Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Open Air: A Series in Celebration of the Performing Arts
Programs A and B
May 21 and 22, 2021
Flagstaff Hill at Schenley Park
As the hosts of the much-anticipated “Open Air: A Series in Celebration of the Performing Arts,” Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) gave audiences a heaping helping of the kind of repertory new artistic director Susan Jaffe will be bringing to the company going forward — a mix of ballet classics and those by some of today’s most intriguing choreographers, many of whom will be new to Pittsburgh audiences.
For the two-week Open Air festival featuring some 20 local arts groups (plus a few imports), PBT’s own offerings for the festival came in the form of two mostly different programs. Program A capped Open Air’s first day of performances, Thursday, May 21, and Program B, its second, Friday, May 22.
On their newly purchased and impressively large state-of-the-art portable outdoor stage, PBT kicked off Program A with an excerpt from the Act III “Jewels” section of Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty (1890). Danced to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s music for the ballet, a trio of women as fairies in sparkling tutus and tiaras opened the ballet with a flurry of classical dancing that was staged for them by company répétiteur Marianna Tcherkassky. Standing out was a brisk and bubbly solo by company soloist Tommie Lin Kesten whose radiant smile, precise footwork, and pointing arm gestures energized the audience.