By Steve Sucato
You could say the title of Texture Contemporary Ballet’s latest program, Synergy, also names what has made the three-year-old troupe a success. The combined efforts of artistic director Alan Obuzor, associate artistic director Kelsey Bartman and an array of energetic dancers and choreographers have consistently produced programs whose total effect has exceeded the sum of their individual contributions.
This Sept. 26-28 program, mixing new and existing works, will also be the company’s first mainstage appearance at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. And as usual for Texture, it will be a jam-packed showcase, with nine ballets by five different choreographers.
Choreographed in 2010 for a Dancers Trust program, former Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Erin Halloran and Obuzor’s pas de deux “I Know,” with music by Fiona Apple, will be a company premiere. So will Bartman’s “Cognitive Closure,” a duet she created for herself and Obuzor for No Name Players’ SWAN Day, this past March. Set to music by Max Richter, the duet begins with a contemplative solo by Bartman; Obuzor interrupts and then begins influencing her inner world.
“Broken Swan,” recent Point Park University grad Oscar Carillo’s second work for Texture, is a take on Swan Lake‘s famous “Dance of the Little Swans.” The eight-minute quartet asks what would happen if the normally cheerful, bonded and in-unison cygnets were suddenly separated and in pain?
Company dancer Alexandra Tiso offers two ballets. “These Pips Are No Dead Hoofers” is a lighthearted and jazzy piece for six dancers, set to the music of Duke Ellington. The premiere of her fourth work for the company, “Efficacy,” finds its inspiration “in a person’s energy being affected by the energy of others,” says Tiso.
Bartman adds two more. “Writing on the Wall,” created this past July, is set to music by composer Bryan McMasters. And the premiere of “Une journée dans la vie,” a 12-minute ballet for the full company of 11, is set to music by Ravel. Bartman describes it as “something classical for our very classically trained dancers.”
Rounding things out is the premiere of Obuzor’s “Unchanging Change.” The 15-minute ballet in three sections, set to music by rapper Macklemore and composer Richter, and a poem by Andrea Gibson, explores individualism within a society.
Texture Contemporary Ballet performs Synergy 8 p.m. Fri., Sept. 26; 8 p.m. Sat., Sept. 27; and 3 p.m. Sun., Sept. 28. Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. $20-25. 412-363-3000 or kelly-strayhorn.org.
This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper September 24, 2014. Copyright Steve Sucato.