A PIONEER. Yolanda Marino recently passed away. A longtime supporter of the arts, most of the information in her obituary dealt with her work at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. But I knew Yolanda as the first executive director of the Pittsburgh Dance Council. I can still recall her worrying about attracting Pittsburgh audiences to the fledgling organization. At one point early on, the Martha Graham company was appearing at Heinz Hall for the second time. One performance was sold out, the other half full. Yolanda fretted over that, but no less than Martha reassured her. The company only sold half a house the first time, Martha pointed out, so this time the audiences had tripled in size. Thanks for your efforts, Yolanda, in jump starting dance in Pittsburgh!
DANCING CLASSROOMS. The big moment has arrived, when Pittsburgh Public Schools will compete in their first ever finale at Soldiers and Sailors Auditorium this Saturday (10 a.m. – noon, free admission). And I just got news that the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded sponsor Mercy Behavioral Health a grant of $24,000 to expand the program even more next year. Enjoy some photos by Archie Carpenter from the most recent semifinals at Allerdice High School.
LUKE MURPHY. Luke, a graduate of Point Park University, has participated in all three editions of newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival. This year he flew in from New York, where he has been working with Martha Clarke, Punchdrunk Theatre on its critically-acclaimed “Sleep No More” some projects in his homeland of Ireland. But in talking with Luke at the Grey Box Theatre prior to his performance, he had some extra news, that he will presenting work at the cutting edge Lamama Moves Festival this spring in New York.
SALSITA! Attack Theatre’s Michele de la Reza gives us the skinny on “Salsita!,” a benefit for the La Escuelita Arcoiris school in Squirrel Hill. They’re bringing in Noel Quinatana’s acclaimed salsa band from Cleveland. Add to that handmade tapas, artisan drinks, a salsa cook-off, the Loco Photo Booth, a silent auction and, of course, salsa lessons for all of you Hines Ward fans! Sounds like fun — with an Attack Theatre touch at Pittsburgh Opera, 2425 Liberty Ave. in the Strip District, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets: $35 (online), $45 at the door, $75 VIP. www.salsitapgh.com. or 412-421-4787.