Pittsburgh Dance Council closes season with "groundbreaking" ballet performances | Dance | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh Dance Council closes season with "groundbreaking" ballet performances

click to enlarge "Woke" by Complexions Contemporary Ballet - PHOTO: JOSEPH FRANCIOSA
Photo: Joseph Franciosa
"Woke" by Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Dance companies in Pittsburgh and around the globe are looking at ways to bring ballet into the 21st century. The Pittsburgh Dance Council will introduce local audiences to one such innovator, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, described as transcending tradition in a "groundbreaking mix of styles ranging from ballet to hip hop."

Complexions, a New York-based company founded in 1994, will close out the Dance Council's latest season with "Bach 25" and "Woke." Taking place on Sat., May 7 at the Byham Theater, the performances are described in a press release as two contrasting pieces that showcase the company’s "dynamism."

Founded by Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden, former members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Complexions has been featured multiple times on the hit FOX competition show So You Think You Can Dance.

"Bach 25" will unfold as a "fast-paced, jubilant work celebrating the music of classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach," while the more modern "Woke" is a "sociopolitical work" set to a remix of music by newer music acts like rappers Kendrick Lamar, Logic, and Drake, DJ and producer Diplo, and more.
click to enlarge "Woke" by Complexions Contemporary Ballet - PHOTO: NINA WURTZEL
Photo: Nina Wurtzel
"Woke" by Complexions Contemporary Ballet
The show concludes the Dance Council's 51st season, which opened in November 2021 and featured artists whose performances were canceled due to the pandemic, as well as several new ones, including two U.S. premiere engagements.

Randal Miller, director of Dance Programming and Special Projects for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, promised that the season would feature "a diversity of artists to entertain, connect, challenge, and reframe the understanding of our community as it relates to the content of these works and dance as an art form." This included An Untitled Love by Pittsburgh native Kyle Abraham and Big Five-Oh! by Pilobolus, which was staged in April.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet presents "Bach 25" and "Woke." 8 p.m. Byham Theater. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $10-65. trustarts.org

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