Lucky for me, Pittsburgh was able to give me one more iteration of Beauty and the Beast, with a ballet of the same name now playing at the Benedum Center. Running through Sun., Feb. 23, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's production was a perfect introduction for the layperson looking to explore dance performances. The story is familiar enough to easily follow along, and it gives enough room to let the dancers shine and wow the audience with their precision. Also, at just over 90 minutes including intermission, it’s easy for young viewers to stay engaged.
Friday night’s performance was led by Alexandra Kochis as Beauty. She was light as air on her feet and fluttered like a butterfly across the stage. Kochis succeeded in conveying the elegance, innocence, and compassion of the Beauty character.
Beast, played by Alejandro Diaz, was blustery and powerful in the beginning of the performance, stomping his feet loudly while traversing the stage. Only later, did he let his softer side show, when falling in love with Beauty.
My only complaint was it was a bit unclear whether the ending was occurring (a reminder of my time seeing Return of the King in the movie theater), but that extended ending gave each of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre dancers an opportunity to shine.
And shine they did. If you are skeptical of whether ballet is too highbrow, Beauty and the Beast is a great introduction, one that doesn't compromise on elegance, music, and splendor.
Tickets can be purchased on The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s website. Three shows remain: Tonight at 8 p.m., Sun. Feb. 23 at noon, and a sensory-friendly show on Sun. Feb. 23 at 4:30 p.m.