Several Prominent Pittsburgh Dance Companies Mark Big Anniversaries As New Dance Season Begins


Taylor Knight and Kaylin Horgan of The Pillow Project, Nov. 8. Photo by Cassie Kay Rusnak.

Taylor Knight and Kaylin Horgan of The Pillow Project, Nov. 8. Photo by Cassie Kay Rusnak.

By Steve Sucato

The new dance season features milestones for several local companies. Attack Theatre, CorningWorks, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the Pillow Project all celebrate major anniversaries. They, along with a bevy of other artists, promise even more memorable moments. Here’s a sampling.

Opening its fifth season, CorningWorks examines our growing disconnect with traditional interpersonal communication in Parallel Lives (Wed., Sept. 10-14), at the New Hazlett Theater. The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, also celebrating a milestone anniversary, its 100th, opens with dance icon Carmen de Lavallade’s solo show As I Remember It (Fri., Sept. 12 and Sat., Sept. 13). The theater’s Alloy Studios then hosts Mark Conway Thompson‘s new movement-theater work Kimono (Sept. 19), followed by Casablanca-based Hind Benali/Fleur D’Orange in Identity/Identité (Oct. 10-11) and FreshWorks dance artist Anthony Williams in Loving Black (Oct. 17). The Kelly-Strayhorn then welcomes back TanzTheater André Koslowski performing its latest, A Cantankerous Wiegenlied (Nov. 7-8).

On Sun., Sept. 14, River City Artists Management continues its new SundaySeries at PointBreezeway with performances by Continuum Dance Theater and dancer/choreographer Jasmine Hearn in her latest, favoring consent. The series continues Oct. 12 with performances by Gia T. Presents international music/dance ensemble and the STAYCEE PEARL dance project.
Alan Obuzor and Kelsey Bartman of Texture Contemporary Ballet, Sept. 26-28. Photo courtesy of the company.

Alan Obuzor and Kelsey Bartman of Texture Contemporary Ballet, Sept. 26-28. Photo courtesy of the company.

Texture Contemporary Ballet finds Synergy (Sept. 26-28) at the Kelly-Strayhorn; the company heads to Pittsburgh Dance Center for its annual WIP (Works In Progress) Choreography Project (Nov. 22). And Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery hosts LightLab Performance Series 07 (Sept. 27), featuring new dance works by Maree ReMalia/merrygogo, Slowdanger and Jil Stifel.

Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company begins its season with the Student Choreography Project (Oct. 3-5). Then the troupe performs works by alum Luke Murphy and others in Contemporary Choreographers (Nov. 14-23); both productions are at the school’s George Rowland White Performance Studio. And Dec. 5-14, the company reprises Nicolas Petrov’s Romeo and Juliet at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

Attack Theatre begins its 20th season with the world premiere of Are You Still There? (Oct. 3-10), at the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum. And Dec. 5-6, at Pittsburgh Opera’s George R. White Studio, Attack presents its annual family-friendly program, Holiday Unwrapped.

Murphy/Smith Dance Collective’s Jamie Murphy and dancer/choreographer Shanna Simmons present works-in-progress showings at The Alloy Studios (Oct 5). Dancer/choreographer Moriah Ella Mason presents Contained (Oct. 11) at the New Hazlett.

Maria Caruso of Bodiography, Nov. 21 & 22.  Photo by Eric Rosé.

Maria Caruso of Bodiography, Nov. 21 & 22. Photo by Eric Rosé.

And Bodiography collaborates with La Roche College for Multiplicity (Nov. 21 and 22), at the Byham Theater.

Pittsburgh Dance Council opens its new season at the Byham with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, featuring choreographer Nicolo Fonte’s luminescent ballet Heart(s)pace (Oct. 11). PDC’s season continues with innovative British dance troupe Michael Clark Company (Nov. 1).

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre opens its 45th season with The Sleeping Beauty (Oct. 24-26). And from Dec. 5-28, PBT’s holiday favorite The Nutcracker returns; both PBT productions are at the Benedum Center.

On Oct. 25, the Middle Eastern specialists at Khafif Music and Dance get spooky at their annual Halloween Hafla, at Wilkins School Community Center. And Murphy/Smith Dance Collective’s Renee Smith presents the world premiere of Belong Here at the Pittsburgh Dance Center.

Ashley Duke of Staycee Pearl dance project, Dec. 19. Photo by Mark Simpson.

Ashley Duke of Staycee Pearl dance project, Dec. 19. Photo by Mark Simpson.

Rounding out 2014: the Pittsburgh Bellydance Festival, featuring The Belly-Off competition, returns to Pittsburgh Dance Center (Nov. 7-9); The Pillow Project marks 10 years with In the Blink of a Decade (Nov. 8), at The Space Upstairs; Prague’s Cirk La Putyka brings a mixture of acrobatics, dance, puppetry and live music to the Hillman Center for Performing Arts in Slapstick Sonata (Nov. 15); newcomers Shana Simmons Dance present the site-specific work Passenger (Nov. 14-15), at the National Aviary; Firewall Dance Theater performs Uproar (Dec. 18-Jan. 10), at Off The Wall Theater;and on Dec. 19, STAYCEE PEARL dance project stages works-in-progress showings at PearlArts Studios.

This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper September 10, 2014. Copyright Steve Sucato.

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