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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Unveils 2015-2016 Season Lineup

by Meghan Swartz
April 17, 2015
Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr has unveiled Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 2015-2016 lineup, featuring major contemporary choreographers, audience favorite "Peter Pan" and the company premiere of the full-length classic "Le Corsaire" with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra.

The five-ballet season runs October 2015 to April 2016. Season ticket packages start at $78, and can be purchased online at www.pbt.org or by calling 412-454-9107. Single ticket sales open Aug. 31, 2015 with prices starting at $28.


2015-2016 Season

MIXED REPERTORY #1
"Western Symphony," "In the Middle Somewhat Elevated" & "Sinfonietta" featuring the PBT Orchestra
Oct. 23-25, 2015 – Benedum Center
"Western Symphony" – Choreography: George Balanchine; Music: Hershy Kay; World Premiere: 1954, New York City Ballet
"Sinfonietta" – Choreography: Jiřί Kylίan; Music: Leo? Janáček (Sinfonietta); World Premiere: 1978, Netherlands Dance Theater
"In the Middle Somewhat Elevated" – Choreography: William Forsythe; Music: Thom Willems; World Premiere: 1987, Paris Opera Ballet

In PBT's season opener, three great visionaries use ballet as a base for exploration. In an ode to the Old West, George Balanchine's rollicking "Western Symphony" ventures into the frontier of classical ballet and American folk dance with its swaggering cowboys and high-spirited dance hall girls. Accented by the fanfare of Leo? Janáček's score, the mood turns to elation with Jiřί Kylίan's free-spirited "Sinfonietta," an expansive work with a poetic vocabulary. In contrast, the pulse of electronic music propels a thrilling tour de force in William Forsythe's contemporary ballet, "In the Middle Somewhat Elevated." The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra will accompany "Western Symphony" and "Sinfonietta."

About the Choreographers:
Born in St. Petersburg, George Balanchine (1904-1983) is widely regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in ballet. Balanchine created more than 400 works found in the repertoires of the world's major ballet companies.

Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián has served as Netherlands Dance Theater artistic director and house choreographer for more than thirty years, and has created 75 works for NDT and for companies worldwide.

William Forsythe, who is regarded as one of the most important current choreographers, danced with the Joffrey Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet, where he was appointed resident choreographer in 1976. After serving for 20 years as director of Ballet Frankfurt, he founded an independent ensemble, The Forsythe Company, in 2005.

"The Nutcracker" – Dec. 4-27, 2015 – Benedum Center
Choreography & Staging by: Terrence S. Orr; Music by: Peter I. Tchaikovsky

Holiday magic envelopes the stage in PBT's classic "The Nutcracker." Set to Tchaikovsky's sublime score, a dreamlike journey unfolds through a moonlit snowscape to a whimsical Land of Enchantment. More than 100 dancers bring to life iconic choreography from the wondrous waltz of the snowflakes to the pristine Sugarplum Fairy pas de deux. Interwoven with Pittsburgh vistas and charm, PBT's "The Nutcracker" brings the story home for a holiday tradition that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls "the most lavish of all in the city." Featuring unique casting combinations for each of its 24 performances, Terrence S. Orr's rendition of "The Nutcracker" will mark its 14th consecutive season onstage.


"Peter Pan" – February 12-14, 2016 – Benedum Center
Choreography: Jorden Morris; Music: Sir Benjamin Britten, Eric Coates, Sir Edward Elgar, Ron Goodwin, Montague Phillips; World Premiere: 2006, Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Imagination takes flight and time stands still in the mystical world of Jorden Morris' "Peter Pan." Atmospheric scenery transports audiences through starry skies to the tangled forests of Neverland and the decks of Hook's Jolly Roger. Set to a collection of works from English composers, high-flying choreography and aerial acrobatics animate a fantastical realm where fairies flit through the sky, pirates patrol the waters and Peter Pan leads his Lost Boys in endless adventure. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet gave "Peter Pan" its world premiere in 2006, and PBT performed it for the first time in October 2011. Morris will revisit PBT this season to stage the ballet. Morris, a former Royal Winnipeg Ballet principal dancer, is also the creator of "Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet," which PBT performed in February 2013.

MIXED REPERTORY #2
"Man in Black," "Jardin Aux Lilas (Lilac Garden)" and "Eternal Idol"
March 10-13, 2016 – Byham Theater
"Man in Black" – Choreography: James Kudelka; Music: Johnny Cash; World Premiere: 2010, Ballet Met, Columbus
"Eternal Idol" – Choreography: Michael Smuin; Music: Frederic Chopin (Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor); World Premiere: 1969, American Ballet Theatre
"Jardin Aux Lilas" – Choreography: Antony Tudor; Music: Ernest Chausson's "Poeme;" World Premiere: 1936, Ballet Rambert, Mercury Theatre

From stoicism to devotion, PBT dancers move through intriguing shades of emotion in a trio of ballets. In tribute to the enigmatic Johnny Cash, James Kudelka's stirring "Man in Black" blends balletic grace and working-class grit in scenes inspired by six covers sung by Cash in the late years of his career. Passion prevails in Michael Smuin's sensuous "Eternal Idol," a tender pas de deux of sculptural lines and lithe partnering, while Antony Tudor's poignant period drama, "Jardin Aux Lilas," depicts the repressed emotion of two lovers parted by a marriage of convenience. Both "Man in Black" and "Eternal Idol" will be new additions to the PBT repertory. The program also reprises "Jardin Aux Lilas," which PBT last performed in March 2013 at the August Wilson Center.

About the Choreographers:
Award-winning choreographer Michael Smuin (1938-2007) was a principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre, associate artistic director for San Francisco Ballet from 1973 to 1985 and founded his San Francisco-based Smuin Ballet in 1994.

James Kudelka is a Canadian choreographer, dancer and director with an international reputation. He served as artistic director for the National Ballet of Canada for nine years, and now serves as the National Ballet's artist in residence.

Kennedy Center honoree Antony Tudor (1908-1987), was one of the giants of twentieth century choreography. He began dancing professionally in 1927 with Marie Rambert's company and moved to New York City in 1940. He joined American Ballet Theatre, for which he created many of his signature "psychological" ballets, including "Pillar of Fire" and "Shadow of the Wind."

Le Corsaire with the PBT Orchestra – April 15-17, 2016 – Benedum Center
Choreography: after Marius Petipa; Music: Adolphe Adam; World Premiere: 1856, Paris Opera

In its season finale, PBT presents, for the first time, the full-length classic "Le Corsaire." A treasure of the classical ballet repertoire, this epic adventure rides the waves of kidnapping, betrayal and ambush in a pirate's quest to liberate the woman he loves. Amid mutinous undercurrents, the charismatic pirate Conrad and his crew navigate dangerous rivalries and the perils of the open sea. Featuring bravura dancing, "Le Corsaire" renders an action-packed story with grand Russian technique.

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.

Photo © & courtesy of Rich Sofranko


Photo © & courtesy of Rich Sofranko


Photo © & courtesy of Rich Sofranko


Photo © & courtesy of Rich Sofranko


Photo © & courtesy of Rich Sofranko

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