Beautiful Decay seems an odd title for a ballet. “Decay” denotes partial deterioration, a breakdown to component parts, decomposition, rotting, and doesn’t sound beautiful. But that’s what choreographer Nicolo Fonte named his new work for Philadelphia’s BalletX, premiering Wednesday at the Wilma Theater, to connote the onslaught of time and the changes it brings. In the first evening-length work ever commissioned by the seven-year-old company, Fonte illustrates his point by filling the piece with multiple off-beat juxtapositions, mixing dancers, dance styles, types of music, costumes, and aesthetics of different ages and genres.
Manfred Fischbeck and Brigitta Herrmann, the guest dancers in the work, are now in their 70s, were once married to each other, and still partner in dance. They have been fixtures on Philadelphia’s dance scene since arriving from Berlin in 1968 and founding, with Helmutt Gottschild, Group Motion Dance, which is still