Neoclassical ballet

Pittsburgh Ballet plans ‘Open Air’ series, free performance of Hartwood Acres

Pittsburgh Ballet Theater “Open Air: a series in celebration of the performing arts” returns for the second year with performances June 9-12, at a new location on the Allegheny River along 19th Street in Sharpsburg.

The company will also organize its annual congress “Ballet Under the Stars” a free performance scheduled for June 26 at the Middle Road Concert Area in Hartwood Acre, Hampton and Indiana Townships.

“Open Air” will feature performances from PBT, as well as local performing arts organizations.

PBT Company’s performance schedule, subject to change, will include pieces created for the company by top choreographers from across the country, said PBT Executive Director Harris Ferris.

The company will also dance excerpts from “Swan Lake,” choreographed by outgoing artistic director Susan Jaffe, which PBT debuted in May.

New to this year’s program is “Open Air: Shared Spaces,” a showcase of prominent dance studios and regional artists, including students from Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School performing the pas de trois from “Swan Lake.”

The schedule of performances is as follows:

• June 9: Pittsburgh Opera Festival, 4:30 p.m.; Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Company, 8 p.m.

• June 10: “Open Air: Shared Spaces”, 3 p.m.; Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Company, 8 p.m.

• June 11: Attack Theater, 1:30 p.m.; Shana Simmons Dance, Jamie Erin Murphy and Naina Roy Kathak, 3 p.m.; Contemporary Ballet Texture, 4:30 p.m.; Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Company, 8 p.m.

• June 12: Ballet Confluence, noon.

“Open Air” debuted last year with performances on a moving stage at Flagstaff Hill in Oakland.

The inaugural series was “well received by the public – in fact, it was greeted with jubilation not only by the public but by the other artistic groups who had the chance to perform on stage”, said Ferris. “We had over 10,000 people in attendance, sparking everyone’s desire to get out and see live performing arts from the safety of an open-air setting.”

Performing outside of the cultural district makes ballet accessible to more people, Ferris said.

“With our mobile stage, we’re kind of like a pop-up performing arts center,” he said. “Our mission is, of course, to inspire audiences with our art form and expand access to the arts; so it’s a perfect vehicle to do both of those things.

“We have such great summer weather, it’s nice to be able to enjoy it.”

General admission places will be limited; tickets are $20 for PBT Company performances. For more information on all shows, parking and ticketing for other shows, visit pbt.org/openair.

“Open Air” is supported by The Mosites Co., the Gaming and Economic Development Tourism Fund and Allegheny Regional Asset District. The purchase of the mobile stage was supported by the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust, the Jack Buncher Foundation and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

Courtesy of Kelly Perkovitch

Pittsburgh Ballet Theater will perform Ballet Under the Stars on June 26 at Hartwood Acres in Hampton and Indiana Townships.

“Ballet Under the Stars”

“Ballet Under the Stars” kicks off at 8 p.m. on June 26, featuring young performers from 25 states and Canada who will audition to participate in PBT School’s Company Experience, a two-week intensive summer workshop.

“We like to call them the rising stars of tomorrow,” said school principal Marjorie Grundvig. “It’s a very elite group, aged 16 to 22, on the verge of becoming professional dancers.

“They could be dancing on stage in New York this time next year.”

The evening will feature classical, neoclassical and contemporary works from the company’s repertoire, as well as a world premiere by renowned choreographers Alexander Brady and Rika Okamoto. PBT Company dancers Diana Yohe and Joseph Parr will perform the pas de deux “Don Quixote” as the centerpiece of the evening.

Attendees can enjoy free crafts and dance activities for kids, photo ops with costumed dancers, face painting and more. Customers can bring a picnic or buy items from food trucks.

PBT will be hosting a picnic in the park from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Guests can join PBT’s dancers and artistic chefs in a VIP tent for an aperitif and pre-show dinner at Sprezzatura Catering + Cafe in Millvale .

Picnic tickets at $75 or $20 for children are available at 412-454-9127 or pbt.org.

No pre-registration is required for the free show and children’s activities.

Shirley McMarlin is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .