Alonzo King and his Lines Ballet perform this month.
2010 starts off on the right foot with plenty of dance action, ranging from contemporary ballet to performance art.
Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet Presents Signs And Wonders: Jan. 15-16
The August Wilson Center for African American Culture welcomes award-winning dance-maker Alonzo King and his 10-member international touring troupe, Lines Ballet, last seen here in 2005. King, who grew up in Georgia and California, studied ballet at New York’s School of American Ballet and studied modern dance in Los Angeles, where he worked with the late Bella Lewitzky, a modern-dance choreographer and teacher.
King founded his San Francisco-based company in 1982 as an outlet for his artistic vision, which avers movement as elemental to life, and to showcase his choreography, which overlays ballet with modern dance. He has since built a reputation for collaborations with visual and musical artists.
Programming here features Signs and Wonders (1995), an athletic work originally choreographed to indigenous African drumming and vocals for Dance Theatre of Harlem. The recently revived version reflects King’s visit to Ethiopia and his penchant for formality as it whirls and swirls, generating asymmetrical images. (980 Liberty Ave., downtown. Jan. 15-16: Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $38-$49. Tickets: 412/456-6666, pgharts.org; info: linesballet.org)
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Presents Step Afrika!: Jan. 17
A stint in southern Africa prompted C. Brian Williams to establish a cross-cultural exchange program with Soweto Dance Theatre. The collaboration explored similarities between African-American stepping and South African gumboot, a dance form created by miners.
Williams subsequently launched the Washington, D.C.-based Step Afrika!, a professional ensemble that showcases stepping, a technique derived from early-20th-century African-American fraternity/sorority rituals that utilize the body as a musical instrument to generate rhythms and sounds. (Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., downtown. Sun., Jan. 17, 7 p.m. $20.50-$32.50. Tickets: 412/456-6666, pgharts.org; info: stepafrika.org)
Andy Warhol Museum’s “Off The Wall” Series Presents Jeremy Wade’s There Is No End To More: Jan. 23
Jeremy Wade is an American choreographer based in Berlin, Germany, who’s a winner of a Bessie Award, which acknowledges outstanding creative work by independent artists in the fields of dance and related performance in New York City. He directs this solo performance that pivots around a salesman, portrayed by Jared Gradinger, who pitches his own show.
The performance-art piece employs movement overlaid with text, sound and images, including Japanese manga (Japanese comics), as it delves into the grotesque elements inherent in Japanese kawaii (cute) culture, where, for example, women wear childlike clothing and cartoon characters serve as mascots for groups such as police forces and airlines. (New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. Sat., Jan. 23, 8 p.m. $20; students, $10. Tickets: 412/237-8300, ticketweb.com; info: warhol.org)
Cirque Dreams: Illumination: A two-hour production of music, physical comedy and elaborate design featuring an international cast of circus-trained performers. Heinz Hall, Sixth Street, downtown. Jan. 5-10: Tues.-Thurs., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; Sun. 1 and 6:30 p.m. $21-$61. Tickets: 412/392-4900, pgharts.org; info: cirqueproductions.com.
Duquesne University Tamburitzans: Sun., Jan. 10, 2 p.m.: The Palace Theatre, 21 W. Otterman St., Greensburg. $15-$20. Tickets: 724/836-8000, thepalacetheatre.org. Sat., Jan. 23, 3 p.m.: Upper St. Clair Theater, 1820 McLaughlin Run Road, Upper St. Clair. Tickets: iocc.org/pittsburgh; info: 412/396-5185, tamburitzans.duq.edu.
Slippery Rock University, Winter Concert: Miller Auditorium, Slippery Rock University, 1 Morrow Way, Slippery Rock. Jan. 28-30: Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. $10. Tickets: 724/738-2036; info: sru.edu.