Randal Miller, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s new director of dance programming and special events, learned the ropes largely under Paul Organisak, who resigned in August after 12 years as the Trust’s vice president for programming.
Organisak left big shoes to fill. He programmed the Pittsburgh Dance Council and the Trust’s Broadway and Cabaret series, and organized special events like the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts (which in 2013 brought that giant floating rubber duck to town) and last year’s India in Focus festival.
Miller, 33, is an Eastern Pennsylvania native who served under Organisak for five years while completing his master’s in arts-management at Carnegie Mellon University. He has worked at New York City’s Joyce Theater, and is something of a renaissance man who break-dances and designs and makes his own dress shoes.
While others at the Trust are now running the Broadway series, Miller will program the Dance Council and the Cabaret series, and add some duties Organisak didn’t have. These include overseeing Multiple Choice, a brand-new eclectic performance series aimed at twenty- and thirtysomethings that opens Aug. 11 with a concert by hip-hop pioneers EPMD.
In programming the Dance Council — Pittsburgh’s premier presenter of internationally touring troupes — Miller says he’ll continue to uphold Organisak’s principles of “quality, diversity and balance.” But he also intends to push the boundaries of the Trust’s dance programming.
“You want to bring people what they want to see, but also what they should be seeing, so that Pittsburgh continues to grow its horizons,” he says.
However, Miller acknowledges that familiar names dominate the Dance Council’s 47th season, his first as executive director.
Martha Graham Dance Company opens the season Oct. 1 at the Byham Theater, performing both classic Graham repertory and newer works. On Oct. 21 and 22, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company returns to Pittsburgh with Jones’ Analogy/Dore: Tramontane. Pilobolus brings its critically acclaimed Shadowland (Feb. 10 and 11), combining shadow-theater, circus and the company’s signature sculptural dance style. A harbinger of Miller’s forward thinking is Korean contemporary dance troupe Bereishit Dance Company (March 4). Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem unite for a mixed-repertory program (March 24 and 25). The season concludes April 22 with Canada’s BJM Danse.
In other news, to increase accessibility, Miller is instituting a new $10 ticket, 50 of which will be available at orchestra level for each show at the Byham.