You have to give Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre artistic director Terrence Orr credit. Both he and the marketing department feel that PBT audiences fill the houses for full-length ballets, so he is always in the hunt for contemporary works to fill out the thin glossary of productions that are available.
For the 2012-13 season, just announced, he will give Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Jorden Morris an encore follow-up to his 2009 reworking of Peter Pan. It’s Moulin Rouge — The Ballet (think of the movie by Baz Luhrmann), which has been wowing audiences in Canada and at Atlanta Ballet, where it made its U.S. premiere last season. The company also got permission from the famed Moulin Rouge itself to use the official trademark.
PBT will also bring back Giselle, and not seen here in over a decade. The company ballerinas can look forward to working with ballet master Marianna Tcherkassky, who was regarded as one of the world’s great Giselles during the course of her career at American Ballet Theatre.
But the real excitement comes from the triple bill in Unspoken (instead of Uncommon) and once again at the August Wilson Center (a good thing). PBT will bring in another Mark Morris ballet, Joyride, which Morris repetiteur Tina Fehlandt assured me is “totally different” from this year initial (and successful) effort, Maelstrom.
Also on the program is Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden (1936), which hasn’t been seen at PBT since 1987 (thank you, Patricia Wilde). A gem of a piece by a seminal choreographer in psychological ballet, it is set at a garden party where Caroline, ensconced in a marriage of convenience, must say goodbye to the man she really loves. The program will be completed by a work from the PBT repertory, George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie.
The complete schedule is: Giselle (with orchestra), Benedum Center, Oct. 26-28; The Nutcracker, Benedum, Dec. 7-30; Moulin Rouge — The Ballet, Benedum, Feb. 14-17; Unspoken, August Wilson Center, Mar. 8-17; Cinderella (with orchestra), Benedum, Apr. 19-21. Subscriptions: $60-478.75; 412-454-9107 or www.pbt.org. (Note that the photos are by iconic New York City dance photographer ©Lois Greenfeld.)