CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pittsburgh Dance Council spotlights diverse styles in new season

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: After a year as the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s director of dance programming and special projects, Randal Miller’s vision for the position has stayed true to what it was on Day 1: make dance more accessible.

That’s his goal for the Pittsburgh Dance Council’s 2017-18 lineup, which opens earlier than usual with an outdoor, gravity-defying presentation by Blue Lapis Light during the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival in June. Action will resume in the fall with a few returning artists, including Pittsburgh’s Kyle Abraham, while the latter half of the season will feature dance troupes new to Pittsburgh.


Delaney Johnson said...

It is so inspiring to see the dance community embrace a wide variety of styles and techniques. So often, dance is thought of to just be classical ballet or street dancing. But, these two extremes are far from the reality of the dance community, and so many styles are forgotten or not supported because of their uniqueness. This theory is described as being a “psychological barrier” in the article, which could not be more true. There is nothing wrong with these techniques, but the human hive mind has created a stigma that only supports ballet. I am especially excited to see Pittsburgh include these marginalized style, such as the aerial artists from Austin, Texas that are the season openers this fall. Which brings up another good thing that the arts commission has done in this article. By bringing in dance companies from around the world, the commission has opened the world view of people in Pittsburgh.

Rebecca Meckler said...

It amazing that Randy Miller was fulfill his goal and take action to make dance more accessible. I see how some of these performance are picked because they are something that people might not feel intimidated seeing. For example, “The Quiet Dance” has music by Leonard Bernstein and ““Absent Matter” has music by Common, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar, which make the pieces less intimidating the a ballet performance. Also, “Passenger” and “Cubicle” have names that sound relatable. Also, having a talk-back before the show sounds like a wonderful idea. Talking before the show allows the audience members to know what to look for and what makes the performance unique before. Also, this will make people feel welcomed and included, in addition to giving them a lense to see the show through. Hopefully Millers initiatives will encourage more people to see dance performances and get people to that dance is cool.

Vanessa Ramon said...

The idea that Randal Miller has to make dance more accessible by show how broad it can be I think is really admirable. It is clear that many people see how dance can be a very educational and moving art form but not everyone is willing to stick it out and continue to see shows. I remember my mom took me and my friends to see the nutcracker when we were quite young. I remember liking it but despite that, I never went to see another dance performance. Maybe this is because you can only see the Nutcracker so many times and my family wasn't willing to invest in trying to understand the art form. I think the idea to illustrate how diverse this art style can be and how everyone can find their liking in a piece of dance is a great way to expose people to the art.

Emma Reichard said...

This line up of dancers seems exciting and very very diverse. There’s everything from classical ballet to aerial stunting to Indian dance to Afro-Brazilian movement. I’m glad that the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is embracing diversity and showcasing it. I feel like the world of dance has been very exclusive for a long time. The fact that we hold ballet as the pinnacle of dance is evidence of that. But dance style and disciplined techniques developed all over the world, and are all just as valid and entertaining. It’s important that the dance portion of the entertainment industry be more diverse in the representation. I’m very excited to see how this season in Pittsburgh plays out. I hope this isn’t just a one year thing, but that the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust continues to pick just as diverse seasons in years to come. Because we have to stop considering diversity a ‘special event’ and make it a part of our everyday.