Hartwood Acres

August 16

5 p.m.

The stars will be on the stage and in the sky this Sunday at tranquil Hartwood Acres. Marking a 15-year tradition for the company—and a cherished summertime family outing—the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) will present its free Ballet Under the Stars event at Hartwood’s Middle Road Concert Area.

La Bayadère, photo by Rich Sofranko.

La Bayadère, photo by Rich Sofranko.

Enjoy an al fresco picnics and family fun as the PBT ushers in its newest season of ballet.

This year’s mixed repertory program features the debut of original work choreographed by Yoshiaki Nakano and set to masterwork music by Mozart. A principal dancer with the PBT and a six-year company member, Nakano has choreographed for pre-professional students at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and for the Dancers Trust.

The enchanting evening will also feature a reprise of Mark Morris’ “Sandpaper Ballet,” which premiered in 1999 at San Francisco Ballet. The whimsical ensemble ballet is set to cheerful tunes such as “Sleigh Ride,” “The Typewriter” and nine additional 1940s and 1950s classics written by American composer LeRoy Anderson. Audiences are sure to be enthralled by the work’s 25 dancers who will all be costumed in electric green and bright blue-sky jumpsuits.

Also showcased will be scenes from the iconic classic, “La Bayadère”—a celebrated work by French choreographer Marius Petipa and composer Ludwig Minkus which was first performed in 1877 by the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia. PBT will reprise the virtuosic “Pas d’action” and the “Golden Idol” solo from this timeless story ballet which closed PBT’s 45th anniversary season in April. During the sweeping show, audiences will experience high-caliber classical techniques from some of the ballet’s leading characters, including the warrior Solor, the Radjah’s daughter, Gamzatti and the mysterious Golden Idol.

Photo by Kelly Perkovich.

Photo by Kelly Perkovich.

Part of the Allegheny County Summer Concert series, Ballet Under the Stars will also provide audiences with a first look at the company’s 46th season—including appearance by new dancers Jessica McCann, Emily Simpson and Kurtis Sprowls—before the PBT’s main stage season officially opens to the public in October.

It all kicks off at 5 p.m. with free family activities and a VIP dinner with the dancers.

From 5 to 7 p.m., families can participate in hands-on craft projects, balloon animal making, photo opportunities and ballerina dress-up and dance activities on the lawn. Families can also grab dinner at the event’s food trucks including BRGR, Randita’s and The Pop Stop.

Want to go behind-the-scenes with PBT dancers and artistic staff? A pre-show barbecue under the PBT tent will feature dinner, drinks and musical entertainment, with proceeds benefiting the company’s repertory, student scholarships and education programs. Tickets to the VIP dinner are $75 for adults and $20 for children (12+).

The free performance starts at 7:30 p.m.