From the music of Brahms, James Brown and Billy Strayhorn to the choreography of Glen Tetley, Dwight Rhoden and Robert Garland, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem are joining forces to celebrate the diversity of dance talent and styles in American ballet. Tickets are going fast, but there are still tons of exciting ways to take part in this first-time collaboration:
Private Performance & Preview Party
6 p.m. Thursday, March 16, 2017 // August Wilson Center
Join us for pre-show festivities and a private performance, then eat, drink, and dance the night away with PBT and DTH artists. Best of all, your ticket supports PBT’s Community Youth Scholarship program, which provides need-based training scholarships to talented young dancers. Buy tickets here.
Save your Seat
Experience five works and two premier companies with one ticket! Seats are very limited; snag yours before it’s too late!
Friday, March, 17 – 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 18 – 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 19 – 2 p.m.
Thursday, March 23 – 7 p.m. BEST AVAILABILITY
Friday, March 24 – 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 25 – 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 25 – 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 26 – 2 p.m.
Connect with the Artists
Screening of Black Ballerina
2 p.m. Saturday, March 11, 2017 // Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Alloy School
Experience the inspirational stories of several diverse dancers who confronted the barriers of racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity in the pursuit of their ballet careers.Free and open to the public. Register here.
Panel Discussion: Diversity in Ballet
4:45 p.m. Sunday, March 19, 2017 // August Wilson Center
Join dancers and artistic directors for a thought-provoking discussion on the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the art of ballet. Free and open to the public. Register here.
Meet the Artists: The Story of Our Collaboration
Try out simple ballet steps, meet ballet dancers from both companies and learn the story of this exciting cross-company collaboration. Perfect for kids and families. Free and open to the public.
Session I: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood // Register here.
Session II: 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Allegheny // Register here.
Informance: Discussion & Demonstration
Explore the training and technique of classical ballet through engaging commentary and dancing by DTH and PBT artists. The program includes repertory excerpts, an audience engagement activity and a Q&A session. Free and open to the public.
Session I: 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Point Park University’s George Rowland White Performance Studio // Register here.
Session II: 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, 2017
University of Pittsburgh Alumni Hall // Register here.
PBT Connects @ the Theater
Join artistic directors Virginia Johnson (DTH) and Terrence S. Orr (PBT) for a series of pre-and post-performance discussions at the August Wilson Center. Free and open to performance patrons. Learn more here in the theater programs tab.
Support Studio Collaborations
Throughout the residency, PBT and DTH artists will connect with local students and dancers through a series of master classes and demos presented in partnership with the following organizations: Boys and Girls Club, CAPA, Hill Dance Academy, Hope Academy, Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Alloy School, Orange Arrow, PearlArts Studios, Point Park University and the University of Pittsburgh. Lend your support to these important educational opportunities here.
In collaboration with Pittsburgh Dance Council and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Made possible with support from BNY Mellon; Richard King Mellon Foundation; Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust; The Benter Foundation; Richard E. Rauh; Point Park University; University of Pittsburgh; Mr. Edwin H. Beachler III; Mr. & Mrs. Tom Hotopp; Ms. Mary McKinney & Mr. Mark Flaherty; Mr. & Mrs. Chris Fleischner; Mr. & Mrs. Mark Popovich; Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Todd; Ms. Lois A. Wholey and Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.
Sick of short days, gray skies and cabin fever? Ditch reality, embrace the madness and find out why people are raving about their wild trip to PBT’s Alice in Wonderland. This imaginative production is onstage through Feb. 19, at the Benedum Center. Get your tickets before it’s too late!
1. The stagecraft is simply astonishing. Floating clocks, confusing corridors of doors, teapots that pour on command, Queens who appear out of thin air – we’re all mad here.
2. Kids can’t get enough. From a dancing dormouse to mind-blowing magic tricks, there’s never a dull moment. According to one Tweeter, her six-year-old son was “ENTHRALLED.” Her advice? “Go now!”
3. The Queen of Hearts’ performance is “DELICIOUSLY WICKED (Pittsburgh City Paper).” You’ll literally see red when the Queen loses her head over a game of croquet.
4. And, according to Facebook, everybody loves those tutus made of playing cards.
5. Really, it just “hit all the high points — from a surreal transition to Wonderland, replete with torso-less tutus and floating teapots, to the Rose Garden, dominated in no uncertain terms by a glamorous villainess, Queen of Hearts Julia Erickson (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).”
Getting curiouser and curiouser, but still need convinced? Find more interesting tidbits about the ballet here.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre opens Derek Deane’s zany Alice in Wonderland this weekend at the Benedum Center. Few things are impossible in this off-kilter world. Beginning with a surreal dive down the rabbit hole, illusion floods the stage with curiosities – a smorgasbord of doors, tutus made of playing cards, color-changing roses and size-shifting scenery. Seen through Deane’s creative lens on classical technique, the dancing complements the whimsy and wit of Lewis Carroll’s timeless story. Here are five things that will make you curiouser and curiouser about this blockbuster production:
1. You won’t believe your eyes.
Alice in Wonderland takes production value over the top. The scenic design does justice to the surrealist world Lewis Carroll and illustrator John Tenniel created for the page, morphing from scene to scene through an elaborate series of painted drop curtains and 3D set pieces, including a puzzling assortment of doors, the Caterpillar’s toadstool and the Duchess’ house. Illusions add to the wonder – like a size-changing Alice, roses that change color as they’re painted and the rabbit hole’s dizzying succession of floating teacups, clocks and over-sized objects.
2. It’s a Tchaikovsky ballet.
And you’d never guess he didn’t compose the score specifically for this production. The score is a masterful medley of Tchaikovsky orchestrations arranged, and added to, by Carl Davis. The score includes 15 excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s “Album for the Young” among other whimsical choices.
3. It has a rock star creative team.
The production features costume and set designs by Sue Blane, costume designer for the original stage and screen versions of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and illusions by Paul Kieve, who consulted on some of the Harry Potter films. The concept and choreography come from inventive choreographer Derek Deane, who originally created the work for English National Ballet, the company he led as artistic director for nearly 10 years. Dean was awarded the Order of the British Empire for Excellence in Dance in 2000, and he’s choreographed three world premiere works for PBT: Hungry Heart . . . We All Have One! (2004), Simply Simon (2005) and Anything Goes! (2006).
4. You won’t recognize our dancers.
The wardrobe is utterly transformative. With 90 costumes, it brilliantly brings to life the curious characters Alice meets along her mind-bending journey – favorites from the original Carroll story like the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar and Queen of Hearts. Wardrobe also includes 18 wigs and 30 prosthetic pieces, like the Mat Hatter’s nose and chin, the White Rabbit’s nose, upper lip and ears, the Duchess’ jowls, nose and ears, and the Caterpillar’s nose. The character makeup can take hours for each performance.
5. The dancing is dreamy.
Don’t let the production value fool you – the choreography holds its own alongside the madcap illusions and scenery. For each of the Lewis Carroll characters, Deane has devised a quirky movement vocabulary – like the undulating dance of the Caterpillar or the harried hops (and virtuosic solos) of the White Rabbit – to give them space to show off both personality and technique. The production also taps into the classical sweep of the corps de ballet – first as a twirling garden of Tiger Lilies, Pansies and Sweet Peas and then as a deck of cards with square tutus and a neoclassical edge to their movements.
PBT presents Alice in Wonderland Feb. 10-19, at the Benedum Center for nine performances, including a 7:30 p.m. Valentine’s Day performance. Don’t miss this very important date. Get your seats before it’s too late!