"Here + Now" by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Opens Later This Month
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s upcoming program Here + Now features works by an all-star female lineup of choreographers: Gemma Bond, Staycee R. Pearl, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Helen Pickett, and Aszure Barton.
From March 24-27, August Wilson African American Cultural Center will be the company’s venue to showcase a mixed program of acclaimed works and world premieres.
Here + Now
The show starts with the world premiere of SKIN + saltwater, created by local choreographer Staycee R. Pearl during her 2019 choreographic residency for PBT.
This moving and dramatic piece is the first work by an African-American woman to be commissioned by PBT. Pearl’s husband Herman “Soy Sos” composed the original score for this work, an imagining of the journey beyond worldly limitations. Pearl says,
“SKIN + saltwater imagines an elemental love story extending beyond time and the human condition.”
Audiences will then delight at Gemma Bond’s Depuis le Jour, a romantic pas de deux set to an aria by French composer Gustave Charpentier. The aria comes from Charpentier’s opera Louise and describes the singer’s overwhelming joy from being in love.
Bond’s expressive choreography allows the dancers to convey the characters’ strong emotions, captivating audiences with their love story.
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s intimate La Pluie follows. Lopez Ochoa is a sought after and prolific choreographer who has created works for 70 dance companies around the world and PBT is thrilled to bring her work back to Pittsburgh.
Set to the first aria of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, the angular and off-center, yet extremely fluid choreography of La Pluie (which means “the rain” in French) emulates falling raindrops and showcases classical technique with contemporary twists. Audiences will be entranced by the dancers as their bodies swirl around one another with a connection that evokes interdependence.
The excitement of Three — 4, 6, 8, an original trio by award-winning choreographer Helen Pickett is set to music by Philip Glass. Pickett, who has created over 50 works, delights in the possibilities of human beings.
This piece first charmed audiences during PBT’s annual performance at Hartwood Acres in August 2021 and PBT is excited to bring it back into the spotlight. This highly energized, architectural and kinetic contemporary dance features three men and focuses on each dancer so they can dazzle the audience with their personality and technique. Three — 4, 6, 8 is rich and complex while embracing camaraderie, competition and community, a hallmark of Pickett’s work and style.
Closing the program is Bright progressions, an energetic new work by Aszure Barton. Barton is an internationally acclaimed choreographer who has been described as an innovator of form. She is fascinated by the intelligence of the human body and loves collaboration.
“If I can facilitate a space where the artists can experience joy together through creation, it is really the best thing in the world,” says Barton. “Bright progressions is rhythmic, groovy, delightful and delicious.”
Featured Photo of PBT Artists Corey Bourbonniere and Grace Rookstool for “Here + Now”. Photo by Duane Rieder.