Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presents ‘The Master’s Program: Balanchine and Beyond’ –  April 14-16

Mixed Repertory Production with the PBT Orchestra Brings Stunning Works to the Benedum Center

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Artist David O’Matz; Photo Credit Duane Rieder

Three works from internationally acclaimed, award-winning ballet choreographers will take center stage at the Benedum Center April 14-16 with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s (PBT) The Master’s Program: Balanchine and Beyond. The mixed repertory program features works that showcase classical dancing with contemporary twists, heightened by live music from the PBT Orchestra. The program includes Tony Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon‘s moody and romantic Polyphonia, Jorma Elo‘s intricate 1st Flash, and the exquisite Theme and Variations from George Balanchine, the father of 20th-century ballet. 

“We are thrilled to present this magnificent and majestic trio of works from three master ballet choreographers,” said Adam W. McKinney, artistic director at PBT. “Audiences will marvel at the intricate choreography and amazingly versatile dance skills on display, performed to powerful music from the PBT Orchestra.”

The performance begins with Polyphonia, regarded as choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s breakthrough contemporary ballet. From dark to romantic to frenzied duets, Polyphonia features four brilliantly evocative movements. The ballet, set to eclectic piano music by György Ligeti, highlights the artists’ athleticism and contrasts contemporary and classical ballet elements.

(Wheeldon was the Tony nominated Director and Tony winning Choreographer of the Pittsburgh CLO’s An American in Paris on Broadway.)

Jorma Elo’s 1st Flash is a unique sensory experience for audiences. Dancers appear to move at the speed of light while articulating the collective body in perfect harmony. The energetically-paced piece showcases modern, avant-garde movements set to Jean Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D minor.

Audiences will delight in ballet legend George Balanchine’s beloved Theme and Variations. Balanchine wrote that this piece is intended “to evoke that great period in classical dancing when Russian ballet flourished with the aid of Tchaikovsky’s music.” A work robust with gilded grandeur, Theme, and Variations is set to the final movement of Tchaikovsky’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 and culminates in a full stage 26-artist polonaise.

Performances are at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh on Friday, April 14, 2023 – 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 15, 2023 – 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 16, 2023 – 2 p.m. Tickets  are available at pbt.org or 412-456-6666. 

Audience members will have the opportunity to meet Adam W. McKinney, PBT’s new artistic director, and join PBT online and at the theater for a series of pre-and post-show programs for The Master’s Program: Balanchine and Beyond

  • Meet & Greet with Adam W. McKinney, PBT’s new Artistic Director | Fri. April 14, Sat., April 15, and Sun., April 16 | During show intermissions and after each performance.
  • Director’s Cut  | Friday, April 14 | 6:30 p.m. | Répétiteurs Judy Fugate (Theme and Variations) and Michele Gifford (Polyphonia) join Artistic Director Adam W. McKinney to discuss the ballets. 
  • Artist Q & A | Saturday, April 15 | after the performance PBT dancers take your questions after the show. 
  • Curtain Up!  | Sunday, April 16 | 1 p.m. | Watch the last few minutes of company class on stage, and chat with Artistic Director Adam W. McKinney about the production. 
  • Audio-described Performance | Sunday, April 16 | 2 p.m. | Live narration of the performance for those with blindness, vision impairment, or anyone who’d like to listen! No registration is necessary.

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