Friday, July 17, 2015


Pittsburgh's Texture Contemporary Ballet performed at the New Hazlett theater, which is inside of an old Carnegie Library.  The mission of Texture is to present new works based on classical ballet (AMC's paraphrase).  The Artistic Director is Alan Abuzor.  Ms. Kelsey Bartman is Associate Artistic Director and dancer.  She also sang in the last piece of the program.

The first work was titled "Inner Division of Existence" using the music of one of AMC's favorite composers Wim Mertens. The dancers were in non-stop motion that was kinetic but not frenzied.  It was powerful and somewhat startling in its artistry, given that AMC was unfamiliar with Texture.

The second work was titled "sidestep" and incorporated the music of various musicians, including Taylor Knight, Coldplay, and Piazzolla. A particular standout was a section titled "Unaccompanied" that featured Bach's Cello Suites.  The dancers were Corey Bourbnniere, Mr. Obuzor, and Amanda Summers.  It was a beautiful and lyrical piece that highlighted the less kinetic, but equally strong dancing of this company.

The final work was titled "Forget About Home:  A Photo album of WWII."  Sometimes these homages to the War can be just an amalgam of music from the 1940's that teeter on parody.  Not this work- it featured contemporary songs that spoke of despair, hope, and sadness.  A truly wonderful part of this performance (among the many) was vocalist Krysta Bartman, who stood above the stage on a bridge, singing the songs that made the work so touching.  Ms.  Bartman has a smooth voice that never strained to communicate the emotional content of the songs. There were two other touches that excited AMC.  Ms. Bartman was joined in a duet by choreographer and dancer Kelsey Bartman and then Krysta joined the dancers in an homage to a canteen.  A particularly touching segment was when Amanda Bailey danced the part of a mother receiving the news of the death of her son.  There were so many great features to this work that AMC's words are inadequate to communicate its emotional impact.

Lest there be any doubt, Texture is a first-rate modern dance company, with dancers who are brilliant. Their extensions are incredible- the precision in their movements are enviable, their lines are like rulers, and their ensemble is top notch.  AMC recommends that anyone who likes modern dance should experience Texture.   This was the best dance program that AMC has seen in years!  The skill, dedication, and enthusiasm of the company is something to behold.  Mr. Abuzor deserves credit for being unflinching in his expectations of his dancers, yet never exceeding their capabilities.

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