Amanda Tarr & Company make Pittsburgh debut in ‘Retail’

Photo courtesy of Amanda Tarr.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Tarr.

By Steve Sucato

The ever-expanding Pittsburgh dance scene gets a little bigger on Sun., May 3, with the debut of Amanda Tarr & Company at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. The fledgling professional modern-dance troupe, made up of recent graduates of Slippery Rock University’s Department of Dance, will premiere the Tarr-choreographed Retail, set to R&B and rap tracks from Drake, Usher, Kanye West and others (contains adult language).

Tarr, a 24-year-old Lower Burrell native, says she was inspired to create the 50-minute non-narrative work by an event in her life that got her thinking about a journey of two souls and their time together. Eight female dancers will explore a range of emotions in abstract movement phrases that will allow the dancers to bring themselves to the work while leaving open a myriad of audience interpretations. That purposeful ambiguity extends to the work’s title. Retail, in this case, means “to recount or relate details (of a story or event) to others.”

ATCO's Ariel Stanton-Penkert.
ATCO’s Ariel Stanton-Penkert.

“This show is really unique from a dancer’s perspective,” says ATCO company member Rebecca Burcher. “[The choreography] is really like a puzzle. It’s very mathematical and complicated.”

Amanda Tarr & Company perform Retail, 5:30 p.m. Sun., May 3. Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. $15-20.

This article first appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper on April 29, 2015. Copyright Steve Sucato.

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