Staycee Pearl dances with strength and style | Pittsburgh City Paper

Staycee Pearl dances with strength and style

click to enlarge Staycee Pearl - PHOTO: KITOKO CHARGOIS
Photo: Kitoko Chargois
Staycee Pearl
Staycee Pearl is the co-artistic director of PearlArts Studios ( and STAYCEE PEARL dance project (, where she creates artful experiences through dance-centered multimedia works in collaboration with her husband and artistic collaborator, Herman Pearl.

Tell me what you’re wearing?
I’m wearing a green stretchy jumpsuit from FreePeople and an oversized pink V-neck tee also from Free People. I’m also wearing old school Adidas.

Is there something you wear every day or often that is a special gift to yourself? When and why did you get it? What does it mean to you?
Every day, I wear a variation of this outfit. This is the warmer weather version. When it’s cooler, I wear men’s sweats and hoodies. We have company sweats that match. It's become a uniform for the dancers and I. It has the name of the company on each leg. STAYCEE PEARL dance project and Soy Sos on one leg and PearlArts Studios on the other. The back of the hoodie has an illustration of Jessica Marino and PAS.

Is there something you wear every day or often that is a special gift from someone else? What does it mean to you?
I have a wedding ring that my mother-in-law gave me. She split the stones with me and my sister-and-law, so it’s a half of a baguette. I used to own a purple sweatshirt given to me by [Pittsburgh dancer and choreographer] Kyle Abraham. I'm not sure where that has gone. I wore it ALL THE TIME.

How does being a choreographer impact the way you dress?
I feel like I never wear real clothes any more. Now that I’m not dancing on stage myself, I can’t get away with any old sweats and dance clothes. I would change out of them after class or rehearsal to jeans, dresses, and tops. Now, I try to pick outfits like sweat suits that match or jumpsuits, and they can go from meeting to rehearsal to teaching class.

click to enlarge Staycee Pearl - PHOTO: KITOKO CHARGOIS
Photo: Kitoko Chargois
Staycee Pearl

How has COVID-19 changed the way you dress? I know you went from virtual to in-studio work over the past few months.
It hasn’t much. Just committed me more to the sweat suit thing. I don’t worry about matching tops and bottoms any more since no one ever sees me below the waist in Zoom.

What are you looking forward to this spring and summer? Are there new works coming out soon?
To wear? Dresses! But we will be performing live in front of people for the first time since COVID-19 in May on the 21st out at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater's stage at Flagstaff Park. We will be sharing the stage with our friends of Sidra Bell Dance New York. In the Fall, we’re planning our first indoor event. Kelly-Strayorn Theater and August Wilson Center for African American Culture will jointly present our world premiere of CIRCLES.

If you want to share, can you talk about your health journey and your recent public request for a kidney donor?
I’m feeling good and strong, hopeful, and a bit exposed as I most recently appealed to my friends and fam on social media to sign up for live kidney donorship. This is something I’ve never done before, as my first kidney transplant in 2001 came very fast. I waited on the national list for maybe nine months while on hemodialysis. This time the situation is a little different as my antibodies are high preventing such an easy match. But again, I’m hopeful and healthy and just got my COVID vaccination!

March is Kidney Month. For more information on Kidney Donation: UPMC Living Donor:; Kidney Fund:; and, National Kidney Foundation: