August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble Makes National List

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The still-fledgling company continued its march to the big time this week when it earned one of the coveted spots in Dance Magazine's annual "25 to Watch" list. 

The magazine's Karen Dacko praised the company's "quicksilver agility, fierce athleticism, finely honed Horton technique [an approach popularized by modern-dance pioneer Lester Horton], and innate theatricality." 

Dacko also cited artistic director Greer Reed's artistic vision, a fellowship grant from the Center, and Reed's experience as a company member at prestigious outfits like Ailey II and Dayton Contemporary Dance.

Reed was quoted emphasizing the importance of Pittsburgh having a company rooted in the African-American dance tradition.

Pittsburgh talent is no stranger to this Dance Mag list: 2009 honorees, for instance, included Point Park faculty member Kiesha Lalama-White and Pittsburgh native Kyle Abraham — both of whom choreographed for AWCDE in 2011.

But it's still a nice shout-out: AWCDE was one of only two companies included on the list, the other being Portland, Oregon's tEEth. The list consisted mostly of individual dancers from the likes of the New York City Ballet, the Miami City Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

AWCDE isn't brand-new, having performed as a unit since 2010. But it's still all but the youngest company in town. Here's my blog post recapping the troupe's exciting debut as a professional company, a year ago this month:. 

AWCDE went on to big things out of town, too, with a performance at Manhattan's SummerStage 2011.

AWCDE's next performance is coming right up: Jan. 21's Suite Bill, a tribute to the music of the man who wrote "Lean on Me" and "Ain't No Sunshine." You might want to hurry to get tickets, though — the show's in the troupe's studio rather than the larger Wilson Center theater, and only 100 tickets will be sold.

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