Fall Arts: From ballet to modern, movement options abound
Dance is a thriving part of the performing arts in Pittsburgh. Enthusiasts and newbies alike face many delightful choices in the 2013-14 season.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Pittsburgh Dance Council lead the field with mainly complementary offerings. The ballet presents the classic romantic ballets, sometimes with live orchestra, with the work of contemporary choreographers also integral to its repertoire. The Dance Council is a presenting organization that brings in the most adventurous and often edgy groups it can find from around the world.
But the texture of dance options is far wider than any two organizations could encompass. Attack Theatre is an exceptionally creative and physically exciting group, which also performs with Pittsburgh Opera and has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. And there are other compelling groups, such as Bodiography Contemporary Ballet and Texture Contemporary Ballet.
In addition, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty is an important center for dance both in presenting ensembles from Pittsburgh and elsewhere, and in nurturing emerging choreographers with residencies leading to performances.
The ballet opens its season with the sensibilities of our time as seen through the eyes of Twyla Tharp, Oct. 25 to 27. The American choreographer is one of the giants of the field, widely honored for her inclusive dance vocabulary and dramatic vision. The repertoire is “In the Upper Room” set to music by Philip Glass and “Nine Sinatra Songs,” which feature costumes by Oscar de la Renta.
“The Nutcracker” with music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky is in a class by itself, because it's the ultimate family ballet, perfect for the holidays, Dec. 6 to 29. The production is set in Pittsburgh and was created in 2002 by artistic director Terrence Orr, who keeps it fresh for his dancers from year to year with a variety of changes.
The ballet will offer a second Tchaikovsky ballet when it returns to “Swan Lake,” Feb. 13 to 16. A pillar of classic ballet repertoire, “Swan Lake” is an ultra-romantic story which is beautifully carried by memorably tuneful music. The traditional staging will be updated by Orr. Charles Barker will conduct the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra at these performances, as he will for the production of another 19th-century ballet, “Don Quixote,” April 11 to 13.
The ballet's annual visits to the August Wilson Center, Downtown, have been among the most stimulating of its offerings in recent years. The program “3x3,” March 7 to 16, will include “Ketubah” by Julia Adams, an exploration of marriage customs, and “Smoke 'n Roses” by Dwight Rhoden, which draws on jazz, blues and gospel music.
Dance Council's season opens as part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Festival of Firsts with Marie Chouinard's “Michaux Movements,” inspired by the poetry and paintings of Belgian artist Henri Michaux, Sept. 28. Other especially appealing offerings include Compagnie Kafig, Feb. 1, a Brazilian troupe that combines athletic samba, hip-hop and capoeira dance styles; Ballet du Grand Theatre de Geneve, March 8, which will explore various ways dancer's bodies can achieve symbiosis; and Wendy Whelan Project, March 22, which will perform a suite of contemporary duets by Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo.
Mark Kanny is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- MLB notebook: Pujols agrees to compete in Home Run Derby
- Pirates notebook: Kang settling in to comfort zone
- Suspended Maryland wide receiver eyeing Pitt
- Greensburg expected to fill two vacancies
- Policy to suspend employees with felony charges does not apply to Kane
- Motorcycle club members plead to conspiracy charges
- Mother of Wilkinsburg toddler found dead in ravine charged with her murder
- Starkey: Burnett writing incredible final chapter
- Subway suspends ties with spokesman after raid at home
- Greece gets one more breath from EU
- Gameday: Pirates vs. San Diego Padres, June 8, 2015