Pittsburgh’s Fall dance season brings everything from showcases of local talent to international touring companies


Pillow Project dancer Taylor Knight. Photo by Pearlann Porter.

Pillow Project dancer Taylor Knight. Photo by Pearlann Porter.

By Steve Sucato

Pittsburgh’s dance scene has seen lots of changes of late, including the addition of new dance troupes Geeksdanz, Maree ReMalia/merrygogo and Yes Brain Dance Theater. Most recently there is ReedDance, the retooled successor to the now-defunct August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, still headed by Greer Reed. The fall dance season includes both the new and the familiar.

Texture Contemporary Ballet goes Nearly Wild in its season-opener Sept. 20-22 at the New Hazlett Theater, featuring Kelsey Bartman’s new work “The Rose.” The company then heads to Pittsburgh Dance Center Nov. 23 for WIP, a works-in-progress showing. On Sept. 20-21, Wood Street Galleries present Light Lab, two evenings of dance with works by Maree ReMalia, Taylor Knight, Jasmine Hearn and others. Hearn then presents the fourth installment of her site-specific series that’s what she said, Sept. 28 at Assemble.

Also on Sept. 28, The Pittsburgh Dance Council opens its season with Montreal’s acclaimed Compagnie Marie Chouinard, world-premiering a new work at the Byham Theater as part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. On Oct. 18-19, the festival and the PDC season continue as circus arts meet dance in Swiss duo Zimmermann & de Perrot’s Hans Was Heiri, at the August Wilson Center.

Bodiography Contemporary Ballet spreads a little Light and Joy Sept. 29 alongside the Westmoreland Choral Society and the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra, at Seton Hill University. Bodiography then teams with La Roche College Nov. 15-16 for its annual Multiplicity showcase, at the Byham.

Murphy/Smith Dance Collective performs "See What I Hear", Nov. 15-16.  Photo courtesy of Murphy/Smith Dance Collective .

Murphy/Smith Dance Collective performs “See What I Hear”, Nov. 15-16. Photo courtesy of Murphy/Smith Dance Collective.

The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater launches its season Oct. 3-5 with the newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival, featuring locals Gia CacalanoReedDance and Staycee Pearl Dance Project (SPdp), plus visiting talent. On Nov. 1, Fresh Friday, at KST’s Alloy Studios showcases works by Maree ReMalia and Jil StifelMurphy/Smith Dance Collective rounds out KST’s season Nov. 15-16 with the premiere of See What I Hear, exploring the relationship between sound and human instinct.

Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company opens its season Oct. 4-6 with the Student Choreography Project. Then the troupe performs works by Kyle Abraham and others in Contemporary Choreographers, on Nov. 15-24; both productions are at George Rowland White Performance Studio. And Dec. 10-15, the company performs Nicolas Petrov’s Romeo & Juliet at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

The Pillow Project returns to its large-scale performance roots with The Jazz Furnace, Oct. 12 at The Carrie Blast Furnace site in Rankin/Swissvale. The multimedia happening features the company’s signature “Freejazz” improvisational movement style.

For Attack Theatre, TV crime dramas are the theme in The Chalk Line, Oct.25-Nov. 9 at Attack’s Spring Way Studio. And Dec. 6-7 at Pittsburgh Opera’s George R. White Studio, Attack presents its annual family-friendly program, Holiday Unwrapped. Also for the kids, Geeksdanz gets a jump on Halloween with the ghostly Manifestations, Oct. 19 at Steel City Improv Theater.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre pays homage to dance icon Twyla Tharp in An Evening of Twyla Tharp. The Oct. 25-27 program includes Tharp masterworks “In the Upper Room” and “Nine Sinatra Songs.” And from Dec. 6-29, PBT’s holiday favorite The Nutcracker returns; both PBT productions are at the Benedum Center.

Continuum Dance Theater performs "Objects of DESIRE", Dec. 14. Photo courtesy of Continuum Dance Theater.

Continuum Dance Theater performs “Objects of DESIRE”, Dec. 14. Photo courtesy of Continuum Dance Theater.

Rounding out 2013: The inaugural Pittsburgh Bellydance Festival launches Nov. 1-3, featuring The Belly-Off competition at Pittsburgh Dance Center; SPdp presents a work-in-progress showing of Staycee Pearl’s I’d rather not say, at PearlArts Studios on Nov. 15; the Duquesne University Tamburitzans perform Nov. 23, at West Mifflin Middle School; and Continuum Dance Theater world-premieres Objects of DESIREa story of personal yearning and revelations on the essence from which dreams are made, Dec. 14 at the New Hazlett Theater.

This article first appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper September 11, 2013. Copyright Steve Sucato.

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