Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Texture Ballet Looks Deep in 'Reflections'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Texture Ballet Looks Deep in 'Reflections'

Article excerpt

Dancers are surrounded by reflections, rehearsing before mirrors that expose every flaw. But it goes much deeper than that, an eternal search to achieve artistic perfection.

When Texture Contemporary Ballet performs "Reflections" this weekend at the New Hazlett Theater, the company wants audience members to reflect, too, to consider "where you are and how you got there."

Each of the five choreographers contemplated the world around them to create this program of premieres. With political elections looming, artistic director Alan Obuzor chose to look at "things that changed and haven't changed" between and among people. His "Unpreservation of Humanism" is an abstract classically styled ballet that focuses on "human interaction and our treatment of each other," he said.

Others engage in self exploration. Company member Jean-Paul Weaver, a Haitian-American, taps into his heritage in "Gwayaj," which means voyage or journey.

He received a grant to bring in guest performer Kiera Brink-ley, whom he met during a stint with Oregon's Polaris Dance Theatre. Ms. Brinkley is a quadruple amputee as a result of pneumococcal sepsis, a bacterial infection that she contracted when she was 2 years old. She is considered a pioneer as a "differently abled dancer."

"She blew me away with her fluid movement," Mr. Weaver said. "She has a clear understanding of her body and how to use it. She commands the stage."

As Ms. Brinkley pushes the boundaries of this contemporary ballet group, so will the entire ensemble of dancers, overcoming obstacles and filtering problems such as gender identity, race and "able-ism" through what Mr. Weaver sees as the oppressive atmosphere of our society.

Associate artistic director Kelsey Bartman also will turn inward for "O," a solo performed by Victoria McWilliams and set to music from Coldplay. …

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