Press Release


To present the full-length production of Sunset, o639 Hours

Philadelphia, PA—BalletX, Philadelphia’s Premier Contemporary Ballet and the Resident Dance Company of The Wilma Theater, will travel to the Vail International Dance Festival in Vail, CO and The Joyce Theater in New York, NY to present the full-length production of Matthew Neenan and Rosie Langabeer’s Sunset, o639 Hours. Possessing “the confidence and artistry of a world class ballet company” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), this is BalletX’s third time presenting work at both highly acclaimed venues, and its first time touring a full-length work.

Sunset, o639 Hours is a co-creation featuring choreography by BalletX Co-Founder Matthew Neenan and compositions by acclaimed New Zealand musician Rosie Langabeer. The full-length world premiere debuted in Philadelphia in the summer of 2014 to sold-out houses and critical acclaim, with The New York Times describing the experience as “beautifully elegiac, taking us into the hearts of people who lived decades ago.” Inspired by the true story of Captain Edwin Musick – an American pilot who completed the first airmail service between the U.S. and New Zealand in 1938, only to perish tragically on his return flight home — Sunset, o639 Hours reimagines this long-forgotten story through innovative choreography and a timeless score.

Langabeer’s compelling compositions use invented instruments by Neil Feather to weave together original 1930’s-inspired songs, field tapes, and archival recordings from Musick’s flights to create a world that transports the audience into the lives of the Captain and his crew. Brilliant lighting design by Drew Billiau, timeless costumes by Christine Darch, and sound design by Nick Kourtides flawlessly complement sets by Maiko Matsushima to transform the theater into another world. Neenan’s signature choreographic flare personifies the characters, objects, and landscape of the story to create a touching tale of adventure and risk that represents the future of the story ballet in today’s ever-changing dance landscape.  With a cast of ten dancers and four musicians, the production’s unique collaborative nature and magical storytelling granted its premiere at two of the nation’s most prestigious dance venues this August.

Considered one of the premier dance events in the world, the Vail International Dance Festival brings together today’s most in-demand artists for two weeks of collaboration, performances, and events. Over the past four years, BalletX has quickly emerged as one of the festival’s most talked-about companies, reaching thousands of dance lovers with its diverse repertoire. BalletX will present Sunset, o639 Hours at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on August 1, 2015 — the first full-length ballet in the festival’s 27-year history, and the first time BalletX headlines its own program in Vail. The company will also perform on two additional nights during the festival’s run, including Matthew Neenan’s Switch Phase (a Vail premiere in 2012) during the “Ballet Blast” program, and a world premiere by Neenan for the “NOW: Premieres” program featuring the BalletX dancers alongside Zachary Catazaro with live music by Brooklyn Rider.

BalletX takes its place at the 2015 Vail International Dance Festival among an impressive roster of performers and companies including Savion Glover, Wendy Whelan, Misty Copeland, National Ballet of Mexico, and Colorado Ballet.

BalletX 2015 Vail International Dance Festival Performance Schedule
August 1 – Sunset, o639 Hours at the Vilar Performing Arts Center
August 2 – Ballet Blast at the Gerald R. Ford Ampitheater
August 4 – NOW: Premieres at the Gerald R. Ford Ampitheater

Following BalletX’s appearances at the Vail International Dance Festival, the company will travel to New York City for a two-night run of Sunset, o639 Hours at The Joyce Theater on August 11th and 12th, as part of the theater’s Ballet Festival. BalletX has performed twice at The Joyce, including a mixed bill of work by Jodie Gates in 2012 and a BalletX repertory program in the 2013 Ballet v6.0 Festival, which garnered critical acclaim in Alastair Macaulay’s “Dance Favorites of 2013”. Presented alongside BalletX in The Joyce Theater’s Ballet Festival are Joshua Beamish/MOVE: the company, Chamber Dance Project, The Ashley Bouder Project, Emery LeCrone, and Amy Seiwert’s Imagery.

BalletX 2015 Joyce Theater Performance Schedule
August 11 at 7:30PM – Sunset, o639 Hours
August 12 at 7:30PM – Sunset, o639 Hours

Press tickets for BalletX’s performances at the Vail International Dance festival and the Joyce Theater are available. Please contact Allie Vanyur, BalletX Communications Manager, at or 215-893-9456 x129 for further information. High-resolution images are available upon request.

About BalletX: BalletX unites world-class choreographers with an outstanding company of professional dancers to forge new works of athleticism, emotion, and grace. Through the daring vision of its award-winning founders, Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan, BalletX challenges the boundaries of classical ballet by encouraging formal experimentation while preserving rigorous technique. The company is committed to producing new works of the highest quality and integrity that bring the combined visions of choreographers and dancers to life and cultivate in audiences a collective appetite for bold new dance. For more information, visit

About the Vail International Dance Festival: The outdoor splendor of the Colorado Rocky Mountains is the perfect backdrop to artistic brilliance, and each summer the unique mountain town of Vail plays host to the world’s finest dancers. Now in its twenty-seventh year, the Vail International Dance Festival has developed into a treasured celebration of dance, renowned for its artistic excellence and unparalleled programming. Nearly twenty-thousand people from around the United States and parts of Europe descend on Vail, a vibrant cultural destination, for the Festival’s two-week residence. The event’s spirited atmosphere transforms the village into a culturally-rich environment that is inviting to dance aficionados and newcomers alike. For more information, visit

About the Joyce Theater: The Joyce Theater Foundation, a non-profit organization, has proudly served the dance community and its audiences for three decades. The founders, Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, acquired and renovated the Elgin Theater in Chelsea, which opened as The Joyce Theater in 1982. The Joyce Theater is named in honor of Joyce Mertz, beloved daughter of LuEsther T. Mertz. It was LuEsther’s clear, undaunted vision and abundant generosity that made it imaginable and ultimately possible to build the theater. One of the only theaters built by dancers for dance, The Joyce Theater has provided an intimate and elegant home for more than 320 domestic and international companies. The Joyce has also commissioned more than 130 new dances since 1992. In 2009, The Joyce opened Dance Art New York (DANY) Studios to provide affordable studios for rehearsals, auditions, classes, and workshops for independent choreographers, non-profit dance companies, and the dance/theater communities. New York City public school students and teachers annually benefit from The Joyce’s Dance Education Program, and adult audiences get closer to dance through pre-engagement Dance Talks and postperformance Dance Chats. The Joyce Theater now features an annual season of approximately 48 weeks with over 340 performances for audiences in excess of 135,000.

The Sunset Tour is made possible by the generous support of: Anonymous Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and Arthur Kaplan & R. Duane Perry.


Media Contact:
Allison Vanyur
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
215- 893-9456 x128(o)