PrideFest features a free Pittsburgh dance showcase. | Theater | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

PrideFest features a free Pittsburgh dance showcase.

It's the latest show curated by local dance super-fan Richard Parsakian.

Texture Contemporary Ballet dancer Ashley Wegmann.
Texture Contemporary Ballet dancer Ashley Wegmann.

There are casual dance fans, and there are those who buy season subscriptions. And then there are superfans like Richard Parsakian, whose love of dance counts as an obsession. 

Parsakian has been a fixture on the Pittsburgh dance scene since the early 1970s, attending seemingly every professional dance performance the city has offered over the past 40 years.

The 63-year-old former architect, who owns Shadyside vintage-clothing store Eons Fashion Boutique, was never a dancer himself. But he says he's had an affinity for the art form since an early age.

"Growing up, I used to watch music," says Parsakian. "Like a choreographer, I would imagine movement from the music, which led to my interest in dance."  

Parsakian's interest has led him to dabble in set and costume design for local companies, and to curate a number of dance shows, including those at Pittsburgh PrideFest. 

For this year's PrideFest, held Downtown, Parsakian has assembled a program he calls 100 Minutes of Pittsburgh Dance. It features seven area troupes and solo artists.

The family-friendly program will take place in two halves. Part one is on the festival's Sixth Street stage, while part two (after an hour intermission) takes place on the 10th  Street stage. (Limited seating is available; Parsakian suggests bringing your own chair.)

The program includes: members of the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble performing an excerpt from Kim Y. Bears-Bailey's "Relations"; dancer/choreographer Jasmine Hearn performing a contemporary solo that she says continues themes explored in "if god left the lights on could we walk alone at night," a work she premiered at May's newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival; and Texture Contemporary Ballet, which will perform two works.

Additionally, The Pillow Project will present a new work in its postmodern-jazz style, danced to music by the Beastie Boys. Fusion belly-dance troupe Hot Metal Muses will perform a 15-minute set that founding member Patrice Langford describes as "a mix of old-school and new-school flavor" — traditional Middle Eastern dance forms mixed with new music and dance elements.

Rounding out the program are flamenco dancer Carolina Loyola-Garcia and daredevil dance troupe kNOTDance.

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