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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre to present classics, modern works

| Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Dancer Ying Li in 'Don Quixote,' part of the 2013-14 Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre season. Photo by: Randy Choura
Dancers Kumiko Tsuji & Christopher Budzynski in 'Smoke n' Roses,' part of the 2013-14 Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre season. Photo by: Jenn Peters
Rich Sofranko
Dancer Elysa Hotchkiss in 'Swan Lake,' part of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 2013-14 season
Rich Sofranko
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre stages 'The Nutcracker' annually.
Dancers Kumiko Tsuji & Luca Sbrizzi in 'In the Upper Room,' part of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 2013-14 season. Photo by: Rich Sofranko

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will present three full-length classical ballets, along with two evenings of modern dance, including one Pittsburgh premiere, in its 2013-14 season.

“What I like most about the season is that I can't pick one thing (to like most),” says artistic director Terrence Orr, the ballet's artistic director. “I like all these programs because the audience will like them and the dancers will thoroughly enjoy doing each of these productions. It's not always the case, but each of these programs gives challenges to the company at large.”

All performances will be at the Benedum Center, Downtown, except for March 7 to 16, 2014, which will be at the August Wilson Center, also Downtown.

The ballet's 2013-14 season:

“An Evening of Twyla Tharp, “Oct. 25 to 27: The season opens with a pair of works by the iconic choreographer, whose style is both eclectic and individual. “In the Upper Room,” set to music by Philip Glass, juxtaposes “Stompers” in running shoes with “Bomb Squad” dancers in pointe shoes in a work Tharp describes as “fierce, driving and relentless.” “Nine Sinatra Songs” is one of her most popular pieces, offering her take on 1950s social dancing — with costumes by Oscar de la Renta.

“The Nutcracker,” Dec. 6 to 29: Additional performances of the perennial holiday favorite will be added in 2013 for Orr's Pittsburgh-based staging, which debuted in 2002. Orr will continue to tweak his production of this story of a young woman's magical Christmas Eve to keep it fresh for the performers and families who make this show a family tradition.

“Swan Lake,” Feb. 13 to 16, 2014: The most popular of classical ballets is an ultra-romantic story lifted by the tuneful and dramatic music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The ballet's production updates the traditional staging of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov to modern technical standards. Music director Charles Barker will conduct the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra.

“3x3,” March 7 to 16: The annual show in the more-intimate space of the August Wilson Center will present the Pittsburgh premiere of “Ketubah” by Julia Adams. She offers her own mix of ballet, modern and Israeli folk dance, set to Klezmer music, to explore marriage customs. Also on the program is “Smoke 'n Roses” by Dwight Rhoden, which was created for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and had its world premiere in 2007. The deeply musical choreographer was inspired by the jazz, blues and gospel styles of singer Etta Cox, who will perform.

“Don Quixote,” April 11 to 13: Orr says Marius Petipa's and Alexander Gorsky's work, based on Miguel de Cervantes' famous novel, is “an incredible full-length ballet, full of acrobatics, difficult technically and very funny.” The score by Ludwig Minkus will be performed live by Barker and the orchestra.

Subscriptions cost $66 for three shows in the least-expensive seats to $483.75 for five shows in the most expensive seats. Single tickets will go on sale in September.

Details: 412-454-9117 or www.pbt.org.

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

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