Point Park University’s dance department has a national reputation for turning out talented young dancers and choreographers. So it makes perfect sense that some graduates are asked back as instructors or choreographers for the student Conservatory Dance Company. The annual Point Park Connections program, at the university’s George Rowland White Performance Studio, features six choreographers with department connections, including four alumni.
The show, with four performances Dec. 11-13, features work by alumni including Daniel Karasik, artistic director of Morgantown Ballet Company, who will premiere his new contemporary ballet “Tides.” The 10-minute ballet for 11 dancers, set to music by Italian composer Ezio Bosso, “is about the internal emotional reminders we experience in our everyday life that our friends and colleagues never know about,” says Karasik.
In “Follow You Like a Shadow,” Shana Simmons, founder and director of Shana Simmons Dance Company, reworks her 2013 contemporary-dance piece for nine women. Set to music from the 2009 film thriller The International, the 10-minute work centers on the emotion of fear.
“Got Your Shoes On?” is something Jill Randolph Lazzini lovingly remembers her late father, Wayne, saying when he wanted her help. It is also the title of her new 11-minute jazz-dance piece that pays tribute to him. Says Lazzini, the work is danced to some of her father’s favorite tunes and incorporates some of his most memorable “moves.”
Rounding out the alumni offerings is Texture Contemporary Ballet company member Brynn Vogel’s new work “Unhinged.” Vogel says that the frenetic, 11-minute piece for 10 women, set to music by Philip Glass, was inspired by the everyday stresses we internalize and hide from others behind a façade of control.
Also on the program is former Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre soloist Ernest Tolentino’s “A Dream Is a Wish …,” a 13-minute work for nine dancers set to a mix of Broadway, jazz and classical music performed live. Completing the selections is choreographer Michelle Van Doeren’s reconstruction of her 2005 work “True North,” a 12-minute narrative piece about a tribe and its quest to find an eagle that represents the group’s tribal identity.