Last Updated on June 6, 2019 by Angie
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Texture Contemporary Ballet fills an invaluable niche in the city of Pittsburgh's arts scene with its classically-trained ballet dancers performing original contemporary works.
Texture Contemporary Ballet is for everyone: those who love classic ballet, performing arts enthusiasts, and even those who think they might not like a dance performance. We've been to several shows over the years, and we have to say that their works always keep us incredibly captivated and leave us inspired.
Taking in a Contemporary Ballet by Texture
Texture is a relatively new group in Pittsburgh, founded in 2011 by artistic director Alan Obuzor. Many of their performances are at the New Hazlett Theater in the North Side, but they also perform at other interesting venues around the city and even occasionally across the US. The format and theme of the shows is always different which keeps us wanting to go back for more.
The first Texture show we saw was “Resounding Sound” which featured several ballets set to live music. One highlight was a ballet set to the music of Bob Dylan and choreographed by Associate Artistic Director Kelsey Bartman. Another great ballet in this show was one set to music by local band Meeting of Important People.
This entire show had a brilliant energy that made us look at ballet in a completely new and exciting way!
“The Speed of Sound” at New Hazlett Theater
In 2018 we had the chance to see “The Speed of Sound” at New Hazlett Theater, featuring works choreographed by both Alan Obuzor and Kelsey Bartman. Music by classical contemporary composer Philip Glass and by Scottish band Frightened Rabbit were the backdrops for the two different ballets.
The New Hazlett Theater is an ideal venue for Texture's shows. There are only a dozen or so rows of seats set up on risers, meaning no matter where you sit you're never very far from the stage. The intimate nature of this venue allows you to see and feel the power, strength, and grace of each performer up close.
The building that houses the theater is also an architectural and historical gem that is worth visiting in its own right. Constructed in 1889, the building housed the first Carnegie Music Hall as well as one of the first Carnegie Free Libraries.
Nearly demolished in 1967, the community banded together to save it and renovate the theater portion of the building. From the mid 1970s to late 1990s, the Pittsburgh Public Theater utilized the space as the Hazlett Theater, named after the civic leader Theodore L. Hazlett Jr. After the Pittsburgh Public Theater's departure, the theater was once again renamed to the New Hazlett Theater.
The theater today houses many different types of events put on by different groups and artists, including musicals, plays, concerts, and dance performances and is truly a wonderful spot to take in a show!
Texture Contemporary Ballet puts on multiple performances throughout the year. Click the previous link for their upcoming schedule! New Hazlett Theater is located at 6 Allegheny Square E in the North Side.