Dance Beat: 500!, Bloom, Pillow/Carrie, Gwen, PBT, Bolshoi

500THE 500. Well, I’ve passed the 500 mark on CrossCurrents — 500 articles that is (and over 250,000 hits). I started this blog in 2009 to cover the Pittsburgh dance scene (and beyond) more fully. Well, you have exploded far beyond my expectations — so I thank all of you for that. But CrossCurrents can always improve, so let me know if you have any suggestions. Let’s turn the tables…

IN FULL BLOOM. The Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s annual FULL BLOOM Summer Dance Party had foliage spilling out the doors. Inside there was plenty of artistic camaraderie spilling over as well. Executive director janera solomon presided over the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, along with special performances by Dave Bernabo and friends, Clubhouse Kids Jamie Murphy, Anthony Williams and Maree ReMalia, puppet masters Miniature Curiosa.  Gia T. Cacalano rocked the lobby, while Vie Boheme (the luxurious Kendra Dennard) curled up in a corner of the theater for some vocal stylings.

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JAZZED ABOUT THE CARRIE. The Pillow Project’s Pearlann Porter has immersed herself in jazz — we know that. But after several sojourns to Paris, she is immersing herself in Pittsburgh’s steel history, devising a jazz event this coming October at the Carrie Blast Furnace in Rankin. There will be a daytime session (noon – 5 p.m.) with site tours, ongoing performances and exhibits by The Pillow Project and local artists at $20 a car. The nighttime session (7 p.m. – midnight) will include several full-length performances, video improvisations and multi-media installations by The Pillow, enhanced by live music and art happenings, $15 general admission/$10 student. With plans for a Homestead Works National Park, Pearlann sees this as an annual event.

A GWEN-LY GOOD-BYE. She came from California to join the Dance Alloy and she stayed to create Laboratory Dance Company (LABCO), teach technique, Pilates and improv and do some enticing independent choreography of her own. But Gwen is moving on — to Colorado with her husband and three children. Recently she met with longtime friends — Alloy alums like Jennifer Keller, Mark Taylor and Michele de la Reza and LABCO friends Kelly Krepin De Fade, Stephanie Thiel and Gretchen Moore — for a picnic in Frick Park. Her contribution to Pittsburgh dance is immeasurable, certainly an important and glowing presence. We’ll miss you Gwen…

PBT ON THE MOVE. FYI: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will be traveling to Chautauqua Institution for a performance at the open-air Amphitheater Wed. August 21. On tap will be Mark Morris’ Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, Antony Tudor’s Jardin Aux Lilas and Dwight Rhoden’s Step Touch, all recently acquired for the company repertoire. Dwight is a favorite at Chautauqua, as he is a resident choreographer with the resident Chautauqua company, North Carolina Dance Theatre.


A PRIVATE PERFORMANCE? So I went to see an encore performance of the Bolshoi’s La Bayadere at Phoenix Cinemas in North Versailles. We were the only ones in what amounted to a private showing of one of ballet’s historic productions. Svetlana Zakharova (Nikiya) was a dream. It would be beneficial to the dance community at large if Pittsburgh supported Emerging Pictures’ series of Ballet in Cinema to a greater extent. Stay tuned to the Listings page on CrossCurrents.

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