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'Giselle,' 'Alice,' Harlem troupe are part of Pittsburgh Ballet's upcoming season

| Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, 8:55 p.m.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 'Alice in Wonderland' features (from left) Corey Bourbonniere, Hannah Carter and William Moore.
Duane Rieder
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 'Alice in Wonderland' features (from left) Corey Bourbonniere, Hannah Carter and William Moore.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem's Ingrid Silva (left) with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Julia Erickson (PBT)
Duane Rieder
The Dance Theatre of Harlem's Ingrid Silva (left) with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Julia Erickson (PBT)
Gabrielle Thurlow and Luca Sbrizzi in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 'The Nutcracker.'
Duane Rieder
Gabrielle Thurlow and Luca Sbrizzi in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 'The Nutcracker.'
Amanda Cochrane in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of 'Giselle.'
Duane Rieder
Amanda Cochrane in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of 'Giselle.'
Amanda Cochrane and Yoshiaki Nakano have appeared in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of 'Giselle.'
Duane Rieder
Amanda Cochrane and Yoshiaki Nakano have appeared in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production of 'Giselle.'
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 'Romeo and Juliet' has featured Alexandra Kochis and Alejandro Diaz.
Duane Rieder
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 'Romeo and Juliet' has featured Alexandra Kochis and Alejandro Diaz.

A successful season requires a good recipe. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's five productions for 2016-17 are a carefully chosen mix of ingredients.

“I like to have bookends, and like them to be classic ballets,” says artistic director Terrence Orr. “It starts with ‘Giselle' and ends with ‘Romeo and Juliet,' and both are with orchestra.”

The season, as usual, includes two family-friendly ballets, the annual “The Nutcracker” performances, plus “Alice in Wonderland.”

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will collaborate with another professional company for the first time when it shares the stage with Dance Theatre of Harlem in a mixed-repertoire program.

Pittsburgh Ballet announced these shows for 2016-17; all performances are at the Benedum Center, Downtown, except as noted:

“Giselle”: Oct. 28 to 30. This tragic love story, one of Orr's favorite ballets, will be presented in his new production in honor of his 20th season with the company. It will include new costumes and sets. The ballet moves from vibrant village scenes in Act 1 to an eerie forest in Act 2. The expensive project has special donors and is expected to be able to generate revenue through rentals to other companies.

“The Nutcracker”: Dec. 2 to 27. Orr's lavish production of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's classic is set in Pittsburgh and has been a hit since its debut in 2002. Every year, he tweaks the choreography. The company's depth of dancing talent is showcased by rotating casting during the lengthy run of 26 performances.

“Alice in Wonderland”: Feb. 10 to 19. Derek Deane's staging of Lewis Carroll's famous story returns with vibrant theatricality. The production includes tutus made of playing cards, roses that change color and size-changing scenery. There are more than 100 costumes plus a score of music by Tchaikovsky.

“It really is a most fantastic production and had one of the highest box-office ratings when we did it before,” Orr says. It will be performed twice as many times as the other Benedum Center shows.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Dance Theater of Harlem: March 17 to 26, 2017. A celebration of American dance, the program includes each company performing its own repertoire, with a joint pas de deux in the middle. Orr has a long history of working with the Dance Theater of Harlem, including staging works, back to the days of its founder Arthur Mitchell. At the August Wilson Center, Downtown.

“Romeo and Juliet”: April 21 to 23, 2017. Eloquence in movement replaces the spoken word in this great mid-20th century ballet based on William Shakespeare's play, which is strongly supplemented by Sergei Prokofiev's brilliantly dynamic and emotional music.

Subscriptions cost $81 to $508. Single tickets will go on sale Aug. 22. Details: 412-456-6666 or pbt.org

Mark Kanny is a Tribune Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7877 or mkanny@tribweb.com.

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