Commentary: Letting Go of the Past and Embracing the Future

It’s a little over a year since Dance Alloy Theater stopped moving. But it certainly moved us that the DAT board did not give this 35 year-old company, the oldest modern dance group in Pittsburgh, a fitting finale.

Instead the performing company was quickly and quietly erased as it was folded into the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. There were some murmurings about resurrecting the company in a different form by spring 2012. But that didn’t happen and I don’t think it will at this point.

So here’s my own salute to DAT, which opened our eyes to home-grown modern dance in a way that we had not seen. And speaking of growth, this company was one of the primary resources in the healthy expansion of Pittsburgh dance.

In other words, we wouldn’t be seeing what we’re seeing now if it wasn’t for the birth of the then-called Dance Alloy.

The company hired artistic directors like Mark Taylor, Beth Corning and Greer Reed, who continue to contribute to dance in their own ways. One of the early members was Susan Gillis Kruman, who installed a dance minor in her department at Pitt. And we could never forget Elsa Limbach, founder, artistic director and dancer, who guided the company through so many ups and downs and still provides support for the arts.

Photo: Laurent Zieglert

The Alloy brought Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope, founders of Attack Theatre, together for the first time. Scott Timm returned to the area to take over as general manager of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, while Andre Koslowski still maintains choreographic ties here while heading Pennsylvania Dance Theatre. Jennifer Keller is a mainstay at Slippery Rock University’s growing dance department and Gwen Hunter Ritchie is still a welcome presence as an independent choreographer, instructor (ironically at the Dance Alloy studios), dancer, mother and who knows what else. Most in that last incarnation — Jasmine Hearn, Maribeth Maxa, Gretchen Moore and Michael Walsh, are still infusing dance in Pittsburgh.

But now it’s time to let it go and move on to the upcoming 2012-13 Pittsburgh dance season. Read about it in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and think (if you go back aways), how things would have been without the Alloy forging its way in so many wonderful configurations.

If you have memories to contribute or other Alloy people to note that I might have overlooked, please feel free to comment on this article.

3 Responses to Commentary: Letting Go of the Past and Embracing the Future

  1. The very first post-college performance I took part in was as a guest in the Alloy’s performance at The Hunt Armory… which inspired 22-year-old-me tremendously.

    • jvranish says:

      I remember the Hunt Armory Pearlann, a ghostly venue that inspired a whole other direction for dance. I’m sure it contributed to your grand vision of dance.

  2. mdelareza says:

    A huge thanks to the Dance Alloy for providing such formative and rich experiences throughout my career. Through the Dance Alloy family I’ve connected with so many life-long friends, mentors, choreographers and collaborators. Such great memories.

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