On Stage: Trust-ing in Themselves

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Erin Halloran has had a dream season. The classically-oriented ballerina, known for her immaculate technique, took on “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake,” two of the most rigorously delineated roles in the repertoire. Yet she chose to be more daring than ever in her lengthy career with the company. Sporting confident multiple fouettes and pinpoint balances that seemed to last forever, she played to those strengths while adding a newfound star quality.

It seems that Erin is not one to rest on her laurels.

Why not add a few extras to her resume this season? The opportunity presents itself this weekend at the Dancers’ Trust Benefit at Point Park University’s George Rowland White Performance Studio. This is the showcase that primarily benefits dancers in transition, most often in the form of scholarships for their education as they prepare for a new career. But it also benefits current dancers, because they organize the program themselves, from the performance selections to backstage details.

So this wife of PBT ballet master Steven Annegarn and mother of sons Aiden and Leo chose to reprise the “White Swan Pas de Deux” with newly appointed principal Nurlan Abougaliev. Fair enough. But she will also choreograph her fourth work.

She has dabbled with original pieces for PBT and Point Park University and last year she co-choreographed a work for the Trust with former PBT member Alan Obuzor to Cold Play’s “Fix You.” “We have a really good working/dancing relationship,” Erin says. “We’re very respectful of each other’s ideas and he’s so incredibly talented.”

So they decided on an encore pas de deux for this year’s program. Set to Fiona Apple’s “I Know,” she mysteriously hints that it tells a story. Filled with “images that we glue together,” the couple worked with video to develop the piece. Then towards the end, Erin’s husband came in with his “credible eye” to offer some feedback.

Corps members Amanda Cochrane and Luca Sbrizzi will tackle the entire “Coppelia Pas de Deux,” with careful coaching from departed PBT members Kumiko Tsuji and Daisuke Takeuchi. Christine Schwaner and Alexandre Silva will do the juicy ballet warhorse “Diana and Acteon” and Julia Erickson will take on the breezy pathways of “Who Cares?” with Nurlan. Soloist Robert Moore will try his hand at a duet for corps members Ashley Wegmann and Alejandro Diaz. And Alan, feeling prolific, will do a solo and provide a fun-filled finale to a “good and challenging season for everyone.”

For more information, see Listings.

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