Annual ‘Dancers Trust’ Production Raising Creativity as well as Funds

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Yoshiaki Nakano - Photo by Duane Rieder.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Yoshiaki Nakano. Photo by Duane Rieder.

By Steve Sucato

Since 1993, the Dancers’ Trust Fund has helped retired Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre dancers transition to life after the stage.

Founded by former PBT dancer Ernest Tolentino and friends of PBT, the Fund offers tuition assistance and other services to a number of former dancers. The annual Dancers Trust production serves as its largest fundraiser. This year’s production, Sept. 12 and 13 at Point Park University’s George Rowland White Performance Studio, features the dancing and choreographic talents of several current PBT company members along with guest artists from Texture Contemporary Ballet and Point Park’s Conservatory Dance Company.

The eight works include an excerpt from Texture artistic director Alan Obuzor’s “Life, Love & Jazz”; the ballet classic “Diana and Actaeon Pas de Deux”; and Garfield Lemonius’ tour de force “Flight.” Also on the program are new ballets from PBT dancers Cooper Verona, Yoshiaki Nakano, Jessica McCann, Julia Erickson and Alejandro Diaz. And PBT dancers Diana Yohe and Corey Bourbonniere’s “If You Don’t Wanna Love Me” is set to music of the same name by English singer-songwriter James Morrison. Says Yohe: “We tell a story about the ups and downs in a relationship and how even through it all, we are drawn to each other.”

 (l-r) Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Luca Sbrizzi and Yoshiaki Nakano and Twyla Tharp dancer Nick Coppula. Photo by Duane Rieder.
(l-r) Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Luca Sbrizzi and Yoshiaki Nakano and Twyla Tharp dancer Nick Coppula. Photo by Duane Rieder.

Dancers Trust – 8 p.m. Sat., Sept. 12, and 2 p.m. Sun., Sept. 13. Point Park University’s George Rowland White Performance Studio, 201 Wood St., Downtown. $15-25. 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com

This article first appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper on September 9, 2015. Copyright Steve Sucato.