Texture Contemporary Ballet to showcase diverse choreography in 'Velocity'
March 16, 2017 12:00 AM
Mark Simpson Photography
Texture Contemporary Ballet will close its sixth season with "Velocity" at the New Hazlett Theater, North Side.
By Sara Bauknecht / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Velocity” isn’t just the name of Texture Contemporary Ballet’s latest mixed repertory show, which opens Friday at the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side. That word also describes the state of the troupe these days: consistent and burgeoning, with no end in sight.
Texture Contemporary Ballet presents ‘Velocity’
Where: New Hazlett Theater, North Side.
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. A children’s show is at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets: $20-$30; showclix.com.
“We’re just always exploring new ideas and pushing ourselves to try new things,” says founding artistic director Alan Obuzor.
So far, all of that pushing has paid off. This weekend’s performances will close Texture’s sixth season (although a couple of shows across the region are on the calendar before next season’s rehearsals kick into high gear in June). In just a few years, the company has managed to build up a respectable body of work by dozens of resident and guest choreographers, which have served Texture well on tour and at home.
This time, audiences will get to see some of Texture’s resident dancers flex their choreographic muscles, in addition to new works by Mr. Obuzor and associate artistic director Kelsey Bartman.
“It’s always nice to have the dancers choreograph on the company because they know us all so well, but it also gives us that slightly different perspective,” he says. “It leads to a nice mixture when everything is put together.”
Alexandra Tiso, who joined Texture in 2012, has planned a lighthearted, energetic piece that calls for dancers in rain boots with umbrellas. Meanwhile, Brynn Vogel, who’s also been with the company since 2012, took her creation in more of an abstract direction.
“It’s working a bit with the concept of conforming and not conforming and trying to battle that,” Ms. Bartman says.
For Mr. Obuzor’s contribution, he’s choreographed a stamina tester that “pushes all of the dancers kind of to their max,” he says. It’s set to bold selections from Los Angeles-based music company Two Steps from Hell. On a softer note, Ms. Bartman made a balletic, bittersweet tribute to her late grandmother accompanied by pretty piano and cello music.
“I feel like the core group of us is just getting really solid and really comfortable dancing together,” says Mr. Obuzor, also stressing that his partnership with Ms. Bartman is strong and flourishing.
“The strengths that we may have balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Ms. Bartman adds. “It’s a good dynamic to have.”
With that winning formula, the pair has high hopes for Texture’s seventh season.
“I feel like we’re in a good place with all of the work that we’ve been producing and presenting,” Mr. Obuzor says. “Just being around for more time shows people, whether it’s our audiences or donors or foundations, that we’re in this for the long haul.”
Sara Bauknecht: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter and Instagram @SaraB_PG.
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