Local dance troupes and voguing battle highlight PrideFest Pittsburgh’s dance showcase

The Staycee Pearl Dance Project performs "Playground". Photo by Mark Simpson.
The Staycee Pearl Dance Project performs “Playground”. Photo by Mark Simpson.

By Steve Sucato

“Ladies with an attitude, fellows that were in the mood / Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it / Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.”

Madonna’s 1990 call to vogue lives at this year’s PrideFest Pittsburgh. The free June 15 street fair’s dance showcase on Liberty Avenue includes newcomers True T Entertainment’s voguing tribute to the 1990 LGBT-ballroom-scene documentary Paris Is Burning. The voguing performance (and battle) is one of seven acts in the three-hour showcase, again curated by Richard Parsakian and taking place on PrideFest’s two outdoor stages.

On the Sixth Street Stage, Texture Contemporary Ballet (1:45 p.m.) returns for the fourth time to PrideFest to perform three repertory works: “Cognitive Closure” (2014); Kelsey Bartman’s duet for her and Texture artistic director Alan Obuzor; and two works choreographed by Bartman and Obuzor: an excerpt of “Broken Flow” (2013), set to music by Cleveland rapper Kid Cudi, and the 2011 duet “Hollowed.”Staycee Pearl Dance Project (2 p.m.) presents a 12-minute excerpt from “Playground,” Pearl’s work-in-progress inspired by childhood memories. And The Pillow Project (4 p.m.) presents artistic director Pearl Ann Porter’s “In Neutral,” an improvised work featuring Porter and dancer Zëk Stewart exploring androgyny and gender neutrality.

Taylor Knight/Slowdanger. Photo by Corey Melton.
Taylor Knight/Slowdanger.
Photo by Corey Melton.

On the Tenth Street Stage, Taylor Knight/Slowdanger (3 p.m.) makes its PrideFest debut with the premiere of “memory 4: The Bird,” a 10-minute solo choreographed and performed by Knight that muses on the idea of growing into one’s wings. Reed Dance (3:15 p.m.) offers choreographer Levi Philip Marsman’s 2014 work “Bitter”; performed by James Barrett, the solo reflects on lost love. Dancer/choreographer Jasmine Hearn (3:30 p.m.) returns to premiere her 12-minute duet “favorite” with dancer Anna Thompson. Says Hearn: “The work uses dance, song, imagery and live music as tools for the artists to give consent to what pleases them.”

PrideFest is also the coming-out party of True T Entertainment‘s (4:45 p.m.) as a performance team, says artistic director Duane Binion. Danced to a music mix by Philadelphia’s D.J. Delish, the performance inspired by Paris Is Burning‘s theme of “finding a home” also honors The Wizard of Oz, with True T’s transgender and gay male performers costumed as characters from the movie.

Reed Dance's Rebekah Kuczma. Photo by Nate Powers.
Reed Dance’s Rebekah Kuczma. Photo by Nate Powers.

Pittsburgh Pridefest Dance Showcase, Liberty Avenue between Sixth and Tenth Streets, Downtown Pittsburgh. Sun., June 15, 1:45-4:45 p.m.

This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper June 11, 2014. Copyright Steve Sucato.


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