PITTSBURGH, PA – Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre ushers in a new ballet season with an al fresco evening of picnicking, family fun and “Ballet Under the Stars” on Sunday, Aug. 16, at Hartwood Acres’ Middle Road Concert Area. “Ballet Under the Stars” begins at 5 p.m. with free family activities and a VIP dinner with the dancers before the free mixed repertory performance at 7:30 p.m.
As part of the Allegheny County Summer Concert series, “Ballet Under the Stars” gives audiences the first look at the 2015-2016 Season company roster – including new dancers Jessica McCann, Emily Simpson and Kurtis Sprowls – before the main-stage season officially opens in October.
This year’s program will debut an original work choreographed by PBT Principal Dancer Yoshiaki Nakano, a six-year company member. Set to Mozart music, the work marks Nakano’s first for the company. He has previously choreographed on the Pre-Professional students of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and for performances of the Dancers Trust, a local organization founded to support retiring dancers through career transitions.
“We are thrilled to feature new work by Yoshiaki Nakano, who is an emerging choreographic talent within our own ranks,” said PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr. “It will be an exciting challenge for him as an artist – and for the dancers he will be creating with – to originate a new work that is 100% our own. His style blends classical technique with an inventive, contemporary movement style. I’m looking forward to what is sure to be a high-energy work.”
Also on the program, PBT will reprise the virtuosic “Pas d’action” and the “Golden Idol” solo from the classical story ballet “La Bayadère,” which closed PBT’s 45th Anniversary Season in April. The scenes highlight high-caliber classical technique from some of the ballet’s leading characters: the warrior Solor, the Radjah’s daughter, Gamzatti, and the mysterious Golden Idol.
Finally, the program revisits another 45th Anniversary highlight: Mark Morris’ sunny “Sandpaper Ballet,” an ensemble work set to the cheerful tunes of “Sleigh Ride,” “The Typewriter” and nine other ‘40s and ‘50s classics by American composer LeRoy Anderson. The work features 25 dancers costumed in electric green jumpsuits with whimsical, blue-sky torsos.
Audience members also can take advantage of a special single ticket presale for PBT’s 2015-2016 Season, which opens Oct. 23-25, at the Benedum Center with Mixed Repertory #1 featuring George Balanchine’s “Western Symphony,” William Forsythe’s “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated” and Jiří Kylián’s “Sinfonietta.”
Free Family Activities (Free)- 5-7 p.m.
Audiences can arrive early for free family fun, including crafts, balloon animals, photo opportunities, ballerina dress-up and dance activities on the lawn. Concessions will be available from 5-7 p.m. from food trucks BRGR , vegan-friendly Randita’s and The Pop Stop.
Dinner with the Dancers – 5-7 p.m. (Ticket required)
PBT will host a pre-show barbecue dinner under the PBT tent with dancers and artistic staff to benefit PBT repertory, student scholarships and education programs. Guests will enjoy dinner, drinks and musical entertainment. Tickets are $75 for adults and $20 for children (ages 12+). For tickets, visit www.pbt.org or call 412-454-9138.
About the 2015-2016 Season
From the choreography of George Balanchine to the music of Johnny Cash, PBT’s five-ballet lineup features major contemporary choreographers, audience favorite “Peter Pan,” holiday classic “The Nutcracker” and the company premiere of the full-length classic “Le Corsaire” with the PBT Orchestra. The five-ballet season runs October through April. Season ticket packages start at $69 and are available online at www.pbt.org or by calling 412-454-9107. Single ticket sales open Aug. 24, at www.pbt.org or 412-456-6666.
· Mixed Repertory #1: Western Symphony, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and “Sinfonietta”
Featuring the PBT Orchestra / Oct. 23-25, 2015 / Benedum Center
· The Nutcracker
Dec. 4-27, 2015 / Benedum Center
· Peter Pan
Feb. 12-21, 2016 / Benedum Center
· Mixed Repertory #2: Man in Black, Jardin Aux Lilas (Lilac Garden), Eternal Idol
March 10-13, 2016 / Byham Theater
· Le Corsaire with the PBT Orchestra
April 15-17, 2016 / Benedum Center
About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
One of the most exciting ballet companies in the United States, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has built a legacy of excellence and innovation since its founding in 1969. Its eclectic style and irrepressible energy have been shaped by four distinguished artistic directors over four decades. In the 1980s, former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Patricia Wilde led the Company to new heights and national acclaim with an emphasis on virtuosic technique and works by the modern masters, including her mentor, George Balanchine. Since 1997, the Company has flourished under the direction of Terrence S. Orr, former American Ballet Theatre ballet master and principal dancer. Mr. Orr has created a powerful repertoire, including fresh versions of traditional ballets, original works commissioned to contemporary American music and dramatic works that push the boundaries of ballet as an art form. Through more than 50 performances each year at home and on tour, PBT audiences discover the passion and joy of ballet.