Photo by Duane Rieder.

Benedum Center for the Performing Arts

October 23 – 25
8 p.m. & 2 p.m.

Three nights, three iconic ballets, three trailblazing choreographers. It’s an especially big weekend for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, which is kicking off its new season with a triumvirate of dance at downtown’s Benedum Center.

Photo by Duane Rieder.

Featuring powerhouse masterworks by leading choreographers—including two Pittsburgh premieres—the PBT’s Mixed Repertory #1 includes George Balanchine’s “Western Symphony,” Jiřί Kylián’s “Sinfonietta” and William Forsythe’s “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated.”

“Sinfonietta” and “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated” are making their Pittsburgh debut, while “Western Symphony” has not been performed here since 1997. All three works are considered to be landmark ballets. Ballet lovers and newbies alike will experience seminal works by pioneering choreographers who altered the course of modern ballet. Featuring a sampling of three distinct approaches to classical technique, Mixed Repertory #1 showcases how each choreographer develops a new approach to traditional dance, riffs on classical aesthetics and explores the potential of the human body. Spanning three decades, the eclectic triple bill varies in terms of mood, tone and intensity, and features accompaniment by the PBT Orchestra.

Photo by Duane Rieder.

Created in 1954 by New York City Ballet co-founder George Balanchine (1904 – 1983)—the Russian-born choreographer who is considered to be “the father of American ballet”—”Western Symphony” explores the intersection of classical ballet and American folk dance. Audiences will be transported to a dusty Old West town saloon, where high-kicking dance hall girls and swaggering cowboy will interact during spirited vignettes. Animating the satire, whimsy and romance are popular folk tunes such as “Red River Valley” and “The Gal I Left Behind Me” written by American composer Hershy Kay.

Photo by Duane Rieder.

A work in five movements, the free-spirited “Sinfonietta” is a sweeping ensemble ballet by contemporary Czech dancer and choreographer Jiřί Kylián. Featuring signature double duets and bold evocative movement—with male dancers leaping on stage and galloping like wild horses—the dynamic work is inspired by a score created by Czech composer Leoš Janáček.

Dubbed a “high-voltage shock to the world of ballet,” William Forsythe’s 1987 work, “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated” features driving electronic music, demanding dance techniques, a minimalist and a futuristic feel.

Don’t miss the PBT’s opening night cocktail party on October 23rd. Gather in the Benedum’s VIP lounge for pre-show cocktails, conversation and hors d’oeuvres (included in the PBT’s special young professional ticket price). The reception begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by the 8 p.m. performance.

Purchase tickets.

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...