Courtesy of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
April 15, 16, 17
p.m. & 2 p.m.

Pirate exploits, classical ballet and an age-old love triangle will create a dramatic season finale this weekend at downtown’s Benedum Center.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
Courtesy of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Presenting of the largest story ballets in its historic repertory— Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre‘s (PBT) presents the sweeping and iconic Russian masterwork, Le Corsaire (The Pirate).

The first time the production has been staged in Pittsburgh, the grand Russian ballet features choreography after Marius Petipa and Konstantin Sergeyev and staging by Anna-Marie Holmes.

Loosely based on Lord Byron’s epic 1814 poem of the same name, the ballet first premiered in 1856 at the Paris Opera with original choreography by Joseph Mazilier. PBT’s adaptation is inspired by Marius Petipa’s later version, which he re-choreographed in 1899 for the Maryinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg.

Audiences will be transported to a thrilling, 19th-century saga populated by 70 performers, colorful seaside bazaars and lush Turkish gardens. When the story’s epic adventure unfolds on rough seas, the gifted dancers enact scenes of kidnapping, mutiny, shipwreck, abduction and rescue missions. As he navigates dangerous rivalries and the perils of open waters, the charismatic pirate Conrad seeks to librate his love Medora from the clutches of a powerful pasha named Seyd.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
Courtesy of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

This is edge-of-your-seat dance, as the energy heats up during the renowned Act II pas de trois between Medora, Conrad and Ali. The ballerina will mesmerize crowds with her pinpoint turns and fouettes, while the male stars tackle larger-than-life leaps and impressive balances.

An action-packed story with grand Russian techniques, the production spoltights the virtuosic dancing of PBT’s male dancers, impressive overhead lifts, the ethereal corps of ballerinas during the “Jardin Animé” scene and more.

The ballet features Hannah Carter and Alexandra Kochis as Medora, Yoshiaki Nakano and Christopher Budzynski as Conrad and Ruslan Mukhambetkaliyev and Yoshiaki Nakano as Ali.

Performed with the PBT Orchestra, Le Corsaire features a score created by French composer Adolphe Adam, and selected excerpts by Cesare Pugni, Prince Oldenberg, Leo Delibes and Riccardo Drigo.

The pirate action will culminate at PBT’s annual En Pointe Cast Party, which will kick off immediately following Sunday’s matinee performance on April 17th. At downtown’s scenic Il Tetto rooftop beer garden, Pointe-gors will mingle with company dancers, sip signature cocktails, receive special giveaways and enjoy themed fare.

Purchase tickets.

Looking for more events? Read our 12 Pittsburgh events not to miss in April feature.

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 of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.