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 Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

A Cake So Nice It Doesn’t Need to Be Iced

The “naked cake” seems to be here to stay.

Casey Renee is the Sweet Dream Maker

Salt, technique and high-quality ingredients help the Whitfield at Ace Hotel pastry chef craft ridiculously craveable desserts.

Perspectives: The Big Pittsburgh Lie

Writer Damon Young says the Steel city is masquerading as a paragon of inclusion.

MultiStories: The Violent Beginning of Union Station

Pittsburgh's Union Station –– built after its predecessor was destroyed in a deadly labor dispute –– nearly succumbed to the wrecking ball in 1966.

Too Hot for School? Science Supports Heat Dismissals

In Pittsburgh, early school dismissals are usually for snowstorms.

A Day in the Life of Andrew Stump

What's a typical work day like for the co-owner of Madeline Bakery & Bistro?

Can Brown Rebound? Steelers Had Better Hope So

Antonio Brown's tweets, threats and tantrums wouldn’t seem to matter nearly as much if he'd caught more than 18 passes for a relatively measly 160 yards through the first two games.

Gallery Crawl Sneaks Into Downtown Alleyways

This Friday, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will help kick off the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts with “Art in the Alley.”

The 400-Word Review: The House With a Clock in its Walls

Jack Black stars in a family-friendly horror flick that isn't afraid to scare its young viewers.

Ghost of the Tight Man: What Happened to Sam Davis

Sam Davis once was the glue that held the super Steelers together. But a promising career after football was cut short by an unexplained fall that robbed him of the life he knew.

‘Sometimes I'm Happy’ – The Life of Singer Jill Corey

Born in a tiny Westmoreland County town, Jill Corey became a star for Columbia Records in the 1950s. But after a series of hits, a love affair with Frank Sinatra and marriage to famed Pirate third baseman Don Hoak, her life took an unexpected twist.

Restaurant Review: Spork

Despite an inconsistent start, Christian Frangiadis' restaurant now is worth visiting.

Knights of the Flat Screen – Pittsburgh's Video Game Champs

Founded by a pair of Pittsburgh natives, the Knights are a professional esports franchise whose players participate in video game competitions in front of millions of fans in person and online.

How to Enjoy a Haunted House

Don't get to Halloween attractions much anymore? You might be doing it wrong.

Get Wild With Food This Weekend

For more than 50 years, a West Virginia group has promoted the virtues of foraged food.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Too Hot for School? Science Supports Heat Dismissals

Too Hot for School? Science Supports Heat Dismissals

In Pittsburgh, early school dismissals are usually for snowstorms.

Comments

Gallery Crawl Sneaks Into Downtown Alleyways

Gallery Crawl Sneaks Into Downtown Alleyways

This Friday, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will help kick off the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts with “Art in the Alley.”

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
A Day in the Life of Andrew Stump

A Day in the Life of Andrew Stump

What's a typical work day like for the co-owner of Madeline Bakery & Bistro?

Comments

Get Wild With Food This Weekend

Get Wild With Food This Weekend

For more than 50 years, a West Virginia group has promoted the virtues of foraged food.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Places to Shop If You Have a Green Thumb

The 5 Best Places to Shop If You Have a Green Thumb

Hone your gardening skills at these top Pittsburgh-area nurseries, garden centers and shops.

Comments

The 5 Best Movie Theaters in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Movie Theaters in Pittsburgh

A movie-going experience is about more than just the movie. PM Film Critic Sean Collier takes a break from movie reviews and shares the best spots for cocktails, classics and comfort.

Comments


How to Enjoy a Haunted House

How to Enjoy a Haunted House

Don't get to Halloween attractions much anymore? You might be doing it wrong.

Comments

The Best Bars in Pittsburgh (If You are a Coach for the Steelers)

The Best Bars in Pittsburgh (If You are a Coach for the Steelers)

After the past few years, we need to issue some guidelines for Steelers coaches out on the town.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Can Brown Rebound? Steelers Had Better Hope So

Can Brown Rebound? Steelers Had Better Hope So

Antonio Brown's tweets, threats and tantrums wouldn’t seem to matter nearly as much if he'd caught more than 18 passes for a relatively measly 160 yards through the first two games.

Comments

Chiefs are a Better Barometer for Steelers than Browns

Chiefs are a Better Barometer for Steelers than Browns

There is evidence to suggest Pittsburgh can be better against Kansas City.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: The House With a Clock in its Walls

The 400-Word Review: The House With a Clock in its Walls

Jack Black stars in a family-friendly horror flick that isn't afraid to scare its young viewers.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: The Predator

The 400-Word Review: The Predator

The latest visit to the action franchise is a noble try, but ultimately a bit of a mess.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
A Cake So Nice It Doesn’t Need to Be Iced

A Cake So Nice It Doesn’t Need to Be Iced

The “naked cake” seems to be here to stay.

Comments

These Couples Have Officially Won the Game of Love

These Couples Have Officially Won the Game of Love

There is no formula for finding love, but for these couples, there is one common factor: sports.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Meet Kim Fox, the Artisan Making Tin Quilts

Meet Kim Fox, the Artisan Making Tin Quilts

The Mt. Lebanon resident uses salvaged wood, tin and nails to create her pieces. Her work is now being showcased at Contemporary Craft in the Strip District.

Comments

Oakmont Nonprofit Blesses Families in Need with Furniture — and Love

Oakmont Nonprofit Blesses Families in Need with Furniture — and Love

Since its inception in 2009, The Blessing Board has helped thousands of families obtain furniture and has grown to include the successful Vintage Market.

Comments