Texture Contemporary Ballet closes its season with a program of new works | Dance + Live Performance | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Texture Contemporary Ballet closes its season with a program of new works

“I was enthralled by the grandness and fullness of their music.”

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Texture Contemporary Ballet closes its home season with Velocity, a program of new ballets by company members, March 17-19 at the New Hazlett Theater.

Per usual, the production includes premieres by artistic director Alan Obuzor and associate artistic director Kelsey Bartman, beginning with Bartman’s “When a Fairytale Ends.” Set to music by Ludovico Einaudi, Dustin O’Halloran and others, the 22-minute ballet honors Bartman’s late grandmother. “It’s inspired by both who she was and touches on how my family coped with her loss,” says Bartman.

Also from Bartman is the new eight-minute solo “Is it so?” for dancer Brynn Vogel, set to music by Bon Iver. The ballet’s character is an amalgamation of the female half of several romantic couples from Bartman’s past works, revisiting her following the couple’s breakup.

Obuzor’s “Together We Stand Before the Fall to Higher Ground,” set to music by Two Steps From Hell, continues his penchant for letting music drive his creativity. Says Obuzor of the 22-minute ballet: “I was enthralled by the grandness and fullness of their music. I used this as inspiration to create a fast-paced athletic piece that pushes the dancers to match its intensity and energy.”

Former Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre trainee Alexandra Tiso brings some levity to the program with her new 20-minute ballet, “Cloudy With a Chance of Splash.” Danced to music by Leroy Anderson, Jacques Offenbach and others, the ballet in five parts for six dancers in rain boots with umbrellas is “silly, fun and will hopefully leave the audience feeling good,” says Tiso.

For her first time choreographing for a Texture mainstage program, Point Park graduate Vogel turned to her own life for inspiration. The fifth-year company member’s “Whelm” is a 13-minute sock ballet (that is, a ballet danced in socks) about how people acclimate to new settings by taking on characteristics of those around them and vice versa. Performed to music by Jóhann Jóhannsson and Ôlafur Arnalds, the ballet follows a central character who becomes entrenched in the ways and personalities of a new group she has joined and finds it hard to break free from the group to pursue other dreams.

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