With Impulse, Texture decides that less is more | Dance | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

With Impulse, Texture decides that less is more 

“First impressions and stereotypes can affect how your art is looked at.”

Texture Contemporary Ballet dancers perform in Impulse.

Photo courtesy of Mark Simpson Photography 

Texture Contemporary Ballet dancers perform in Impulse.

When it comes to programming, Texture Contemporary Ballet usually follows the adage “more is more.” More dances, more dancers, more music and longer works. But for the troupe’s latest venture, Impulse, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the New Hazlett Theater, company directors Alan Obuzor and Kelsey Bartman have embraced the idea that less is more. The program contains just three works and half the number of dancers usually featured — a departure from the company’s usual jam-packed, marathon productions.

But while the show’s not bulging at the seams, audiences can expect from Impulse the same artistry, emotional range and energy the company consistently delivers, beginning with Bartman’s 17-minute “Lapsed Mastery,” set to music by Black Violin. The ballet, says Bartman, expands on material she created this past February and is tied to Black Violin’s music both in its drive and in common misconceptions about the duo’s young, classically trained African-American violinists. “First impressions and stereotypes can affect how your art is looked at,” says Bartman. “I like that they [Black Violin] are very much trying to make people aware of that.”

Next, Bartman, Obuzor and company dancers Alexandra Tiso and Brynn Vogel collaborate on “Stories,” a 20-minute ballet for six dancers set to cover songs played and sung live by Bartman’s sister Krysta. The Bartman sisters came up with the idea and structure for the ballet that consists of a handful of love stories loosely tied together. Says Kelsey: “It was a challenging but kind of fun process. It was helpful that we’ve worked together for some time.”

Rounding out the program is the premiere of Bartman and Obuzor’s 35-minute ballet “Laurie Blue,” set to a suite of songs from singer-songwriter Adele’s three albums, including “Crazy For You,” “I’ll be Waiting” and “One and Only.” The ballet for eight dancers (including Bartman and Obuzor) takes its title from the singer’s full name, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, and its inspiration from her music. “For a couple of years, Kelsey [and I] have talked about the idea of choreographing a piece to Adele,” says Obuzor. “We let the music and her voice be the starting point for us to create.”



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