Off Stage: Alloy at 35

Oh, I wish I were 35 again, with life moving at an exhilarating pace. But then, there would be less dance in Pittsburgh. Right now, it’s great to see that Dance Alloy Theater is celebrating 35 years and I’ve been around the whole time and more.

This season Greer Reed-Jones and Susan Sparks have (surprise!) 35 events to celebrate those 35 seasons and I’m already playing catch-up on CrossCurrents. They snuck in a couple of things even before the official announcement.

The first was the beginning of the Alloy’s Unblurred series, this one called “Pittsburgh Choreographs” and beginning with an intimacy improv, “Bae,” by the ever-so busy Kaylin Horgan with Taylor Knight. Annalee Traylor followed with an ensemble work “Free,” then new Alloy faculty member Gino Vaccaro with a competition-style solo for Caitlin Cahill, “The Answer is Yes.” New Alloy member Gretchen Moore closed the program, showing good structure in “Realization.” The major point here was the big emergence of young talent that is electing to remain in Pittsburgh, part of a welcome trend that I am seeing.

And I missed  another Unblurred, “Movin and Groovin’ with DAT” and labeled a “dance party,”  but was able to attend the Official Opening on Oct. 7, where the company performed and all of the new dancers were introduced. It’s the biggest change for Pittsburgh’s oldest modern dance company in seven years and garnered three new dancers. Maribeth Maxa and Michael Walsh will remain to lead the company while the others moved on — Christopher Bandy to devote more time to family and teaching, Stephanie Dumaine to retire and Adrienne Misko to make the transition to New York City.

In their place, Ms. Reed-Jones new choices put the company on a decidedly more youthful keel. The afore-mentioned Ms. Moore has been part of the Pittsburgh scene for a number of years, most noticeably with LABCO, while Jasmine Hearn and Raymond Interior both made the transition from Point Park.

I had to miss Behind the Curtain, a sneak peak at the December concert at the Hazlett Theater where the program will mostly focus on the Alloy of yesteryear, including former artistic director Mark Taylor, former Alloy member Kevin Maloney and Ms. Reed-Jones.  But I caught up with former Alloy member and now Pennsylvania Dance Theatre artistic director in State College Andre Koslowski at a rehearsal where he was “layering” with the dancers. The program might have a focus on the past, but none of these choreographers have stagnated.

Now there are 30 or so more to enjoy. Now when I was 30…

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