Best dance: Hubbard Street
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Pittsburgh got hit by two tsunamis from Australia and Chicago. And when the dance waters had settled, they had formed a big impact on the Top Ten for 2007. We didn't really know what to expect from the Australian Festival, with six movement-oriented programs, and what we found was a fresh outlook on dance with a strong theatrical flair. We knew that Chicago, with a trio of companies landing in the area, had an all-American look and The Joffrey Ballet played true to form. But Hubbard Street Dance Chicago showed up with a new style and power to spare that gave it the top spot. The rest of the list points out Pittsburgh's dance diversity, undeniably one of its strengths and a real bonus for local dance fans.
Pittsburgh Dance Council, Byham Theater, Feb. 10
The electricity is still buzzing from this performance. Hubbard Street reinvented itself once more, showcasing European sensation Nacho Duato, a rarity here, and new choreographic talent, at least to our eyes, that included Jorme Elo and Marguerite Donlon.
Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Dec. 7
Artistic director Beth Corning has always had an eye for detail, but in "... A Different Drummer," her company began to connect the dots and develop a pliant ease in works like Pilobolus' "Duet," Marina Harris' "Table of Content" and David Parker's "After the Beat."
PDC, Byham, Nov. 16
Chunky Move concluded the Australian Festival with "I Want to Dance Better at Parties," but it was a bonus program, "Glow," that caught our attention. Again Paul Organisak went the extra mile to construct bleacher seating on the stage of the Byham, the better to see a highly original melding and of technology and dance in this "Glow"-ing solo.
PDC, Benedum Center, March 3
We saw the Joffrey at 50 and oddly enough, several pieces that the company had already performed here in Kurt Jooss' "The Green Table" and Laura Dean's "Sometimes It Snows in April." In another odd move, the Chicago company took on George Balanchine's "Apollo," but it offered us yet another look at former Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal Willie Shives in "Ruth, Ricordi per Due." Still, it was good to note that the Joffrey's infectious spirit had not diminished.
Benedum, Oct. 28
The Sunday matinee audience could have resounded with "ole!" at this performance of "Don Quixote." Perhaps it was a tried and true pseudo-Spanish ballet, but Maribel Modrono and Christopher Budzynski led a generous cast in a swirl of entertaining dances.
PDC, Byham, March 24
Australian choreographer Graeme Murphy offered us "Grand," inspired by the innards of a piano, but going on to include glissandi in movement and dance as a musical study. Oh, and there was an "amateur" talent show to boot -- the Aussies love to stretch their connections.
PDC, Byham, April 14
We learned that "PC" was Netherlands lighting designer Pieter C. Scholten, collaborator with Italian choreographer Emio Greco when they led us through the gates of "Hell," very loosely based on Dante's "Inferno." Instead it showed us a deconstructed look into the future of dance.
Benedum, April 20
While it is not longer considered a Balanchine company, that didn't stop Terrence Orr from bring a trio of classics from the 20th century master's repertoire. The dancers launched into "Allegro Brillante" with an uncommon brio, snacked on Gershwin in "Who Cares?" and paid tribute to the sweep and clarity of the classical ballet tradition in "Theme and Variations."
The Andy Warhol Museum, May 18
It's always a win/win situation when Attack's Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope work with director Jonathan Eaton of Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh. The premiere of composer and librettist Mathew Rosenblum's "RedDust" featured Attack confined to a minimalist stage, but the company gave maximum emotional effect to this Chinese journey.
August Wilson Center for African American Culture's First Voice Festival, Hazlett Theatre., Oct. 12
The next wave of dance may well come from Africa, as Chipaumire demonstrated with a devotion and open passion to her roots through movement.
First Published December 27, 2007 12:00 am