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Big-name acts dominate Pittsburgh Dance Council season

| Saturday, May 7, 2016, 8:06 p.m.
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Dance Theatre of Harlem
BJM Danse
Craig Bannerman
BJM Danse
Pilobolus
Ian Douglas
Pilobolus
Bereishit Dance Company
Bereishit Dance Company
Bereishit Dance Company
Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company's 'Analogy/Dora: Tramontane'
Paul B. Goode
Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company's 'Analogy/Dora: Tramontane'
Martha Graham Dance Company
Martha Graham Dance Company

Pittsburgh Dance Council's impressive lineup for 2016-17 was put together by its new leader Randal Miller, who in February officially became director of dance programming and special projects for Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

The upcoming season will introduce a South Korean modern-dance group, Bereishit Dance Company, to local dance enthusiasts in a season otherwise filled with some of the biggest names in the field: Martha Graham Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Pilobolus, Dance Theater of Harlem and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Ballet Jazz de Montreal (BJM Danse).

Miller, 33, had previously worked for the Trust as an assistant to his predecessor, Paul Organisak, who left in September.

Street dance was Miller's entrée to the field. He was a professional and competitive break dancer for many years until a back injury curtailed his career. He still teaches and mentors break dancers at Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned his master's degree in arts management.

Being amazed by Fred Astaire sparked Miller's transition to appreciating more traditional dance.

“I can legitimately connect every great thing that's happened to me to dance,” he says.

And he wants everyone to share the passion. He's rescaled Dance Council's ticket prices, lowering the least expensive seats to $10. He's also set aside 50 $10 seats downstairs at the Byham Theater, where most shows are presented.

“I thought making it accessible to people who might not even know they would love dance is very important,” Miller says.

Dance Council's 2016-17 season (performances are at the Byham Theater, Downtown, except as noted):

Oct. 1, Martha Graham Dance Company: The program will include two Graham classics, “Diversion of Angels” and “Dark Meadow” Suite, along with several new works including “Lamentation Variations,” in which contemporary choreographers respond to Graham's 1930 ballet.

Oct. 21- 22, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company: The Chicago-based company will present, “Analogy/Dora: Tramontane,” the first in a projected trilogy. The new work was inspired by a conversation Jones had with his mother-in-law, who was a Holocaust survivor. It includes scenic elements, live music and spoken dialogue. August Wilson Center, Downtown.

Feb. 10-11, 2017, Pilobolus: The ultra-popular group will perform “Shadowland,” a fantasy journey of self-discovery. It follows up on the success of the backlit technique Pilobolus used at the 79th Academy Awards in 2007.

March 4, Bereishit Dance Company: The Korean group creates contemporary dance informed by the lens of their culture, without being culturally specific.

March 24-25, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Dance Theater of Harlem: Each company will perform its own repertoire, with a collaboration between the two on a duet in between. The ballet will revive Dwight Rhoden's “StrayLifeLushHorn,” which it commissioned, and will be accompanied by the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra. August Wilson Center

April 22, BJM Danse: The popular repertory company's program will include “Kosmos” by Andonis Foniadakis, but the rest of the program will be announced at a later date.

Subscriptions cost $60 to $285. Single tickets will go on sale in August. Details: 412-456-6666 or trustarts.org

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

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