Your Guide to 2024 Pittsburgh Dance Productions

Artistic Director Adam W. McKinney shares his 2024 Pittsburgh dance productions bucket list with TABLE readers. In addition to key productions from his own PBT company, he also suggests some wonderful performances created by a range of treasured Pittsburgh institutions.

2024 Pittsburgh Dance Productions

Reflections

Tamburitzans

Pittsburgh Playhouse, June 1

The Tamburitzans have an incredible history in Pittsburgh, and I am excited about this performance on many levels. How can you go wrong with supporting young talent bringing international cultures to the stage through dance and music? This performance highlights the artistic heritages in Croatia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe, and will undoubtedly be a fun experience for everyone.

West Side Story

Pittsburgh CLO

Benedum Center, June 11-16

I played “Bernardo” in my high school’s production of West Side Story, so the musical has a special place in my heart … even if the character dies at the end of Act I. Jerome Robbins’s ballet version, which PBT has performed in the past, is as riveting as the musical. The dance sequences alone bring audiences to their feet. Enough said!

Ballet Under the Stars

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Hartwood Acres, August 25

Ballet is especially enriching when performed outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. PBT’s annual Ballet Under the Stars performance at Hartwood Acres is an event that we always look forward to. It allows us to share the work of PBT with audiences in a fun and relaxed outdoor environment with food trucks, craft and dance activities, photo opportunities, and face painting. We hope you pack a picnic, and “Come Dance with Us!”

A line of dancers in purple and white dresses cross their arms behind each others back in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's under the stars production.

Un-Preservation of Humanism

Texture Contemporary Ballet

New Hazlett Theater, September 20-22

Texture Ballet is an important fixture in the dance ecology of Pittsburgh. I’m pleased to see that as part of the program, Texture’s artistic director Alan Obuzor is bringing back his 2016 work Un-Preservation of Humanism. Its abstract focus on humans, human conflict and the way that some groups of people have treated each other throughout existence resonates with me. This is definitely one I’ll be buying tickets for as soon as they are available.

Fall Harvest Work

Shana Simmons Dance and Else Collective

Location TBA, October 19

The focus of this immersive dance event on fall harvest practices of different European cultures is so interesting! I am excited to see how Shana and PJ are inspired by the ideas of harvest, fire, falling leaves, the rhythms of the season, and the ancient community experiences. #LibraLove

Peter Pan

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Benedum Center, October 25-27

I am thrilled to bring Trey McIntyre’s version of Peter Pan to Pittsburgh for the first time. As the opening ballet of our 2024-25 Emerald Season, this new interpretation of the classic tale is told through the eyes of a child. It includes spectacular flying, swashbuckling sword fights, giant puppets, costumes inspired by punk fashion and, of course, a little pixie dust. I hope you will join PBT on this daring adventure with Peter, Wendy, John, Michael, and Tinkerbell.

Rewrite

Attack Theatre

Attack Theatre Studios, November 15-17

Unique and surprising performances always take place at Attack Theatre. Their November production of Rewrite, featuring NYC-based choreographer and performer Christian Warner, looks to be in the same distinctive voice. I am particularly intrigued by this work as it will focus on the interesting topics of the power of neuroplasticity and one’s body to rewrite the trajectory of personal narratives in performance and the drive to lead with curiosity.

MJ The Musical

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Benedum Center, November 19 – December 1

I am so excited to see that this amazing musical by acclaimed ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is coming to Pittsburgh! I am a huge fan of his works, and PBT was delighted to perform his Polyphonia last Spring. He is truly a choreographic force. Everyone should have the opportunity to experience one of his works, and MJ The Musical.

Nutcracker for a Difference

Confluence Ballet Company

Location and December dates TBA

It’s that time of year. Snow falls, soldiers run back and forth, and the Sugar Plum Fairy spreads her warm magic. Everyone loves The Nutcracker. And while I love that there are so many different versions of the timeless ballet, I especially love that Confluence Ballet’s version uniquely sets The Nutcracker story to the jazz music of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and David Berger. It is also admirable that they are using Nutcracker for a Difference as an opportunity to share the art form with youth-empowering programs and new audiences in local communities. Bravo!

The Nutcracker

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Benedum Center, December 6-27

And, of course, how could I leave out PBT’s The Nutcracker, which follows the traditional mold, but changes the setting to turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh, and includes whimsical local touches and guest roles from local celebrities? From colorful characters to sparkling snow and gorgeous costumes, PBT’s The Nutcracker whisks audiences into the most magical time of the year. I’ll see you there!

Story by Adam W. McKinney, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Artistic Director / Photography Courtesy of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

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