Dance Beat: Italy, China, Germany

THE OTHER MARTHA. Choreographer Martha Clarke has what you might consider a cult following and the awards, including the “Genius Grant,”  to go with it. So it was with great anticipation that the Ballet in Cinema series went contemporary and featured her L’Altra Meta de Cielo (The Other Side of the Sky) for the La Scala Ballet. It was based on the music of aging Italian rock star Vasco Rossi, whose life was filled with drug abuse and whose lyrics are filled with hatred (misogyny, xenophobia and racism). But she transformed all of that into a work about a trio of women and various passages in their lives during adolescence, growth and maturity. It turned out to be quite lovely and telling.


CHINA CONNECTION. It’s always great to hear from former Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principals Jiabin Pan and Ying Li, who now head Suzhou Science Culture and Arts Centre (SSCAC) in China, home of Suzhou Ballet Theatre. He sent several links, so hard to find because they are all written in Chinese. Jiabin wrote about their production of Romeo and Juliet (above) on a very successful Taiwan tour last year. Apparently the company also performed Double Happiness at the Gala there with companies such as Stuttgart Ballet. The latest full-length ballet is XISI (below), 2,000-year-old legend about a Chinese beauty. He writes that they miss Pittsburgh, but hopes that “one day we’ll find a chance to take the company back [there] to perform.”


THE ORIGINAL PINA. Certainly one of the most memorable films I’ve seen, the Oscar-nominated Pina is coming back, this time to the New Hazlett Theater. If you didn’t catch it the first time out, it would be well worth the effort…or even if you’ve seen it before.  7 p.m., $12.

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