Dance Beat: M33, Shana, Martha, Linda, Speaking Of…, MAC

M33. Point Park University has recently launched a mini-site in conjunction with the world premiere of Marathon 33 (M33), which will enable the public to peek inside the development of the production with cast video blogs, interviews with the directors (longtime Pittsburgh choreographer, now of New York, Tome’ Cousin and Peter Gregus and the creative team, rehearsal videos and photos, a live Twitter feed, original music samples (by Pittsburgh composer Douglas Levine) and information about the cast and tickets. The site will be updated several times a week. M33 tells the tale of dance marathons that were all the rage during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, where people were pushed to their limits, competing for thousands of hours and sometimes just for food. The story came from June Havoc, sister to Gypsy Rose Lee, who was the subject of the great American musical, Gypsy. To keep up on developments prior to the world premiere Feb. 23, click on Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse on Facebook or go directly to the production’s wix site.

MARTHA TIDBITS. Richard Parsakian sent me some information about an auction regarded Martha Graham’s estate. It’s interesting to see the things the iconic choreographer surrounded herself with besides dancers. Click on Martha for a sampling.

SHANA. Look for Shana Simmons, a recent participant in the Kelly Strayhorn’s Next Stage Residency Program, will unveil the fruits of those labors in Relative Position, “a multi-disciplinary performance installation set in a large building,” in June. Check out Shana’s website and stay tuned.

PINA 3D. While we anxiously await the arrival of this Oscar-nominated documentary about the legendary Pina Bausch (real dance in artful 3D!), it might be worthy to note that Linda Reznik, founder of River City Artists Management, served as tour manager for the company when it brought Nelken to the U.S. in 1999. Linda saw the film in Los Angeles and gives it her highest recommendation. Of course, she knew everyone who virtually danced before her eyes.

Photo by Elizabeth Stella Hodges

SPEAKING OF…Phinehas Hodges assembled another group of young artists at the New Hazlett Theater. They ranged from spoken word artists Jim Daniels, Tameka Cage Conley and my personal favorite, Nikki Allen, to the rock inclinations of Cello Fury. Dance provided the bookends, with Bodiography’s Maria Caruso starting with Intimate Liaisons, a comforting company repertory piece that will be part of the company’s upcoming 10th anniversary at the Byham Theater Feb. 24 and 25 and featuring Kelly Basil and Chelsea Zimmer. Textures Alan Obuzor and Kelsey Bartman unveiled a lovely sculptural duet called Lacrimosa, Preisner to conclude the evening.

MAC NEWS. Mid-Atlantic Contemporary Ballet’s Gerard Holt has announced that the company has received 501(c)(3) status. Congrats!

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