After nearly a year of hard work, it is finally time for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA)! The Kimmel Center hosted a special "Opening Night Gala" for more than 800 guests who came to support the month-long arts and cultural celebration. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to attend, and greet the dozens of reporters and photographers who came to cover the event.
The evening kicked off with special VIP hour which included performances by area circus artists (including David Smith from Philadelphia School of Circus Arts). Champagne was being served from costumed waiters, while crepes were being served from Parisian carts in the Kimmel Center lobby.
Happy hour was followed by a newly choreographed performance of Stravinsky's Pulcinella by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Ballet. The Eiffel Tower was officially lit for the first time, with moving trains and airplanes now abuzz overhead. Guests were then served an extravagant dinner (with delicious desserts) by Wolfgang Puck in honor of Chef Georges Perrier.
Brooklyn's Grounded Aerial provided the ultimate finale to this spectacular night with a circus arts performance on the SIDE of Verizon Hall. "Chance Encounters" featured circus artists defying earth, air and gravity as they scaled down the massive hall's outer wall. Using bungee cords, aerial harnesses, rope pendulums and one-of-a-kind devices, the circus artists combined modern and aerial dance for a performance that the Gala patron's won't soon forget.
PIFA, inspired by the Kimmel Center, is the city’s art and cultural scene onto the world stage with a month of performances and exhibits influenced by the artistic energy of Paris 1911-1920, PIFA celebrates works from that era and new creations inspired by the innovative spirit of the period. PIFA was made possible by a grant from Leonore Annenberg. PIFA takes place through May 1, 2011.
For a complete listing of upcoming events, including tonight's "Fashion Show," visit http://www.pifa.org or call (215) 546-PIFA.