Point Park Conservatory Dance Company shakes things up in 'Ballet Off-Center'
November 30, 2016 12:00 AM
Annie Morgan and Shawn Lesniak in "Ballet Off-Center," which Point Park University's Conservatory Dance Company will perform at the Pittsburgh Playhouse's Rockwell Theatre.
Marissa Lee, Ryan Trotman, Vanessa Figueroa and Terrell Rogers in "Ballet Off-Center," which Point Park University's Conservatory Dance Company will perform at the Pittsburgh Playhouse's Rockwell Theatre in Oakland.
By Sara Bauknecht / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Ballet is often synonymous with tutus, pointe shoes and old master choreographers such as George Balanchine — but it’s so much more than that.
Point Park University Conservatory Dance Company in ‘Ballet Off-Center’
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Dec. 9-10 and 2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Dec. 10-11.
Tickets: General admission is $24 on Friday and Saturday evenings, and $20 for matinees. Admission for students and seniors is $10. Purchase at www.pittsburghplayhouse.com or call 412-392-8000.
In its latest production,“Ballet Off-Center,” Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company will shake up some preconceptions. Faculty members Jason McDole and Daniel Karasik, joined by guest artists Alexandra Damiani (Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet) and Darrell Grand Moultrie (Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter World Tour), will premiere new works. The show opens Friday for a two-weekend run at Pittsburgh Playhouse’s Rockwell Theatre, Oakland.
“Ballet Off-Center” is the latest product of the Conservatory Dance Company’s “big ideas” program, which allows faculty to pitch and develop performance concepts.
“Historically we’ve done a lot of classical ballets,” Mr. Graciani says, especially for the university’s yearly Byham Theater showcase. “The contemporary and classical ballet worlds are intermixed so much. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we took a little bit of both and made a hybrid?”
He invited choreographers to take liberties with ballet lines and vocabulary. While Ms. Damiani expanded upon a duet, Mr. McDole’s creation is aerobic with great virtuosity. Mr. Karasik’s work stuck a bit closer to tradition, and Mr. Moultrie incorporated spoken word into his piece.
These are the latest of several collaborations Mr. Graciani has fostered since coming to Point Park in 2014. He’s encouraged the department to build relationships throughout the community, as well as with outside dance professionals.
“It really shows the depth of talent we have in faculty and students.”
Sara Bauknecht: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter and Instagram @SaraB_PG.
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