Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Get to the Pointe – Test Your Skills with the PBT

PM columnist Kate Benz gets a workout with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.




photos by john Altdorfer

 

OK, this is 'advanced beginner' … you can quote me as saying that.”

I can only assume that my blank stare has prompted Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s dance and fitness programs manager Kristy Boyle to offer genuine condolences for what was touted as a beginner’s ballet class with advanced beginning combinations.

Because it does, indeed, seem that everyone in this gorgeous, floor-to-ceiling windowed space within PBT’s Strip District headquarters has some "Swan Lake" running through their veins. Well, almost everyone … although there is one enthusiastic fellow who appears to be at even more of a disadvantage than I am (and rumor has it he’s been practicing for years). With a private instructor. Which might have stroked my ego but for the fact he’s got at least three decades on me.

The irony is that the first 20 minutes of this 90-minute class weren't so bad.

“OK, take your position at the bar. Half pointe, half down … right, left, right, left, plié. Stretch up, down, push over, heels down. I’ll call it out the first time,” says my instructor, Shanna Naider. “Now, let’s go over a few basics.”

The basics turn out to be a review of the first five positions of ballet:

First: heels together and toes out to the side.

Second is feet nice and wide; shoulders over hips.

Skip Third… we never use Third.

Fourth: one foot in front of the other with about a foot in between, shoulders and hips squared.

Fifth: squeeze your feet together, each heel touching the opposite toe.
 


 

I had just begun to kid myself when Naider got down to business:

“OK, plié! Right arm, left arm, shall we do it quicker? Five, six, seven, eight, dégagé, and fifth, dégagé and fifth, side, fifth … down, up, center, up, down, turn left, make sure your back heel is down! Down, up, down, up, pick up the left leg, turn left … we’re going to go a little quicker. Point those toes like daggers!”

By now, I’m choreographing my own routine, something that probably looks like a series of unfortunate muscle spasms. Never mind the French lesson I’m mentally butchering.

Tondu! Dégagé! Rond de Jambe! Jeté!

“If you get confused which way to jeté, I will help you,” Naider says, producing a foam finger. The foam finger turns out to be my saving grace, although not enough to prevent me from waving the white flag after a pitiful attempt to join the class as they jeté their way across the floor together.
 


 

“The first class is overwhelming,” she says. “You just have to stick with it.”

Verdict: Unless your dancing skills are sharp, this one requires commitment. 

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre  •  2900 Liberty Ave., Strip District; 412/281-0360, pbt.org. First class is free. Drop-ins are $15, or new students can get a one-month unlimited class package for $80.
 

Eat This Month

Hemp Seeds
These nutty seeds pack a punch with an ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. That's great for promoting heart health, as well as being a good source of fiber, says registered dietitian Kaley Sechman of Case Specific Nutrition. They also contain vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Enjoy 10 grams of plant-based protein when you add 3 tablespoons to your smoothies, in Greek yogurt, on morning oats or sprinkled over a salad.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The Homestead Artist with a Worldwide Reputation

Jesse Best maintains a presence in New York and Tokyo. But, he says, Pittsburgh has been 10 times better to him than any other place.

The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth "Jurassic Park" film is fun. Empty, somewhat disappointing fun.

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

After Pitt ordered Voodoo Brewery to stop production of its "H2P American IPA," the company relaunched the beer under a new name.

Sprout Fund Passes the Torch

50 Pittsburghers to receive $1,000 Legacy Award to carry on the nonprofit’s vision.

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Pirates Pitcher Steven Brault has Pretty Good Pipes Too

The Pirates reliever sang the national anthem Tuesday night before the Bucs hosted the Brewers at PNC Park. It's worth watching, especially for his teammates' reaction at the end.

Crime in the South Side Has Fallen Dramatically

Illegal activity plunged along East Carson Street following several new security measures.

Fired by City Paper — Charlie Deitch Won’t Be Silenced

The former editor of the Pittsburgh alt-weekly is creating his own "more inclusive" publication.

Czechoslovakia was Forged in Pittsburgh

Rick Sebak details how the establishment of the European nation began with a meeting Downtown.

Brick by Brick: Legos Go High Art

Made entirely out of Legos, the sculptures on the display at the Carnegie Science Center’s new Scaife Exhibit Gallery range from the whimsical to the otherworldly.

Mike Chen, Dean of the Chinese Kitchen

The owner of Everyday Noodles looks to encourage more regionally specific Chinese food in Pittsburgh restaurants.

MultiStories: Real Estate – The Machesney Building

Visitors can still ogle the lavish marble and bronze interior crafted to appeal to the original owner's banker and stockbroker tenants.

The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

In "Will Work For Views," the video artist and musician Weird Paul is a little bit Dr. Demento and a little bit Mister Rogers.

Pittsburgh Might Mow Your Lawn for Free

The city is launching a free grass cutting service for the elderly, disabled and veterans.

PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

Paying homage to the restorative power of nature, this deep green shade is one to watch in the coming year. Here’s how to use it on your walls.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

After Pitt ordered Voodoo Brewery to stop production of its "H2P American IPA," the company relaunched the beer under a new name.

Comments

Sprout Fund Passes the Torch

Sprout Fund Passes the Torch

50 Pittsburghers to receive $1,000 Legacy Award to carry on the nonprofit’s vision.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

Reflecting on the loss of a person so many of us admired.

Comments

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Chef You Shan Pei comes to Pittsburgh after cooking in Flushing, N.Y. restaurants for 18 years.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

Looking to show off your Pittsburgh love? Get your favorite city printed on basically anything at these local shops.

Comments

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

When you're craving the real deal, these local spots consistently churn out the very best.

Comments


The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

In "Will Work For Views," the video artist and musician Weird Paul is a little bit Dr. Demento and a little bit Mister Rogers.

Comments

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

The relaunched entertainment complex in Harmarville is casting a wide net, with some success.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Comments

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk found out last August, in the wake of a six-hour surgery that removed 14 inches of his colon and “a tumor the size of my fist,” the severity of what he was suddenly confronting.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth "Jurassic Park" film is fun. Empty, somewhat disappointing fun.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The documentary about Fred Rogers' work and philosophy inspires even more wonder about the television legend who called Pittsburgh home.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Toppers That Take the Cake

Toppers That Take the Cake

Over the traditional bride and groom standing on top of your cake? Try some of these different ideas for cake toppers.

Comments

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

This Pittsburgh couple is using their engagement photos to raise awareness about one of their most passionate causes.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

Paying homage to the restorative power of nature, this deep green shade is one to watch in the coming year. Here’s how to use it on your walls.

Comments

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

From furniture to wall art and beyond, these local makers created one-of-a-kind pieces for your home or office.

Comments