Local dance groups ready to step out and strut their stuff
April 21, 2012 5:57 PM
Jean Gedeon -- Brings in guest artists to help with recitals.
By Jane Vranish Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For "Dance Mom" fans, the Abby Lee Dance Company (known locally as Reign Dance Productions) has been selling Season Tutu T-shirts at the studio. Although the studio's official recital, "Once in a Lifetime," will take place June 21-23, the Abby Lee website is hinting that a "Once in a Lifetime Dance Studio Intensive will take place in conjunction with the show Sunday June 24th for out of town visitors -- details to follow!"
But there's plenty more excitement going on in the alternate dance reality world in Pittsburgh, where the Larry Cervi School of Performing Arts (Mr. Cervi is, by the way, 75 years young) will "Get Up and Dance," and Carnegie Performing Arts Center will be "Breaking Boundaries."
Pittsburgh Youth Ballet will present a "Menagerie of Movement" this year, including "Peter and the Wolf" and "Swan Lake." As PYB will perform the second, or "White Act," Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh will present the third act, which flutters around the Black Swan.
Wexford Dance Academy will dart through the four seasons and offer student art and poetry as well, while Dance Factory will explore "Treasures" like heirlooms, dolls and the Steelers. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Pre-Professional Showcase will delve into the moonlit world of Balanchine's "Serenade."
The studios all try to promote their own choreography, but they are starting to bring in guest artists to bolster their programs. The veteran is Pittsburgh Youth Ballet's Jean Gedeon, who again flew in stagers from New York City Ballet's School of American Ballet, Children's Ballet mistress Garielle Whittle for George Balanchine's "Dance of the Hours" and former NYCB soloist Katrina Killian for the famed choreographer's "Who Cares?"
Wexford Dance Academy gave an extra riff to its tap program with Danny Wallace, a "Tap Dogs" alumnus now teaching at Steps on Broadway in New York. You could also find Preconceived Notion of "America's Best Dance Crew" creating a new hip-hop routine for Pittsburgh Pro Performance Centre. And, on a local note, the Thomas Studio of Performing Arts will showcase alumna Emily Kikta, a New York City Ballet member, and Lauren Garson, formerly of Houston Metropolitan Dance Company.
Speaking of guests, local dance studios also import male dancers to fill out the programs. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Stephen Hadala and Point Park University's Darren McArthur will appear at Wexford Dance Academy, and former PBT member Alan Obuzor at Pittsburgh Youth Ballet.
There is also some news to report, as the Larry Cervi Dance Studio had a trio of students accepted into musical theater programs at Point Park University, Cincinnati Conservatory and Florida State University.
On the ballet front, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet got an award from the U.S. Commerce Association as "Best of Pittsburgh 2011 for Dancing Instruction & Performing Company." The group will send a number of students to summer workshops: Katie Rotz has received a full scholarship at the School of American Ballet, and Ryan Lenkey has been selected for a leading role in the "Mandolin Dance" during New York City Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" at Saratoga Springs.
Likewise with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, which will send 18 graduate students to participate in an Artist Residency Program at the Flying E Ranch in Wickenburg, Ariz.
With anniversaries abounding at Mary Ann & Company (25th), Wilkins School Community Center (20th) and Dance by Damian (10th), there will be plenty of celebrating. As Joy School of Dance trumpets in its recital title, "Check It Out."
And here is a list of dance recitals where you can check it out.
Saturday and Sunday: Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Upper St. Clair High School, 724-969-6000 or www.pybco.com.
April 28-29: Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, Independence Middle School in Bethel Park, 412-343-9333 or www.balletacademypgh.com.
May 10-12: Chartiers Valley High School Performing Arts Department, Chartiers Valley High School, 412-429-3712.
May 18-20: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Pre-Professional Showcase, George Rowland White Performance Studio at Point Park University, 412-281-6727 or www.pbt.org.