Student Matinee Educational Materials

Prepare your students for the PBT + DTH Student Matinee!

Welcome to our Educator Portal, a resource we have designed exclusively for teachers bringing students to the student matinee!

The materials on this page will help you introduce your students to the ballets performed at the matinee, as well as to the two companies. We are also providing a few links to resources intended to spark discussion with students about diversity and equity in the world of ballet.

Please email us at education@pittsburghballet.org if we can answer any questions or provide any additional information!


The Program

At the student matinee we’ll see three short neo-classical or contemporary ballets. The downloadable PowerPoint presentation in the next section contains information on the ballets and a brief discussion about how classical ballet differs from neo-classical / contemporary ballet.

Balamouk – 12 minutes

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Orange  – 18 minutes

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Rubies – 19 minutes

Audience Talk Back with Dancers – 30 minutes. New! After the performance, stay seated for talk back with dancers from both companies, who will be on stage to answer questions from the audience!

Total matinee length: ca. 1 hour 45 minutes


Learn About the Companies: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem

Learn more about both companies on our websites:

PBT Website Home Page  •  Dancers   •    History   •   The production

DTH Website Home Page   •  Dancers  •   History   •    Season highlights

Video: DTH founder Arthur Mitchell was a principal dancer with New York City Ballet from the 1950s – 60s. He founded Dance Theatre of Harlem after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In this 5-minute interview excerpt Mr. Mitchell discusses creating DTH. Find more biographical information about Mitchell on DTH’s website.


Performance Resources

PowerPoint Presentation: Introduction to the PBT + DTH Student Matinee – Download to present to your class. Contains information about the production, including the PBT and DTH collaboration, ballet styles, and the individual ballets on the program. Includes some video clips.  When downloading click “Enable Editing when prompted; then click “Read-only.” Notes are included in the presentation and also as a separate pdf. Middle – high school level but can be modified for younger students.

Video: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem Collaboration –  The artistic directors of PBT and DTH discuss their 2017 collaboration, as well as this season’s new production. The directors describe their shared vision for the collaboration, as well as the missions of their individual companies.

Do’s and Don’ts of Theater Etiquette  – This page discusses how to be a good audience member, and can be handed out to students for review before the show.

Take Home Flyer  – Let parents know about the opportunity you’ve helped to give their children! Print out and send home with your students.


Music Resources

Rubies is set to music called Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra, by Igor Stravinsky. It contains three movements – in this video you’ll see (and hear) the entire piece.

Orange is set to five oboe concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. These links are for audio files for the first movement:  Oboe Concerto in F Major RV 457; and second movement:  Oboe Concerto in A Minor RV 463.

Balamouk’s score fuses music by the French group Les Yeux Noirs (the Black Eyes), Lisa Gerrard, and René Aubry.  Here is an audio only video of Les Yeux Noirs’ piece titled Balamouk – this video gives a great feel for the music of the ballet.


Diversity Resources

Below are a few items to get discussions started in your classroom about the issues of diversity and equity in ballet. Students can also be invited to respond in essay form or through artwork.

Video: The Movement Continues This 5-minute video ntroduces students (through dance!) to Dance Theatre of Harlem’s origins after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, and its 50-year legacy.

New York Times article: “Brown Pointe Shoes Arrive, 200 Years after White Ones” – The issue of equity in ballet starts at the bottom, with a dancer’s shoes.

Video: Misty Copeland on Race and Ballet – In this 3-minute interview excerpt, the first female African-American principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre discusses her experiences as a black woman in the ballet world.

Video: CBS 60 Minutes Profile of Misty Copeland – A 13-minute biography detailing her challenging early life, her rise to principal ballerina, and her impact on the art form.

PBT Video: This is the Future of Ballet – PBT’s vision for what ballet will become.


General Ballet Resources

Ballet 101 Pages on our Website – Scroll down on this page for links to information about the history of ballet, the basic positions, pointe shoes, and more!

Ballet Hierarchy: The hierarchy in a ballet company is usually: Principal (highest level); Soloist, and Corps de Ballet (the bulk of the dancers are usually at this level). This handout provides descriptions of each rank and a discussion about advancing through the levels.

Video: How Ballerinas Customize their Pointe Shoes  – Pointe shoes are the most important tool of the ballerina! This video shows the lengths to which dancers must go to make them the perfect fit!

Video: Ballerina Make-up and Hair Routine (3:50 – 13:10)


About the August Wilson Cultural Center

The PBT + DTH student matinees are being performed at the August Wilson Cultural Center in downtown Pittsburgh. This theater holds 475 seats and allows for an intimate theater experience between performer and audience. It’s also an exhibit space and classroom / learning space.

The August Wilson Cultural Center:  Learn about this incredible Pittsburgh venue and resource named for Pittsburgh native and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson!

Video: Watch this 2-minute video about the life of August Wilson.

A lengthier biography of Wilson can be found at the Encyclopedia Britannica website.


Logistics

Checklist:  Print out this checklist with important information for your day at the student matinee!

Bus Window Sign: Print out and place in your bus window.

Dancer Q & A with the Audience:  After the performance dancers from both companies will answer questions from the audience. We hope to have microphones available in the audience so students can ask questions themselves. We also ask that teachers submit up to four questions in advance for our moderator to relay to the dancers. We may not get to all of the questions submitted, but we’d like to ensure that all schools have questions represented at the Q & A.

Email your questions to: education@pittsburghballet.org or bring to the theater. Please include the name of your school, the student’s grade and first name (optional).

Thank you so much!