Hartwood Acres

August 17
5 – 9:30 p.m.

Combine the great outdoors with classical ballet this Sunday at tranquil Hartwood Acres.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) kicks off its 45th anniversary season with Ballet Under the Stars, a special free and family-friendly event that continues a 29-year tradition for the company. The open air performance and picnic begins at 5 p.m. with free family activities, continues with a ticketed pre-show picnic dinner and then is followed by the main ballet performance at 7:30 p.m.

Part of the 2014 Allegheny County Summer Concert Series, PBT invites the community to gather their families, lawn chairs and blankets, and enjoy a summer evening of classical and contemporary choreography at the Hartwood Acres Middle Road Concert Area. Audiences will enjoy a first look at PBT’s 2014-2015 company roster before the company opens its 45th Anniversary season in October.

Prior to the performance, PBT will offer free, family-friendly fun, including photo opportunities with costumed dancer, craft projects and dance activities on the lawn. The BRGR food truck and homemade popsicle stand, Pop Stop, will be on-site for families to enjoy fare before the performance.

The event continues with a pre-show savory summer barbecue under the PBT tent. Guests are invited to enjoy dinner, musical entertainment by Gary Racan and the Studio-E Band and cocktails with PBT company dancers and artistic team. Tickets are $75 for adults and $20 for children.

The Ballet Under the Stars performance will feature a sneak peek of PBT’s season opener, The Sleeping Beauty, with the Act III wedding pas de deux of Princess Aurora and the Prince, who awakens her from an enchanted slumber. Choreographed by Marius Petipa—who is widely considered to be the “father of classical ballet”—The Sleeping Beauty epitomizes grand classical ballet and is set to a famed Tchaikovsky score.

Sunday’s program will also feature scenes from the first and third acts of the iconic ballet with bravura dancing, Don Quixote, which closed PBT’s 2013-2014 season in April. Inspired by Cervantes’ literary masterpiece, Don Quixote boasts complex choreography, balletic bravado and virtuoso variations. Set to one of Ludwig Minkus’ most masterful ballet scores, the production’s charismatic characters and tour de force dancing add vibrancy to this age-old story.

PBT will also reprise choreographer Viktor Plotnikov’s contemporary ballet, In Your Eyes, set to Antonín Dvořák’s “American String Quartet #12 Op. 96 in F Major.” Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr commissioned Plotnikov to create the original new work for PBT’s mixed repertory production at the August Wilson Center in 2014. In Your Eyes features six couples performing inventive ballet-based movement to music that has been described as “among the sunniest and most endearing creations in the instrumental repertory.”

Ballet fans can also take advantage of a special single ticket pre-sale for PBT’s 45th anniversary season, which opens Oct. 24-26, with The Sleeping Beauty at the Benedum Center. The new season’s five-ballet lineup continues with The Nutcracker in December, Beauty and the Beast in February, PBT Premieres in March and La Bayadère in April.

Purchase tickets for the dinner.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...