Steve Sucato on Pittsburgh dance: Expect energized 2018-19 season from Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company | Dance | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Steve Sucato on Pittsburgh dance: Expect energized 2018-19 season from Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company

A choreographic bounty celebrates opening of new Pittsburgh Playhouse

click to enlarge Dancer Callie Hector - KATIE GING
Katie Ging
Dancer Callie Hector

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





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