a number of gifted choreographers, including Ib Anderson, Rennie Harris, James Kudelka, John McFall, Trey McIntyre, Matthew Neenan, Kevin O'Day, David Parsons, Kirk Peterson, and Christopher Wheeldon. Some of her featured roles inlcude Rum and Coca-Cola in Paul Taylor's Company B; Vortex in Alvin Ailey's The River; Choleric in George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments; Eve in Margo Sappington's Rodin, Mis En Vie; the Cowgirl in Agnes DeMille's Rodeo; and one of the principal females in Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free and The Concert.

In 2005 Christine co-founded BalletX with her long time collaborator Matthew Neenan. Over the last five years the company has performed at such prestigious venues as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Laguna Beach Dance Festival in California, Seoul, Korea and Cali, Columbia. They have received critical acclaim both nationally and internationally and have been figured in Pointe and Dance magazine.

In June of 2006, she staged Mr. Neenan's 11:11 on Pennsylvania Ballet and rehearsed the company for the New York premiere at The City Center. She also retired as a full time company member in order to pursue work with BalletX. She has received two Rocky Awards for outstanding achievement in the arts and has worked for 8 years as Assistant Rehearsal Director for the children in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. She has been awarded fellowship grants from the Independence Foundation and is a recipient of the choreography award from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 2006 and 2008. She currently choreographs and teaches at The University of the Arts, and Brandywine Ballet Company. For more on Christine and BalletX be sure to visit http://www.balletx.org.

Christine's Ballet Company, BalletX, will be performing in PIFA from April 12-24, 2011 at The Wilma Theater (265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA). They will present "Proliferation of the Imagination," a new collaborative piece inspired by Guillaume Apollinaire's The Mammaries of Tiresias. The piece reinterprets Apollinaire's groundbreaking surrealist theater through an interdisciplinary, multimedia work incorporating ballet choreographed by Matthew Neenan, spoken text, video, and original music.

 

 

1.Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I loved moving and dancing when I was a kid and it really was the sole reason I stuck with it. I never looked to a particular person for inspiration but the desire to move and express myself through dance was exhilarating. I also was very competitive and loved the idea of getting to higher levels in my ballet school at The Pennsylvania Ballet. Each level had a different color leotard and I wanted to get to the top level where I could wear any color I wanted and also dance with the best dancers. This all started at the tender age of 10 and then by 13 I said this is for me and I either do it and make it or stop by 18. Thankfully I started working right out of high school and have not stopped since.

2. Who is the one person in your field that you haven't worked with that you would like to? Jiří Kilián from Netherlands Dance Theater.

3. What made you start Ballet X and how did you come up with the company's philosophy? Many years of dancing in a big company and wanting to find my voice. There is something very difficult about being a ballet dancer because you have little to say in regards to your career and I was feeling limited in the company. I wanted the freedom to dance and work with different people and also wanted to feel empowered by my own decisions and not the way someone else felt about me. It was a huge learning experience in the beginning and continues to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. My role as Artistic Director is evolving and changing and thankfully our company BalletX is growing and gaining a positive reputation.

4. What excites you most about being part of PIFA? How do you decide what to perform for a festival like PIFA as opposed to a season show? This was a big decision for us because we had to dedicate our entire series to this one idea and usually we present 2 to 3 world premieres in a series. We were excited at the idea of collaborating with the Wilma Theater and explore a true partnership. It has been a wonderful experience so far and we are really excited for this festival. Being able to walk through the streets of Philadelphia and see over 100 different performances inspired by Paris in 1910 is really exciting. Inspired by Guillaume Apollinaire’s “The Mammaries of Tiresias,” “Proliferation of the Imagination” reinterprets his groundbreaking surrealist theater by incorporating ballet, spoken text, and originally composed music; developed by Wilma Dramaturg/Literary Manager Walter Bilderback and BalletX Co-Artistic Director and Choreographer Matthew Neenan.

5. What is the best advice you've ever received? Hard to say…I have had so many amazing teachers in my life and nothing stands out except the premise that "hard work and persistence pays off and that takes a lot of focus.

6. Favorite way to spend your day off? I really love having the option to do anything as long as it is with my son and partner.

BONUS QUESTION:

7. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Cliff Lee.

 

This interview is brought to you with the support of PIFA (Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts). If you liked the interview above and want to help ensure that PIFA becomes an annual event please Like their Facebook Page and Follow them on Twitter!

Karen Fuhrman

Kim David Smith