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Pittsburgh Dance Council's new season to feature theatrical emphasis

| Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8:10 p.m.
'Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host” features dancers Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, and “This American Life’s” Ira Glass.
David Bazemore Photo
'Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host” features dancers Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, and “This American Life’s” Ira Glass.

Dance Council's 2014-15 season is designed to give the audience what it wants — lots of adventurous and innovative contemporary dance.

The programming includes groups making their local debuts, such England's Michael Clark Group and Sweden's Pontus Lidberg, as well as returning favorites, including Aspen/Sante Fe Ballet and Ron K. Brown's company Evidence.

“I don't start each season with a fresh slate. I've been looking all year long, and I've been looking for 25 years,” says executive director Paul Organisak.

He finds big dance festivals particularly useful because he can see 20 companies in the space of four or five days.

“What generally happens is that I see a company two or three years ago that is just now making it onto the Dance Council season,” Organisak says. “Michael Clark is a great example. I saw him 10 years go. He's been creating work for 30 years. It's surprising, in a way, that he's just appearing for the first time next season, but he hasn't toured the U.S. very much. His entire tour will be only four cities — Irvine, Calif., Portland, Ore., Chicago and Pittsburgh.”

Organisak also emphasizes the highly theatrical nature of the next's season's dance lineup.

“Sure, every dance is theatrical because it's on stage,” he says. “But Dance Council hasn't presented a story ballet, such as ‘A Streetcar Named Desire,' in many years.”

The shows for Pittsburgh Dance Council's 2014-15 season (All performances will be at the Byham Theater, Downtown.):

Oct. 11: Aspen/Sante Fe Ballet returns with three works exploring youth and naivete, gorgeous physicality and dynamic partnering, and an abstract piece illuminated by love, compassion and the importance of touch.

Nov. 1: Michael Clark Company makes its debut with his “Swamp,” using music by David Bowie and Iggy Pop and showing this Brit's rebellious sensibilities in a piece described as being at once sensual and damaged.

Feb. 7, 2015: Ron K. Brown's company Evidence will present two works: “The Subtle One,” set to jazz and transcending human struggles toward connections between spiritual beings and mortals, and “On Earth Together,” which is performed to music by Stevie Wonder.

March 28: Union Tanguera, a French-Argentinian ensemble, will perform “Nuit Blance” which explores the wanderings, desires and fears that emerge during a sleepless night, with live tango music.

April 18: Pontus Lidberg, a rising star on the international dance scene, will perform his “Snow,” which contrasts the fragility of life with the relentless power of nature, with three other dancers.

May 19: Scottish Ballet will perform Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's version of Tennessee Williams' “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Dance Council also will present two special, nonsubscription performances. “Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host” on Feb. 28 will feature radio interviews staged as dance events, and stories from the lives of dancers Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, with “This American Life's” Ira Glass. The Royal Ballet of Cambodia, Nov. 7, will bring its traditional style — with graceful, subtle movements and stunning costumes — that developed over 1,000 years of association with the Khmer court.

Subscriptions cost $64 to $240. Single tickets will go on sale in mid-August.

Details: 412-456-1390 or

Mark Kanny is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or

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