Music takes center stage in the seventh season of Texture Contemporary Ballet, resounding soundJuly 20-23 at the New Hazlett Theater.
The three-act program features seven works performed by members of Texture Company and guest dancers from Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Quad Cities Ballet, Butler University and Point Park University.
Two major premieres will close the program, starting with “Simple Twist of Fate” by Texture’s associate artistic director, Kelsey Bartman, on a suite of nine songs by Bob Dylan, including “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, “Just Like a Woman” and “Mama, You’ve been on my mind.
“I wanted to do a ballet for [Dylan’s] music for about 10 years,” says Bartman. The work of six women (including Bartman) and six men is mostly a reaction to each song, but Bartman says that during the creative process, characters and movements specific to each dancer were developed. Sacramento, Calif. musicians Justin Edward Keim and Vincent Randazzo, who will perform the tunes live, will make their Pittsburgh debut.
Keim and Randazzo are pursuing graduate theater studies at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Keim, via email, says the duo’s collaboration with Texture was done remotely. According to Keim, “We are both looking forward to getting in there and performing with these beautiful dancers.”
The enticing environment of the program will include: a new pas de deux by Australian-born Point Park graduate Henry Steele; the solo “Song for Viola” by Alexandra Tiso, member of the Texture company; and covers of works from the repertoire of Bartman and Texture’s artistic director, Alan Obuzor.
resounding sound ends with Obuzor’s new 32-minute contemporary ballet work, “Tell Me It’s Not Too Late”. The ballet for 12 dancers including Obuzor, like Bartman’s overture, is above all a reaction to the music, but also a piece for which the dancers have developed their own characters and plots. It will be danced to music from the latest album by critically acclaimed Pittsburgh indie-rock band Meeting of Important People. Troika.
MOIP previously collaborated on an Obuzor ballet in 2013. Of this new project, for which the band will perform live, lead singer Josh Verbanets says, “We’ve found a much better groove since our last collaboration…which, I think, will really lend to the choreography.