Dance Beat: Martha, PBT, H2O

DIAL UP RIAL. Pultizer Prize-winning photographer Martha Rial has put together a series of uncommonly beautiful images of GIMP, the production by Heidi Latsky that was recently presented by the FISA Foundation, along with the Pittsburgh Dance Council and August Wilson Center. For her Vimeo slideshow, click on GIMP. For more of her work, which has its own incandescent take on humanity, click on Martha.

NOTHING LIKE HOME. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre returned “home” for its annual ball, which means the Omni William Penn Hotel and its 17th floor ballroom, which has to be the best space in the city for an event like this. The theme this year was perfect, a variation of the recent production of “Peter Pan.” That meant exotic table decorations  and starry projections on an already beautiful ceiling (kudos to chairs Trace and Dr. Kenneth Melani). Of course the PBT performances, a compendium of the current season, are always a highlight. That meant a couple of “Peter Pan” tidbits with an exuberant Amanda Cochrane as Tinker Bell (plus Christine Schwaner, Luca Sbrizzi and Makoto Ono), a sensual “Nutcracker” Arabian dance from Eva Trapp and Alexandre Silva and a gracious “Coppelia” pas de deux from Alexandra Kochis and Chrisopher Budzynski. But more tantalizing were sneak peeks of a full-fledged ensemble number from Dwight Rhoden’s new Bach ballet, set to debut in February, and Dennis Nahat’s “Brahms Quintet” duet with the luminous pairing of Julia Erickson and Robert Moore. Of course everyone got to dance with the ever-terrific Gary Racan and The Studio-E Band.

FOR A GOOD CAUSE. H2O Contemporary Dance recently performed at The Chadwick for Crisis Center North’s annual meeting. As CCN’s executive director, Grace Coleman, put it, “we feel fortunate to welcome H2O to our event for a private viewing of The Phoenix. Based on the company’s excellent reputation, we feel confident that they will inspire the community members to join us in advancing our mission to end domestic violence for all women in this community.”

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