Summer is around the corner, but there’s no vacation in sight for the dance offerings at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty.
For the fifth year, the venue will feature diverse, on-the-pulse dance as part of its East Liberty LIVE! series, which also includes music and film-focused events through August.
"It keeps growing,“ says executive director Janera Solomon. ”What we wanted to do with the dance offerings is represent the different ideas that are happening in contemporary dance right now.“
In recent years the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater has garnered a reputation as a nurturing environment where new talent and established artists alike can create and gauge audience reception to new pieces as part of its residency programs.
”The summer is an opportunity for us to offer artists a little more time in the studio or the theater to develop new work,“ Ms. Solomon says. ”It’s important to us always to have a mix, to have some local artists as well as visiting artists. We want to have a diverse mix of styles, too, and approaches.“
This summer’s dance lineup will open noon-2 p.m. next Wednesday with a ”Beats-N-Eats“ dance party where the public is invited to drop by, grab something to eat and -- of course -- dance to the beat. Parties also will be held at the same time July 9 and Aug. 13.
The first work-in-progress showing in the theater’s Creative Community residency program will be by former Dance Alloy Theater member Andre Koslowski. He’s back with Pennsylvania Dance Theatre under the name TanzTheater Andre Koslowski to rework the 2013 piece ”Wiegenlied,“ German for ”lullaby.“ He’ll be joined by dancer Leonie Stein, former head of the Y Institute at Bern University of the Arts in Switzerland. In the dance, artists perform solo amid damaged landscapes set to a traditional Welsh lullaby.
Later in June, Dean Moss/Gametophyte Inc. from New York share an interdisciplinary project centered around abolitionist John Brown. During his week in Pittsburgh, Mr. Moss will incorporate some local teens into the production.
”That’s a growing trend in dance where artists are making dance pieces that they can bring to a local community and reflect local ideas,“ Ms. Solomon says.
July will include two works in development: ”Testify: A Black Womanhood Series -- Poem 2“ by Pittsburgh-based Joy KMT/The Tabernacle of Immaculate Perception and ”I made this for you“ from Gabrielle Revlock and Nicole Binder of Philadelphia. The former is called an ”interactive poetic-shrine-ceremony“ that uses poetry, song and audience involvement to tell stories of black women’s experiences. ”I made this for you“ will challenge societal norms of beauty through a ”fiercely feminine“ show that will tap the talents of Pittsburgh performers.
The residency summer program will close in August with New York-based Marjani Forte’s ”being Here.../this time,“ the product of a three-year examination of the intersections of mental illness, addiction and poverty. Former Alloy dancer and choreographer Jasmine Hearn will be part of the work.
”What we like to say to our audiences is these showings are an opportunity to try something new and to see how artists develop ideas,“ Ms. Solomon says.
In addition to the residency program, the KST Family series will offer family-friendly events in July and August, and The Alloy School will hold dance classes for children ages 18 months to 12 years old. For the first time, the school at The Alloy Studios in Friendship will be expanding its curriculum beyond dance with artist Tavia La Follette’s Lemonade Project, which will lead children 7-10 in an exploration of water quality in the Pittsburgh region through art and science skills.
East Liberty LIVE! summer series / Creative Community residency program
”Wiegenlied,“ TanzTheater Andre Koslowski: 8 p.m. June 20, The Alloy Studios.
”johnbrown,“ Dean Moss/Gametophyte Inc.: 8 p.m. June 27, Kelly Strayhorn Theater.
”Testify: A Black Womanhood Series -- Poem 2,“ Joy KMT/The Tabernacle of Immaculate Perception: 8 p.m. July 11, The Alloy Studios.
”I made this for you,“ Gabrielle Revlock and Nicole Binder: 8 p.m. July 25, Kelly Strayhorn Theater.
”being Here.../this time,“ Marjani Forte: 8 p.m. Aug 15, The Alloy Studios.
Works-in-progress are pay-what-you-can admission. For a full list of summer events and The Alloy School classes, visit www.kelly-strayhorn.org or call 412-363-3000.
Sara Bauknecht: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SaraB_PG.