Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre To Premiere 7 Works Choreographed By Company Dancers

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre To Premiere 7 Works Choreographed By Company Dancers

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presents seven world premieres choreographed by seven company dancers in its March mixed repertory program: "Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre: New Works," on stage March 16-25, at the August Wilson Center. Tickets start at $28, and are available at www.pbt.org, 412-456-6666 or the Box Office at Theater Square.

Principal dancers Amanda Cochrane, Julia Erickson and Yoshiaki Nakano and Corps de Ballet members Jessica McCann, William Moore, JoAnna Schmidt and Cooper Verona will each choreograph a work for the program. They'll also dance in their fellow choreographers' works. Four works will comprise Program I and three works will comprise Program II. Each program will be performed on select dates (listed below).

The program marks the company's first full-program, main-stage showcase of dancer-choreographed works. Nakano previously choreographed a neoclassical ballet, titled "A Fellow Feeling," for PBT's March 2016 program at the Byham Theater. Several dancers - including Nakano, Erickson, Moore and Verona - have created works for PBT touring performances at Seton Hill University and Hartwood Acres.

"It's important to our company, our repertory and the future of our art form that we seek out and support the next generation of dance makers," said Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr. " It's what keeps ballet alive and relevant to the world we live in."

More of the company's emerging talents also will exercise their creative powers. PBT Costumier Janet Groom will design costumes for three of the works, and she's also commissioned four of her team members, all under age 35, to design costumes for each of the remaining four choreographers.

All have extensive experience building costumes, but for Costume Assistant JoAnna Becker, first hand Kristin McLain and seamstresses Kaylee Flowers and Jackie Wadowsky, these works will mark their first foray in PBT costume design. Design concepts range from transparent vinyl tutus to 60s-style street clothes.

PROGRAM I:

8 p.m. Fri., March 16 | 2 p.m. Sun., March 18 | 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. Sat., March 24

Amanda Cochrane - Principal Dancer - Choreographing "Interlaced Motifs"
The Spokane, Washington, native is choreographing a ballet for four dancers set to Claude Debussy's "La Danse de Puck," "Arabesque No. 1," "Arabesque No. 2," "La Puerta del Vino," "Feux d'artifice" and "Reverie." Four individuals embark on a whimsical lark of lighthearted escapades through Impressionist artwork and music. Inspired by the implied colors and texture of Debussy's works, the dancers playfully meander through the paintings of Liebermann, Monet, Van Gogh and Whistler. Fleeting colors and light, shifting rhythms and harmonies and classical/neoclassical style combine to create fanciful vignettes that celebrate the humor found in daily living. Cochrane has previously choreographed "Systole," which premiered at PBT's 2017 "Millennial Movement" program at Seton Hill University and was performed at PBT's 2017 Ballet Under the Stars performance at Hartwood Acres.

Yoshiaki Nakano - Principal Dancer - Choreographing "Infusion"

The Osaka, Japan, native is choreographing a ballet for five dancers set to "Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 11: III. Scherzo" by Felix Mendelssohn and "Die schöne Müllerin, Op. 25, D. 795" and "Symphony No. 3 in D Major, D 200: IV. Presto vivace" by Franz Schubert. In his work, Nakano strives to bring the music to life through the movement. He has previously choreographed "A Fellow Feeling" for PBT's March 2016 Mixed Repertory #2 program at the Byham Theater as well as works for PBT performances at Seton Hill University and Hartwood Acres. He's also been commissioned by PBT School and choreographed in Japan for the World Dream Gala in partnership with his mother's Elite Ballet Studio.

William Moore - Corps de Ballet Dancer - Choreographing "Weighted Affair"
The Ipswich, England, native is choreographing a neoclassical ballet for 10 dancers set to "Sonata in D Major" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "Choti" and "Raise a Glass" by The Black Market Trust, "Songe d'Automne" and "Ou Est-tu Mon Amour" by The Rosenberg Trio, "Nocturne in G Minor Op. 37 No. 1" by Frédéric Chopin, "L'Indifference" by Pearl Django and "Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 5 (Spring) in F major, Opus 24, Mvt. 1 Allegro (excerpt)" by Ludwig van Beethoven. "Weighted Affair" centers on a dinner party with friends and explores the association between people's inner emotions and exterior facades. This is Moore's third PBT commission; he previously created "Four Marks" and "Response" for the company's 2016 and 2017 "Millennial Movement" performances at Seton Hill University. "Response" was later performed at PBT's 2017 "Ballet Under the Stars" performance at Hartwood Acres.

JoAnna Schmidt - Corps de Ballet Dancer - Choreographing "Lightworks"
The Eustis, Florida, native, is choreographing a contemporary work for seven dancers set to "Brazilian Flower" and "Aqua Density" by Jean-Jacques Perrey, "Minute Merengue" by Harry Breuer, "Valley of the Dolls (Theme)" by Dorothy Ashby, "Amor Amor" by Juan Garcia Esquivel, "Portofino 1" and "Portofino 2" by Raymond Scott, "It's Easy to Say Goodbye" by Walter Wanderley and "Visa to the Stars" by Perrey and Kingsley. Schmidt has previously choreographed for PBT School's Company Experience workshop. "PBT: New Works" will mark her first commissioned piece for the company.

PROGRAM II:

8 p.m. Sat., March 17 | 8 p.m. Fri., March 23 | 2 p.m. Sun., March 25

Julia Erickson - Principal Dancer - Choreographing "i"

The Seattle native, who will close her 17-year career with PBT in October, is choreographing a contemporary work for nine dancers set to excerpts from 12 different musical artists. Through a series of vignettes unified by a poignant strand of poetry, Erickson explores the human need for interconnectedness and self expression in a world of increasing fragmentation, detachment and distraction. Pedestrian movements and patterns and a quirky, contemporary movement style create a dreamlike version of reality, which challenges us to grasp moments of calm to seek our own wild, weird, imperfect truth. Erickson previously choreographed "Demon Hostess," which premiered at PBT's 2017 "Millennial Movement" program at Seton Hill University and was performed at PBT's 2017 "Ballet Under the Stars" performance at Hartwood Acres.

Jessica McCann - Corps de Ballet Dancer - Choreographing "the silver line."

The Los Angeles native is choreographing a contemporary ballet for nine dancers set to Maya Beiser's "Kinship," Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Ubi" and Anna Meredith's "Nautilus." McCann is integrating abstract tutus, created by Campbell, and powder effects in her work. McCann says, "I wanted to show off the strength and skill that's in our company...Most simply put - it's inspired and based around the choices people make," though she hopes patrons will draw their conclusions. McCann has previously choreographed in Japan, where she guest dances in summer galas, and in California for her community college's annual dance productions.

Cooper Verona - Corps de Ballet Dancer - Choreographing "Thick White Sheets"

The Lebanon, Connecticut, native is creating an organic, contemporary work for eight dancers set to "In The Vespers" by Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld, "Elevation" by Hildur Guðnadóttir, "Spindrift" by Colin Stetson and "Conceptual Romance" by Jenny Hval. "Thick White Sheets" sheds light on the role of circumstance in people's lives and explores the concept of finding control despite being powerless. PBT has previously commissioned Verona to create three works - "Walking With," "brood" and "Gravitational Embrace" - for performances at Seton Hill University and Hartwood Acres. He also has been commissioned by PBT School and Point Park University.

PERFORMANCE TIMES

  • 8 p.m. Fri., March 16 (Program I)

  • 8 p.m. Sat,, March 17 (Program II)

  • 2 p.m. Sun., March 18 (Program I)

  • 8 p.m. Fri., March 23 (Program II)

  • 2 p.m. Sat., March 24 (Program I)

  • 8 p.m. Sat., March 24 (Program I)

  • 2 p.m. Sun., March 25 (Program II)

THEATER PROGRAMS

Afterthoughts | Fri., March 16 immediately after the 8 p.m. performance
A post-show talk-back with dancers and other artists. Located at the front of the orchestra section in the theater; no reservations necessary.

Insights | 7-7:30 p.m. Sat., March 17
A pre-show discussion with PBT artistic staff members, who share historical and cultural context for the production. Located at the Cultivation Center. Registration requested at www.pbt.org/NewWorks.

Talks with Terry | 1-1:30 p.m. Sun., March 18
Audience members can watch a few minutes of the company's onstage warm-up class, then Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr previews the ballet and conducts a Q&A.
On the balcony in the theater, no reservations necessary.

Audio-described Performance | 2 p.m. Sun., March 25
A live narration of the ballet for patrons with vision impairments. Additional details are available at www.pbt.org/accessibility



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