Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève opens North American Tour with Pittsburgh Debut

Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève in Andonis Foniadakis' "Glory". Photo by Gregory Batardon.
Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève in Andonis Foniadakis’ “Glory”. Photo by Gregory Batardon.

By Steve Sucato

Swiss contemporary ballet company Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève opens its five-city North American tour with its Pittsburgh debut Sat., March 8 at the Byham Theater. Presented by the Pittsburgh Dance Council, the acclaimed 52-year-old company is known for its inventiveness, world-class repertory and virtuosic dancers. Moreover, artistic director Philippe Cohen tells CP via email, “the ballet artists from Genève Ballet are men and women whose sole ambition is to convey emotions to the public.”

For its Pittsburgh program, the company will perform two ballets by rising choreographic stars Andonis Foniadakis and Ken Ossola. In Foniadakis’ 2012 ballet “Glory,” set to a rousing score by Handel including his “Dixit Dominus, Coro: Gloria Patri,” the choreographer takes full advantage of Genève Ballet’s dancers’ skills, says Cohen: “The ballet is a whirlwind for the eyes and ears which results in the dancers in a form of trance, magnified by the power of the baroque composer.”


Danced to Fauré’s “Requiem,” which the composer described as “a lullaby of death,” Ossola’s 2010 ballet “Sed Lux Permanet” features a large ornate set piece that is representative of a lamp from a religious temple. The 35-minute ballet’s lush choreography combined with Fauré’s music, says Cohen, “maintains an optimistic notion” of our journey to an unavoidable end. 

Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève performs 8 p.m. Sat., March 8. Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $19-55. 412-456-6666 or

This article first appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper March 5, 2014. Copyright Steve Sucato.

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