Category Archives: Life in Swarthmore (& Wallingford, Rose Valley, Rutledge & Media)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream at SBT

 

Cast

From left: Geraldine Leech as Hermia, Will McCullough as Lysander, Kevin Gardiner as Demetrius, Anna Morreale as Helena and Anna Si as Titania

Late spring has sprung in Swarthmore, bringing with her the lush flowers and the shady tree canopy and the Farmers Market, and of course, the ballet.

 

Sweet young love is in the air at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre and the result is not what you might think – at least not at first! Shakespeare’s classic tale of love gone wrong and then very wrong and then right again is played out with humor in this dreamy production.

 

The performance space at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre is not large. Most productions have ingeniously minimal set pieces. But stepping inside the theatre for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the audience is instantly transported to the enchanted wood outside Athens. A venerable oak seemingly sprouts out of the stage floor. Boulders and vines blend the lines between the upper and lower stages.

 

At last Saturday morning’s production, a sold-out crowd of lucky audience members young and old watched the lights go down and then Mrs. Ardis herself came out to remind us of the story of the bard’s beloved tale.

 

Then the lights went down and out came the elegant Trinity Clow-McLaughlin to draw us into the story with a solo accompanying a narration of the fairy’s classic over hill over dale speech.

 

After that the show exploded forward with bevies of fireflies and fairies setting the mood of the magical forest and making the way for the fairy royalty.

 

Don Guthrie danced Oberon with great dignity, and Anna Si was appropriately indignant and haughty as Titania when Guthrie slyly tried to assume custody of her sprightly changeling boy, danced by Nate Mitchell. When it was clear that the fight was on between the fairy king and queen it was time for them to make way for the lovers.

 

Even if it’s been a while since you read Midsummer in high school, the four lovers made their roles clear with their first rate acting and the help of gorgeous costumes that helped the audience see who was meant to be together.

 

Though there were many laugh-out-loud moments in this ballet, few were funnier than the pas de deux between unrequited loves. Demetrius (Kevin Gardiner) expressed dismay when he suddenly found himself dancing with a hilariously enamored Helena (Anna Morreale). And later, Lysander (Will McCullough) abandoned poor Hermia (Martine Leech) for Helena, whom he was devastated to catch dancing with Demetrius. The lovers’ fight scene was incredible too.

 

Of course it’s not Midsummer without Puck. Nathanial Hodges was perfectly playful and spent as much time airborne as he did on the stage. His interactions with Oberon and with his butterfly companion (Elizabth Si) were light-hearted and delightfully expressive.

 

Led by William Hodges as Bottom, the rude mechanicals were fantastically funny. When Puck used his magic pollen to make Titania fall in love with Bottom the whole audience held our breath in anticipation.

 

Anna Si is such an achingly elegant dancer. It can be all too easy to forget her silly streak. The scene where Hodges literally chews the scenery as Si falls madly in love with him, donkey ears and all was desperately funny.

 

But what brought down the house was the arrival of the fairy attendants to dance with Titania. One after the next they each entered gracefully for their dance, only to do a comic double-take at the shocking sight of their mistress dancing with a donkey. By the time the final fairy danced in and then wandered to the edge of the wings in confusion the audience was in stitches.

 

Naturally Oberon urged Puck to make things right and one by one the lovers and Titania were all made to fall in love with their right partner.

 

At last Hippolyta (danced with strength and passion by Maia Virgil) arrived. She and the Duchess presided over a truly lavish wedding attended by a flock of flower girls whose infectious enthusiasm brought joy to the audience as well as the couples onstage.

 

Lori Ardis and Amber Flynn choreograph every single ballet on the dancers, meaning that every note of this two-hour production was crafted precisely to mine the talents of the dancers at hand. The result is that every dancer onstage is stretching his or her skills to the limit. And what they can accomplish is absolutely stunning.

 

If you are looking for a fun and inspiring way to spend your Saturday night, rumor has it that there are a few tickets left for the 7:30pm performance. Stop by the door at 7pm to check in!

 

Meanwhile, if you want to be sure not to forget to snag tickets next time, why not sign up for classes at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre? Learn more on their website at http://swarthmoreballet.com.

 

For info on what it’s like to study Ballet at SBT, check out the post here!

Flower girls

The flower girls spin and smile through their enthusiastically energetic dance…

 

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Late Spring in Swarthmore…

1 Food Truckathon

The Food Truckathon brought out Swarthmoreans & visitors to enjoy good food & company…

4. SRS Orchestra Performance

The hardworking students and music teachers of Swarthmore-Rutledge Elementary School hosted their final concert of the year. The auditorium was packed with fans, many of whom were willing to accept standing room space in order to enjoy the sounds of the young musicians.

5. Twilight

Peaceful twilight in springtime Swarthmore. This beautifully repurposed sitting area by the municipal lot & library looks like it has been there forever, lampposts and all…

Would you like to learn more about life in our village? I’d love to be your Swarthmore real estate agent! Just shoot me an email at carrie@dpwelsh.com and let me know your goals!

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Holidays in Swarthmore

The lights are in the windows and the garlands embrace the lampposts. The Home for the Holidays horses pulled their sleighs past our office last weekend as the Swarthmore Ballet Theatre performed one sold out performance of The Nutcracker after another. (Pictured above, Anna Si, as the Dew Drop Fairy – check out my Letter to the Editor in this week’s edition of the Swarthmorean newspaper about this magnificent production).

Swarthmoreans seem to be focused on shopping locally this season with treasures at  Harvey Oak Mercantile, Compendium with its selection of warm scarves, tasty treats at the Co-op, books and gifts at the Swarthmore College bookstore, and so many more choices all without setting foot in a mall or warming up the car!

I’ll update this post in the coming days with more pictures of our town celebrating the season! Feel free to email me your favorite Swarthmore holiday pictures and memories to be shared!

(Pictured below: Visitors to The Inn at Swarthmore this Thursday were treated to a view of snow outside and seasonal decorations inside!)

winter-carolers

Carolers serenade the audience in line to see Swarthmore Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker…

winter-cornell

Cornell & Rutgers is slush & ice a week and a half before Hanukkah & Christmas…

winter-decorations

Wondering children tour Dave Augustine’s courtyard holiday light display on Park…

winter-home-for-holidays

On one magical day of the year, Park Ave has horse-drawn carriages again…

winter-tree-sale

Trees are for sale outside the library – proceeds benefit the Swarthmore Fire Station!

winter-ballerina

A young Nutcracker dancer spots the horses & Christmas trees across the street…

winter-welsh

D. Patrick Welsh gets in on the holiday spirit!

img_8309

A winter storm on 12/17 turned Swarthmore glassy and magical…

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A Merry Nutcracker

Flowers Dew Drop

Grace Hodges (C) as the Dew Drop Fairy,  wth Ellen McCullough (L in yellow) and Geraldine Leech (R in orange) as the Flowers

An unseasonably warm December morning lent an air of merriment to Swarthmore this Saturday. The sky was topaz blue and the sun was shining. Even Charlie, the venerable white horse who pulls the carriage for Swarthmore’s Home for the Holidays celebration, seemed to have a spring in his step. Though local shops displayed helpful signs reminding us how many days until Hanukah and Christmas, no one actually seemed to feel pressed for time.

Lucky ticket-holders to Lori Ardis Ballet Company’s performance of The Nutcracker exemplified the holiday mood, nodding to each other with a twinkle of anticipation in their eyes.

Once inside, we were greeted by Mrs. Ardis herself. Just before the performance began, she stepped into the spotlight to share a joyful explanation of what we were about to see, so that even the smallest audience members were informed and enthralled. Then the lights went down, and the Christmas tree was illuminated.

At LABC, we are regularly spoiled with beautiful technique and clever choreography. This company has proven again and again how resilient they are, how well they work together as a team, how much endurance and discipline they have. From the tiniest Ginger to the Sugar Plum Fairy, we have come to expect nothing short of perfection.

But the wonder of The Nutcracker is in the heart as well as the feet.

Choreographers Lori Ardis and Amber Flynn keep the joy in The Nutcracker by re-choreographing the entire ballet to take advantage of the unique talents of the dancers playing the roles.

Every. Single. Year.

Their herculean effort paid off in spades this season, with a performance filled with excitement, wonder and humor. (Would you like to learn more about this mother-daughter choreography team? Click here for a short interview!)

From the first note of the party scene, this year’s production capitalized on the personalities of the dancers. First act highlights were William Hodges as Drosselmeyer – leaping and swirling his cape, even breaking the fourth wall at times to bring the audience into the joke, the Gypsy dance performed with towering energy by (real life siblings) Will and Ellen McCullough, and Anna Si’s hilarious performance as the mother of seven small and very energetic children.

Mia Davis is a dancer I’ve watched grow up on the stage of LABC. Her genuine smile has warmed the stage from the corps throughout the last five productions I’ve had the pleasure to see. It was a joy to watch her wear Clara’s iconic pink dress. Mia’s Clara was curious, kind and played younger than other dancers we’ve seen in the role in recent years. Nowhere was this more apparent than in her quite realistic interactions with her younger sister (the Fritz role) danced with gusto by Elizabeth Si. The two had great chemistry and had the audience tittering on more than one occasion.

And Kevin Gardner was the perfect Nutcracker prince to suit her. In spite of his obvious athleticism and the extraordinary physical demands of the fight scene with half a dozen very energetic mice, followed immediately by a pas de deux with a series of complicated lifts, Gardner’s performance appeared to be effortless. His kind smiles for Clara were sigh-worthy, and his bearing was never anything short of regal.

Act Two found Clara and the Nutcracker Prince regaled with dances from all over the Land of Sweets. Each dance was spectacular, and the members of the audience found themselves smiling and leaning forward, until, that is, the Arabian dance.

Anni Si and Donn Guthrie took the stage with so much power the air went out of the room. These two have partnered many times before and their trust in each other was exploited to the breaking point in this sumptuously crafted pas de deux. The power struggle played out between them was palpable, and just as a deft lift had our hearts in our mouths, with Si suspended nearly at the ceiling, Guthrie would remove one hand, holding her aloft with the other, as if the two had only been toying with us all along and he could have lifted her with his mind.

When they left the stage, my heart ached with sympathy for the dancer who would have to perform afterward.

I should have known that Ardis and Flynn would hand those dancers the keys to the kingdom. And Will McCollough and the very expressive Eleanor Runiewicz knew just what to do with them. Assisted by four small sheep, McCollough and Runiewicz had us all in hysterics as the shepherdess lost and found her sheep again and again to everyone’s delight.

Mother Ginger, played with panache by Denise Hodges, delighted us when her hoard of adorable children burst from her skirt and danced with such vivacity they left us all cheering for more.

The lovely Maia Virgil danced the Sugar Plum Fairy with a gentle sweetness that was appropriate to her character’s name. Cavalier, Donn Guthrie, partnered her and the two were absolutely charming to watch.

All the costumes worn in the production are made by staff and volunteers. The costuming triumph of the night was the Flower dance. Gorgeous swathes of tulle were made into wing-like petals that floated and sank as if they were dancers in their own right. Lucky Flower dancers Geraldine Leech, Ellen McCullough, Anna Si and Linnea Si wore the glamorous smiles to match. And among them, Grace Hodges, as the Dew Drop Fairy, sparkled and flew. Grace has always been a force of nature on the LABC stage. It was thrilling to see her in this exciting role.

When the lights came up and it was all over, the audience lingered – searching for the right thing to say to each other, to Mrs. Ardis who was there to bid us farewell, and to ourselves.

But I believe our universal sentiment was summed up in the words of one small attendant, who simply whispered to herself, “Wow.

Tickets for this year’s The Nutcracker are completely sold out. If you’d like advice on how to score those tickets for next year, be sure to check out my interview with the choreographers here for tips!

Did seeing the Nutcracker at LABC make YOU want to dance too? Swarthmore Ballet Theatre, LABC’s training ground, offers classes for children and adults. Stop by their website here to learn more.

Full disclosure: I’m the mom of two Gingers and a Mouse/Party Child/Page in this production. Click here to find out what it’s like to have a child enrolled in ballet classes or in a production.

Mia & Kevin

Kevin Gardner and Mia Davis were exquisite as the Nutcracker Prince and Clara

Arabian

Anna Si (aloft) with Donn Guthrie performing the Arabian

Candy Canes

L to R Amelia Dunning, Julia Friel (in split), Charlotte Caywood (standing) Caroline Grogan (photo by Quinn Guthrie)

 

Clara's sister

Elizabeth Si, Ava Manaker, Wilhemena Mcelhenney. (photo by Quinn Guthrie)

Kevin

Kevin Gardner (photo by Doug McCullough)

Shepherd

Eleanor Runiewicz, Will McCullough (photo by Doug McCullough)

cast

The Whole Cast (photo by Quinn Guthrie)

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402 Cornell Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081

My new listing is finally revealed!

Please check out the details here for

402 Cornell Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081 !

MLS#6433796

1.5 portico

Join me at the Open House, Sunday, 8/3/14 from 1-3pm to see it in person! Contact your agent now for more details! If you don’t have an agent, contact me at carrie@dpwelsh.com.

 

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New Guess-the-Address Contest 7/25/14!

Charming Swarthmore Borough Twin coming up in the $300,000 to $325,000 range!

I am very excited to be introducing this home to the public very soon! As the sellers make a few last-minute preparations, I get to have my fun teasing you here!

You know how this works – if you are the first to guess the address of this new listing I will buy you a one-year subscription to The Swarthmorean newspaper!  You can post a reply on this page, or email your answer to carrie@dpwelsh.com.

About a hundred years ago

This lovely home was built, although

You wouldn’t guess it by the master suite

Or the kitchen counter’s swank concrete!

A clue for those with a discerning eye,

Who might look up while passing by:

Have you seen this transom & portico arc

A block away from a wonderful park?

Clue 1 transom

The transom style window and portico are just the beginning of the charm of this lovely home! Happy guessing! And stay tuned for more clues!

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2014 Swarthmore Spring Market Wrap-up!

Days like this make my heart smile!It was certainly an exciting spring in the Swarthmore market! Our “spring” season stretches from January through June. (Of course there will still be summer settlements of homes that went pending in the spring and those are not included here.)

Here is a rundown of how this spring played out:

The Swarthmore condo market:

There were 11 condo sales in Swarthmore Borough this spring. Of the 11 condo sales this spring, 3 sold at the listed price and 1 sold higher than the listed price. Our condos seem to be slowly but steadily making up the value losses they took in the recession years. As you can reference in my post about last year’s market here, condominiums took a bigger hit than the rest of our market in the downturn. Last year there was a run on condos and we ended up with a limited inventory. It’s great to see sellers marketing their condos again and buyers continuing to purchase them.

What a beautiful view...

510 Riverview Road received 5 offers and sold for $28,000 over the asking price!

The Swarthmore single family home market:

There were 21 single family home sales in Swarthmore Borough this spring. Of the 21 single family home sales this spring, 5 sold at the listed price and 6 sold over the listed price. The theme of light inventory and robust buyer activity continued where last year left off. The multiple offer situations, particularly in the early part of the season were unprecedented. Two of the most noteworthy were my own listing at 510 Riveview Road which listed for $449,500 and sold for $477,500 with five offers and Heidi Foggo’s listing at 438 Riverview Road which listed for $934,900 and sold for $981,000 with multiple offers. Our own Becky Hansen brought the buyers! (Please see here for my blog post about the benefit of working with a local buyer agent who really knows the micro-market when entering a multiple offer scenario.)

I am proud to report that of the total 32 transactions, 16 sides were handled by D. Patrick Welsh agents! Our tiny boutique is comprised of just 10 local professionals. In context, the Suburban West Realtors Association that serves our area has 4,700 members.

Overall the market was robust and we’re seeing continued activity in spite of unusually hot and stormy weather.

If you are not working with an agent and would like to talk about buying or selling a home in town, please feel free to contact me!

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