Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre: ‘Season Premiere’ [REVIEW]

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Benedum Center
Pittsburgh, PA

October 23, 2021
Season Premiere Program: PetalGrand Pas ClassiqueThrough the Window (world premiere), Diamonds

Steve Sucato

To kick off its 2021-22 dance season and the return to in-theater performances, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presented the mixed repertory production Season Premiere with the PBT Orchestra. It was the first offering in artistic director Susan Jaffe’s inaugural season of programming (postponed by the pandemic) and made good on Jaffe’s stated commitment to present more ballet works by female choreographers.

The October 23 program hit the ground running with award-winning choreographer Helen Pickett’s zippy 2008 ballet, Petal. Four men and four women performed the work to recorded music by Philip Glass and Thomas Montgomery Newman on a stage awash in buttercup yellow light, with PBT soloist Diana Yohe, also costumed in yellow, performing on pointe in a short solo to Pickett’s contemporary ballet choreography that was heavy on outstretched limbs and elongated lines. She soon was joined by the rest of the women in the cast similarly costumed in yellow leotards, and the ballet’s men, bare-chested and in long teal pants. The dancers took a relaxed approach in executing Pickett’s choreography, casually walking about the stage and then spontaneously leaning into one another to initiate intricate movement phrases. Pickett had the dancers in a myriad of solos and pairings throughout the ballet, including an early playful and dreamy pas de deux performed by corps member Grace Rookstool who flirtingly played “catch me if you can” with soloist Corey Bourbonniere.

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