World-Premiere Dance Event Presented by Seton Hill University and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre May 7
Seton Hill University and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will present “Millennial Movement: 3 World Premiere Works by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Dancers” Saturday, May 7 at 7 p.m. in the Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center, 100 Harrison Avenue, Greensburg, Pa. Tickets are priced from $35 to $49 with $100 Premium Seats available. Premium Seats include a post-performance reception with PBT dancers. Tickets can be purchased at the Seton Hill Box Office by calling 724-552-2929 or visiting www.setonhill.edu/tickets.
“Millennial Movement” features the world premiere of three works choreographed by PBT Dancers Alejandro Diaz, William Moore and Cooper Verona. The May 7 dance event is part of a larger partnership between Seton Hill and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre that will bring PBT dancers into Seton Hill dance classrooms for master classes and studio workshops and also foster related community engagement programs and performances in the Greensburg area.
“Seton Hill is proud to partner with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre to bring this premier dance event to the University’s downtown Greensburg campus,” said Seton Hill President Mary C. Finger. “Millennial Movement will enhance the rich arts and cultural offerings Seton Hill provides in the City of Greensburg and will give our students the opportunity to learn more about their art from these talented professional dancers.”
“We are grateful to Seton Hill for this opportunity to perform for Greensburg audiences, and think it will be mutually inspiring for PBT dancers and Seton Hill students to connect in the studio,” said Harris Ferris, PBT executive director. “World premieres bring a new dimension to the theater experience, and we hope audiences will be moved by the creative energy of three emerging choreographers, who are all under age 30. They bring compelling perspectives on ballet, and for an artist, there is nothing more invigorating than originating new work and sharing it with an audience for the first time.”
Millennial Movement marks PBT’s seventh performance in Westmoreland County since launching an initiative in 2011 to establish a performance residency in the area and connect PBT artists with audiences throughout the region. Previous performances include George Balanchine’s “Serenade,” Twyla Tharp’s “Nine Sinatra Songs,” Antony Tudor’s “Jardin Aux Lilas,” excerpts from “Swan Lake” and a full-length presentation of Lew Christensen’s “Beauty and the Beast.”
In the weeks prior to the Millennial Movement performance, Seton Hill students and young dancers in the Greensburg community will benefit from a Residency and Master Class program brought to the University by PBT.
“We are thrilled that professional dancers of the caliber and talent of PBT will be on the Seton Hill campus working with our students to help them hone and refine their skills and give them a glimpse at what life is like working in a professional company,” said TaMara Swank, assistant professor of dance. “During the residency, students will learn parts of the three dances being performed during Millennial Movement, providing them with a tremendous opportunity to learn new and innovative choreography.”
About the Works in Millennial Movement:
Choreography: Alejandro Diaz | Music: Son Lux & Bach piano concertos | Pianist: Yoland Collin
Alejandro Diaz’s Physis/Remissio is a cathartic expression of a conflicted stage in his own life. Based on a personal story he wrote last summer, the dance explores the story’s underlying message without revealing its narrative. Illuminated by light or enveloped by fog, the dancers take on a surreal edge with the help of hand-crafted props designed by Diaz and fellow dancer Lucius Kirst. This work explores the concepts of chaos in nature and forgiveness, physis and remissio, and in his own words, “a duality that I think can be found within each of us.” Company Pianist Yoland Collin will provide live accompaniment.
About Alejandro Diaz
Alejandro Diaz is from Miami, Florida, received his early dance training with Tony Catanzaro and later trained at the Boston Ballet School. He danced with Boston Ballet II prior to joining PBT in 2008. With PBT, Diaz’s repertoire includes Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and Nine Sinatra Songs, Dwight Rhoden’s Chromatic and 7th Heaven and Mark Morris’ Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes. He also has performed featured roles as Prince Siegfried in PBT’s Swan Lake, Basilio in Don Quixote and the Cavalier and Snow King in The Nutcracker. This is Alejandro’s eighth season with PBT and his third as a soloist. Diaz has previously choreographed for annual performances of the Dancers' Trust, a nonprofit that supports dancers transitioning from ballet to the next stage of their careers.
Choreography: William Moore | Music: Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, John Adams
William Moore’s “Four Marks” took root from the idea of life’s passing relationships and the mark loves leave on a person’s psyche. A single male dancer partners with four women, some resurfacing like memories as the piece progresses. The movement charts the evolution or devolution of these symbolic couples – from the upbeat dancing of Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” to the fraying feelings of Elvis’ “Love Me Tender” and the fever pitch of Dylan’s “Ballad of Hollis Brown.” Moore curated this collection of classic rock songs for their emotional undertones – some which contrast with the dancing – and will feature costumes designed and hand-crafted by PBT Principal Dancer Amanda Cochrane.
About William Moore
William Moore of England joined PBT in 2013 from the Estonian National Ballet, where he danced professionally as a member of the corps de ballet. William graduated with honors from The Royal Ballet School in London, where he performed with The Royal Ballet company in productions, such as The Nutcracker, La Bayadère, Giselle, Firebird, Sylvia and Sleeping Beauty.” His repertoire also includes The Three Musketeers, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Coppèlia, La Sylphide, Before Night Falls, Romeo and Juliet, Jerome Robbins’ The Concert and Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort. He has previously choreographed on the pre-professional dancers of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School.
Choreography: Cooper Verona | Music: Arvo Pärt
Cooper Verona’s newest work springs from a metaphor: an ensemble of dancers moving in and out of our field of vision, just as people move in and out of our lives. This image, actually the work’s ending, served as a point of departure for his, as yet, untitled work for 12 barefoot dancers – a contemplative commentary on the journey of life. Although the music typically drives his choreographic process, Verona said that “for this piece, it’s really finding the space between the music and having the movement drive the music.”
About Cooper Verona
Cooper Verona is originally from Connecticut and joined PBT in 2011. He received his training from David Lawrence and Wendy Fish-Lawrence, Ethan Stiefel at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Claudio Muñoz and Andrew Murphy at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy. He has performed with Houston Ballet and Houston Ballet II on tour. His favorite roles with PBT include a Stomper in Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, the groom in Julia Adam’s Ketubah and Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker as well as dancing in Mark Morris’ Maelstrom and Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes. Verona has previously choreographed on the pre-professional dancers of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, for Point Park University student dancers, and for annual performances of The Dancers Trust, a nonprofit that supports dancers transitioning from ballet to the next stage of their careers.
About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
One of the most exciting ballet companies in the United States, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has built a legacy of excellence and innovation since its founding in 1969. Its eclectic style and irrepressible energy have been shaped by a series of distinguished artistic directors over four decades. In the 1980s, former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Patricia Wilde led the Company to new heights and national acclaim with an emphasis on virtuosic technique and works by the modern masters, including her mentor, George Balanchine. Since 1997, the company has flourished under the direction of Terrence S. Orr, former American Ballet Theatre ballet master and principal dancer. Mr. Orr has created a powerful repertoire, including fresh versions of traditional ballets, original works commissioned to contemporary American music and dramatic works that push the boundaries of ballet as an art form. Through more than 50 performances each year at home and on tour, PBT audiences discover the passion and joy of ballet.
*Photo above: PBT dancers William Moore, Cooper Verona and Alejandro Diaz choreographed the works in "Millennial Movement." Photo by Duane Rieder.