It was an ordinary afternoon at the Chestnut Hill Library. School children studied together at round tables. Toddlers turned up for story time. Seniors browsed the periodicals. But for a group of unusually fit and graceful people lurking among the paperbacks, everything was normal. Then the music began and the next five minutes were given over to joyful, vigorous dance.

 

This pop-up performance was one of three given Tuesday by BalletX at library branches in North Philadelphia. The small contemporary ballet company, which usually performs at the Wilma Theater, performed two dances from their recent run: Slump by Joshua L. Peugh and Head in the Clouds by James Gregg. And then they disappeared, leaving smiles behind.

"That was refreshing. It brightened my day," said Tyra Holmes, a Chestnut Hill regular. "I would never have picked a library for it, but it worked."

Through Library Acts of Culture, sponsored by the Knight Foundation, more than 50 pop-ups featuring dance, drama, and music are scheduled over the coming months at Free Library branches throughout the city, but we can't tell you where, or when. It's a surprise.