Garfield Lemonius has pulled out all the stops for his first full season of programming works for Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company. The 2018-19 campaign is a stellar repertory mix that includes works by choreography giants Nacho Duato and Christopher Wheeldon, as well as Pittsburgh-native Kyle Abraham.
“For this news season, we wanted to bring in a little bit of the old, a little bit of the new, and a little bit of the future,” says Lemonius, the Conservatory Dance Company’s new chair.
The choreographic bounty celebrates Point Park’s new, $60-million Pittsburgh Playhouse. “Winter Dance Concert” is the debut production at the 560-seat PNC Theatre. It runs December 7-16.
Born in Jamaica, raised in Toronto, and a former principal dancer with Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Lemonius’ repertory aesthetics will stamp the upcoming season. Still, department faculty and dance students were involved in his decisions. “I find I am more of a facilitator,” says Lemonius. “That is what works for me and my leadership style.”
The new season from Conservatory Dance Company would make many professional dance companies envious. A brief look:
- The annual Contemporary Choreographers program opens the season and runs October 11-18 at George Rowland White Performance Studio. Included is a re-staging of “Rendezvous,” by Christopher Huggins, and “Into the Light,” from Complexions Contemporary Ballet resident Jae Man Joo. Premieres from faculty member Mark Burrell and award-winning Peter Chu are also scheduled.
- Dancers take turns choreographing each other in a couple of showcases: “Student Choreography Project I,” November 16-18, and “Student Choreography Project II,” April 5-7, 2019 — each at the GRW Performance Studio.
- “Winter Dance Concert” is this season’s jewel, as it will feature Nacho Duato’s “Las Palmeras” set to music with Spanish, Moorish, and North African influences; BalletMet artistic director Edwaard Liang’s virtuosic “The Art of War,” inspired by calligraphy; and Aszure Barton’s “Happy Little Things.” Also, Tyce Diorio of So You Think You Can Dance will rework his group jazz number from the television show with a Charlie Chaplin theme.
- Faculty members will display their considerable talents in the annual “Faculty Dance Concert,” February 21-24 at the GRW Performance Studio.
- "Spring Dance Concert” will conclude the Conservatory Dance Company’s season with a program featuring Christopher Wheeldon’s “The American” danced to music by Dvořák, Kyle Abraham’s emotionally intense “Drive” to music by Theo Parrish, and two works from alumni — visiting guest artist Kiki Lucas’ “The Vessel,” and Henry Steele performing David Parsons’ iconic solo work “Caught.”
Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company 2018-19 Season
Oct. 2018 - April 2019
Thu-Sat $10-24 (individual), $74-84 (subscription)
Various venues, Downtown. pittsburghplayhouse.com