Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre 'appetizer, main course and dessert' for audience
Ballet thrives on a large stage, such as the Benedum Center. But the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's artistic director and dancers also look forward to their annual late-winter show at the smaller August Wilson Center.
The ballet's upcoming program — featuring two premieres and a revival — takes advantage of the intimate space in which it will be performed.
“This program goes together like an appetizer, main course and dessert,” says artistic director Terrence Orr. “I really wanted to have the work of Julia Adam, to create its wonderfully intimate kind of dance in the August Wilson Center. To continue with the very inventive movement of Viktor Plotnikov and close with Dwight Rhoden's ‘Smoke 'n Roses' makes an awesome intimate program that people will go home singing.”
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will present seven performances of “3x3” starting March 7 at the August Wilson Center, Downtown. The program is “Ketubah” by Adam, “In Your Eyes” by Plotnikov and “Smoke 'n Roses” by Rhoden.
Live music will be provided by a string quartet drawn from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra for the Plotnikov, and Etta Cox and a combo for the Rhoden.
Adam's “Ketubah,” which will receive its first Pittsburgh performances, was commissioned by Stanton Welch, artistic director of Houston Ballet, where it was first formed in 2004.
“I wanted to do a work for my mother,” Adam says. “She's the Jewish side of my family and loves klezmer music. I put together this idea of going through the wedding ritual to klezmer music. A light look at ritual made a good platform for dance.”
Adam is from Ottawa in Canada and graduated from the National Ballet School in Toronto, but spent most of her career at San Francisco Ballet (1988-2002), where she rose to principal dancer.
“Ketubah” (wedding contract) starts with the match-making process, “but I didn't want to do ‘Fiddler on the Roof,' so I did a musical chairs menagerie,” Adam says.
The choreographer introduces white fabric as a motif into her piece in the second section, devoted to the mikvah, where the women cleanse, cut and braid their hair. The men are in another room, having a discussion.
The fabric will return as the chuppah, under which the couple are married, and later will be opened by the groom and turned into their wedding sheet.
“It's metaphorical. It's like, I point you to that idea, then let go as we dance,” she says.
The ballet ends in celebration, a dance in which Adam uses shapes inspired by Marc Chagal's floating lovers.
Plotnikov's “In Your Eyes,” a world premiere, is set to Antonin Dvorak's “American” String Quartet. He choreographed two of its four movements a few years ago for the ballet's school. It took him a little more than three weeks to create the whole work, starting in mid-January.
The new ballet is based on discovery of new elements of movement, rather than any story.
“The audience can find things that might remind them of life, and there's a little bit of humor in the third movement,” he says.
“Every time I choreograph, I try to break boundaries and create more within the boundaries. The movement is based on classical, traditional ballet, but I do go in for variations from neo-classical to more contemporary, more bending of the torso. In some of the very small passing movements, I'm trying to find the best possible transitions from one hard element to another.”
The ballet gave the world premiere of “Smoke 'n Roses” in March 2007, with Etta Cox singing. Its popularity led the ballet to take it on the road, including outdoor performances.
Mark Kanny is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or email@example.com.
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.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, ‘day-to-day’ with concussion
- Shoulder of ramp to Parkway West to close, delays likely
- GOP succeeding at down-ballot level
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Shortfalls sabotage promise of union retirees’ pensions
- Starkey: Next frontier for Steelers offense
- Quigley Catholic mock trial team advances to national finals
- Probiotic bacteria help conquer ‘superbugs’
- Mt. Lebanon native, Iraq war hero’s action goes unrewarded
- Pitt’s Amara offers Vision of hope