Category Archives: Press Releases

Pittsburgh’s Kelly Strayhorn Theater to Host 2018 National Performance Network / Visual Artists Network Conference


Photo courtesy of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater.

By Duane Binion

(PITTSBURGH, PA, January 29, 2018) The Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) and National Performance Network (NPN), are pleased to announce the 2018 National Performance Network / Visual Artists Network’s Annual Conference will take place in Pittsburgh, PA, December 2018. NPN/VAN’s Annual Conference is a dynamic international forum for artists, arts leaders, activists, organizers, funders, and creative stakeholders to develop a more artist-centered, just, and sustainable performing and visual arts universe.

For over 10 years KST has been committed to serving our community as an inclusive safe space for all, offering a place where everyone’s voices are heard, and responding to community needs,” says Executive Director of Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Janera Solomon. “Now is the perfect time to showcase Pittsburgh based artist. We have a unique voice, and culture, we are proud to welcome our NPN colleagues to experience our city.

Over four days, KST and NPN/VAN will partner to gather more than 400  artists, arts funders, and leadership from arts organizations across the nation to consider current issues, share solutions, examine local, national and international policies that shape the cultural environment, and expand industry and institutional know-how.

In addition to gathering arts leaders from across the country, the Annual Conference also provides opportunities to share the work of local, national, and international artists that include ArtBursts (pop-up performances throughout the Conference), Idea Forums, In the Works, and “Live & On Stage “performance showcases.

The Annual Conference also directly addresses artist equity issues by providing subsidies to NPN/VAN, as well as Pittsburgh artists, selected to mirror the diversity of the NPN/VAN community.

The NPN network includes more than 100 arts organizations in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia. They are committed to investing in artists whose voices and visions illuminate and shape the world around us, and to taking risks in support of artistic expression. Since its inception, NPN/VAN has reached 3.5 million audience members and supported 4,700 artist projects employing more than 21,000 artists. NPN has provided $26 million in direct support to artists and presenters, and leveraged another $44 million, resulting in $70 million in support for artists and arts organizations.

KST and NPN/VAN share a mission to create an arts sector rooted in justice. The conference is designed to foster deeper collaboration among presenters, greater mobility for artists and a stronger collective voice for the arts. Its programs demonstrate the network’s commitment to spaces for expression that are free of racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, misogyny, classism, or other bias. It is a rare platform where artists and presenters come together as equal peer participants toward greater field-wide goals.

The Annual Conference is held in a different city in the United States each year, and is hosted by local Partners in collaboration with the NPN/VAN National Office. Past meetings have been held in the following cities.

Attendance is open to everyone interested in participating. Local artists wanting to learn more about how you might be involved in sharing ideas, performing, teaching, and/or as a member of the Community Host Committee should email for more information.

The National Performance Network and Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN) believes artists and arts organizations are essential for creating a just and sustainable world, and we believe communities deserve broad access to art and culture that reflect their own experiences and inform about the experiences of others.

We seek to provide risk-taking performing and visual artists with the resources needed to develop and tour new work, to ensure arts leaders have the skills and opportunities to be change-makers in the arts presenting field, and to influence cultural policy for more just and artist-centered practices.

Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) uses the arts as a catalyst for community revitalization and plays a key role in the transformation of East Liberty and nearby neighborhoods. In its 16th year as an organization and 10th season of original programming, KST continues to demonstrate its commitment to Pittsburgh artists and audiences, supporting the presentation of risk-taking new work by emerging artists and arts organizations.

KST is also building community through art with the newly formed East Liberty Community Arts Fund, supporting ambitious temporary art projects. The first two projects – Deavron Dailey’s The Arms of East Liberty and Bob Ziller’s 15 Minutes – are now on display at 5906 Penn Ave. in East Liberty.

KST operates two professionally equipped venues along the Penn Avenue arts corridor. The historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater (formerly the Regent Theatre, 1914) is a 350-seat multi-arts venue and the last survivor of East Liberty’s nine original theaters. Noted Pittsburghers and KST namesakes Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn are among the 80 area artists honored in the theater’s Gallery of Stars. Just blocks away, KST’s Alloy Studios play host to intimate performance events and provide creative space for artist residencies, Alloy School dance classes, and performance rehearsals, as well as community art and music programs.

Major funding for KST Presents is provided by The Heinz Endowments, Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Benter Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Allegheny Regional Asset District.


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STAYCEE PEARL dance project and SOY SOS present interim: THROWBACK

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Photo collage courtesy of STAYCEE PEARL dance project.

By Jessica Marino 

Celebrate STAYCEE PEARL dance project (SPdp) and Soy Sos then and now with interim: THROWBACK. Join us for a fundraising bash at Ace Hotel as we enjoy show excerpts from old and new favorites including FLOWERZ, CirclePop, …on being…., encryption cipher, Playground, and ABBEY: In the Red. Afterwards, enjoy laughs and memories over fun family style dinner service from Ace Hotel’s Whitfield kitchen.


Friday, November 17, 2017
6:30pm – 10:00pm
Ace Hotel – 120 South Whitfield Street Pittsburgh, PA, 15206 
Cost: $50 (includes dinner, signature beverage, performance, & dancing! Cash bar also available)
For ticketing information – or

6:30 PM Doors open with Happy Hour (Cash Bar)
7 PM SPdp THROWBACK dance performance
7:30 PM Family style dinner service
8:30 PM DJ Soy Sos dance party

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Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 2018 line-up revealed


RNZB dancer Abigail Boyle. Photo by Ross Brown.

By Jeremy Brick

Choreographic mastery, cinematic vision and New Zealand’s pioneering spirit define the national ballet company’s 65th anniversary year announced today. 2018 promises audience favourites and landmark repertoire from New Zealand, Europe and America alongside expanded choreographic opportunities and continued commitment to education as the company tours to 16 centres nationally.

RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker is honoured to lead the company as the second female director in its history. “My vision is for the Royal New Zealand Ballet is to be celebrated for commissioning works by the brightest young choreographers, while meticulously maintaining the highest standards of traditional classics. The RNZB will continue to embody the elegance, grandeur, grace and strength that I have already seen in New Zealand’s landscapes and the people that I have met. We are a cultural ambassador and an important artistic export, sharing the spirit and creativity of our country at home and beyond our borders.”

The Piano: The Ballet:  The 2018 season begins with the world premiere of a work inspired by Jane Campion’s award-winning quintessentially New Zealand film that captured audiences worldwide. This newly re-imagined full length work by Jiří Bubeníček, is presented in association with the New Zealand Festival and the Auckland Arts Festival. Ada’s story is given a powerful new voice in dance and is accompanied by musical excerpts from Michael Nyman’s iconic film score and works by classical music masters.

Dancing with Mozart: Choreographic titans George Balanchine and Jiří Kylián find inspiration in the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as the RNZB presents the first New Zealand performances of Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15 and Kylián’s Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze, alongside a new commission by Christchurch-born, UK-based choreographer Corey Baker.

Strength and Grace: Women: To mark the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand and the RNZB’s own 65th birthday the company looks to the future of dance, with a series of new commissions from female choreographers, curated by RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker.

The Ryman Healthcare Season of The Nutcracker brings a rich offering of seasonal cheer and fabulous music to audiences of all ages as the RNZB tours a new, traditional staging of the work nationally for the first time since 2010.

RNZB Executive Director Frances Turner says “We are thrilled to present such diverse programming of works that will be a choreographic feast for our dancers and a visual feast for our audience.”

Outside the three main stage seasons, the RNZB will continue its much-loved and popular Tutus on Tour and Ballet in a Box programme planned for seven centres throughout the year: Gore, Tauranga, Oamaru, Hamilton, Taupo, Whanganui and Kerikeri. The RNZB will also present the Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award with the support of the Ballet Foundation of New Zealand Trust, to provide opportunities for emerging choreographers to create short works for studio performance by dancers of the RNZB.


The Piano: the ballet: 

Inspired by the film The Piano with permission kindly granted by Jane Campion, Jan Chapman and Saddleback Productions.

22 February – 7 April

Touring to Wellington, Napier, Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Rotorua

Choreography: Jiří Bubeníček, Set and Video Design: Otto Bubeníček, Costume Design: Elsa Pavanel

Music: Otto Bubeníček, Michael Nyman, Debussy, Arensky, Stravinsky, Schnittke, Brahms and Shostakovich arranged by Otto Bubeníček, Staging: Jiří Bubeníček and Otto Bubeníček

Lighting Designer: Jeremy Fern

Dancing with Mozart: Balanchine – ­Kylián  –  Baker

31 May – 8 July

Touring to Wellington, Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Blenheim, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Napier, Auckland.

  • Petite Mort: Choreography: Jiří Kylián, Assistant to the choreographer: Stefan Zeromski, Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Piano Concertos K488 and K467, Costume design: Joke Visser, Set design: Jiří Kylián, Light design: Jiří Kylián (concept), Joop Caboort (realisation),Video registration: Hans Knill, Technical adaptation (lights/set): Joost Biegelaar
  • Sechs Tänze: Choreography: Jiří Kylián, Assistant to the choreographer: Stefan Zeromski, Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Deutsche Tänze K571, Costume and set design: Jiří Kylián, Light design: Jiří Kylián (concept), Joop Caboort (realisation), Video registration: Hans Knill, Technical adaptation (lights/set): Joost Biegelaar
  • Divertimento No. 15Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust, Repetiteur: Francia Russell, Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Divertimento No. 15 in B flat major, K287, Design: Barbara Karinska, Orchestras: Orchestra Wellington, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Conductors: Marc Taddei (Wellington), Hamish McKeich (Christchurch and Auckland)
  • New work: Choreography/Design: Corey Baker, Music: Duncan Grimley, after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Requiem in D minor K626, Lighting Design: Paul O’Brien

Strength and Grace: Women: New commissions curated by RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker

17 – 18 August

Opera House, Wellington

To mark the 125th Anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand we look to the future of dance, with a series of new commissions curated by RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker.

The Ryman Healthcare season of The Nutcracker

31 October –  20 December

Touring to Wellington, Blenheim, Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Napier, Auckland (Auckland City and Takapuna), Rotorua

Choreography: Val Caniparoli, Music: Pyotr IlyichTchaikovsky, Set design: Michael Auer and Andrew Lees, Costume design: Assisted by Patricia Barker, Lighting Design: tbc, Orchestras: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Conductor: Hamish McKeich

Tutus on Tour with Ballet in a Box

Gore 15 March, Tauranga 4 April, Oamaru 17 June, Hamilton 9 July, Taupo 11 July, Whanganui 13 July, Kerikeri 12 December.

Repertoire may vary from centre to centre and will be announced in advance of each mini tour.

On sale dates for 2018 shows:

Renewing subscribers 2 October 2018; New subscribers 16 October 2017; Public 1 November 2017.

For booking info see

The Royal New Zealand Ballet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) was founded in 1953 by Danish dancer Poul Gnatt, as a touring professional ballet company for all New Zealanders. Now based at Wellington’s St James Theatre, the Royal New Zealand Ballet is an intrinsic part of New Zealand’s national heritage, and has the largest following of all New Zealand performing arts companies. The Royal New Zealand Ballet continues to invest in live music, performing with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Wellington, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra. The RNZB enjoys a reputation for strong and unique interpretations of full-length dramatic works. To this base the RNZB have added many masterworks and major ballets of the 20th century, such as Balanchine’s works and the Stravinsky ballets. The company has an enviable track record in commissioning new works from New Zealand and international choreographers. The RNZB regularly represents New Zealand on the international stage, with recent tours to the UK, Australia, China, USA, Italy and Hong Kong.


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