Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Blue Lapis Light Leaves Crowd Awestruck

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Blue Lapis Light Leaves Crowd Awestruck

Article excerpt

For an event often drenched by showers and thunderstorms, the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival had a perfect opening Friday night for its 58th edition, capped by the appropriately titled "Star Dust."

It was a performance in which four members of the Austin, Texas-based group Blue Lapis Light, easily resembling angels, arched and twirled as they repelled along the face of Fifth Avenue Place, Downtown. Hardly noticeable were the harnesses that embraced them.

A large crowd began gathering around The T Station on Stanwix Street about a half-hour before 9 p.m., and the city cooperated by closing Stanwix Street shortly before the performance, also sponsored by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Pittsburgh Dance Council.

Photographer Jason Furda, who has a full-time job inside Fifth Avenue Place as a business analyst, is also an independent photographer.

He was among the first to arrive, having watched a portion of the rehearsals from his AM Health Solutions window during the week. "I was very jealous," he said. "I wanted to ask how much they would charge to try it out."

Although the idea of dance is often to escape gravity, the history of dance doesn't often reach to the heights of this performance.

Contemporary dance, ever so eager to push the artistic box, took several forms in achieving new directions. Yvonne Ranier, a founder of the pedestrian aesthetic in the Judson Dance Theater movement, created "Man Walking Down the Side of a Building" (1971), where the title describes the dance.

Japan's Sankai Juku was another matter. The butoh dance company made international news by descending skyscrapers upside down, ever so slowly.

That was interrupted when a member of the troupe fell to his death in 1985. Although negotiations were underway to repeat this feat for the Pittsburgh Dance Council in 1986, the company temporarily suspended it. …

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