In its third year, the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater's newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival is branching out. In addition to the usual mix of local artists and guests from Philadelphia and New York, artists from Seattle and North Carolina join this year's festival, to be held May 12-15 at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater.
The 2011 edition also promises audiences more bang for their buck, says Kelly-Strayhorn executive director and festival director Janera Solomon.
"We've programmed some longer works this year to make the evenings full, and for the first time we have added a full-length work to the mix, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko's An American Chameleon," says Solomon.
The four-day festival, featuring primarily new short-form works from 14 choreographers, also serves to introduce Pittsburgh audiences to some of the choreographers and artists who will be part of the Kelly-Strayhorn's upcoming dance seasons.
Perhaps the most notable such artist is dancer/choreographer Troy Ogilvie, who appeared in the first newMoves Festival, in 2009, as a member of Sidra Bell Dance New York, and again the following season in Bell's evening-length work Revue. The talented Ms. Ogilvie, who has recently been the subject of several national dance-magazine articles, will perform an 8½-minute solo adapted from choreographer Andrea Miller's "Snow" on May 14. The solo, set to music from Tony Gatlif's movie soundtrack Exils, was inspired in part by Turkish author Orhan Pamuk's novel Snow, about the political and cultural tensions in contemporary Turkey.
"It's about being brave, but also being broken and letting the world see you broken," says Ogilvie.
The festival has four distinct performance programs, one each day:
Program A (May 12) features "Be Right Back," by Pittsburgh's Katie Rose McLaughlin, a piece reflecting on what happens when nostalgia meets our modern-day barometer of what's right and wrong. Also on the program is a new work-in-progress by former Dance Alloy dancer Andre Koslowski (State College); "Backlit in a Whole New D," an experimental work by Pillow Project artistic director/choreographer Pearlann Porter (Pittsburgh) exploring playing the body as the instrument; and Mana Kawamura's (New York) contemplative duet "Quiet Room."
Program B (May 13) features festival newcomers Greensboro, N.C.'s Cara Hagan in "A Question of How?," a solo that ponders existential themes, and Keila Cordova's (Philadelphia) "We Want Something From Everyone," which examines the invisible line between audience and performer. Four dancers from Cordova's company Keila Cordova Dances will be joined by local amateur dancers. Completing Program B are works by festival veterans Kate Watson-Wallace (Philadelphia), with her latest solo, "You Sprinkled Fairy Dust on My Head and Flew to Paradise/or The Heartbreak Dance" (which contains nudity); Kaylin Horgan's (Pittsburgh) conceptual work "A Forgotten Song," about an instrument that falls in love with a musician; an excerpt from Staycee Pearl's (Pittsburgh) new work "Octavia," exploring the life and work of science-fiction writer Octavia Butler; and an untitled work by Pittsburgh duo Jamie Murphy and Renee Danielle Smith.
Program C (May 14) includes the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble in Kyle Abraham's "Function" and a work-in-progress from Attack Theatre (tentatively titled "Reversal") that Attack's Michele de la Reza describes as "an off-balanced duet that deals with the re-direction of momentum during a fall." Rounding out Program C are Ogilvie's aforementioned solo, "Snow"; excerpts from former Pittsburgher Nicole Lobuzzetta's (Seattle) "Under This Roof," set to live folk music, which investigates the memories, emotions and relationships associated with rooms in a house; and Niki Cousineau's (Philadelphia) latest solo, "SEED."
Also on May 14, the festival's alternate site, Lawrenceville's Grey Box Theatre, hosts two showings (4 p.m. and 9 p.m.) of the Philadelphia-based Jaamil Olawale Kosoko's An American Chameleon, a 40-minute autobiographical multimedia dance-theater work. Scheduled at Grey Box for 9 p.m. only that night is a new solo work by New York's Luke Murphy.
The festival concludes May 15 with YouthMoves, a family-friendly program at the Kelly-Strayhorn featuring locals Hope Academy, Evolve Productions, Alumni Theater Company and more.
NEWMOVES CONTEMPORARY DANCE FESTIVAL Mainstage performances: 7 p.m. nightly Thu., May 12-Sat., May 14, and 2 p.m. Sun., May 15. Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. Also: An American Chameleon. 4 and 9 p.m. Sat., May 14 (Grey Box Theatre, 3595 Butler St., Lawrenceville). $5-20 (festival passes: $45). 412-363-3000 or www.kelly-strayhorn.org