After stretching its artistic haunches with forays into European dance theater (John Neumeier’s Streetcar Named Desire) and a strong mixed rep program of Brahms, Beethoven, Bach and Brahams (Mark Morris’ Maelstrom, Dwight Rhoden’s Chromatic and Dennis Nahat’s Brahms Quintet), Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre seemingly reigned in its sense of adventure with Coppelia, a balletic comedy in the traditional sense. But artistic director Terrence Orr decided to flex his muscles and shook up the production with a fresh approach and the company responded. Click on Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for the full article. It would be great if PBT were to continue in that vein next season.
Afterward everyone celebrated with an official season-ending cast party, En Pointe, at the Trust Arts Education Center’s Peirce Studio around the corner from the Benedum Center on Liberty Ave. Downstairs the performing space, a versatile black box, is always cool, enhanced by the building’s original stone foundation and exposed brick, even on hot summer days. Bordered by black velvet curtains with strings of white globes overhead, dancers and guests gathered for one last event on a season well spent. Tapas, Belgian waffles, cupcakes and mixed vodka drinks added to the the social atmosphere, charged with anticipation for the next season.
Principal dancer Christopher Budzynski (Franz) was with wife and lovely Swanhilda, Alexandra Kochis, and the amiable Stephen Hadala, his onstage nemesis as Dr. Coppelius. As it turned out Chris danced with a sore knee on both Friday and Sunday, helped by plenty of Ibuprophin, a bandage and the adrenalin that comes with the excitement of the performance. He still pulled off soaring double cabrioles and whipping turns without a hint of any problem.