Event Calendar

Conservatory Dance Company’s performance at the Byham showcases work by acclaimed, innovative choreographers

Show features works by Lar Lubovitch, Mark Morris, Emery LeCrone, premieres piece by Bennyroyce Royon

Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company returns to downtown’s Byham Theater with a showcase featuring the work of some of the most innovative and visionary contemporary choreographers.

Conservatory Dance Company at the Byham Theater runs March 20-22. Performances begin at 8 p.m., Friday, 2 & 8 p.m., Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, at the Byham Theater, Sixth Street, downtown. Tickets are $18-20, and are available by calling the Pittsburgh Playhouse box office at 412.392.8000 or at www.pittsburghplayhouse.com.

This year’s program offers the premiere of a work by Bennyroyce Royon, as well as a sampling of styles from Mark Morris, Lar Lubovitch and Emery LeCrone.

Featuring music by Ravi Shankar and Dawa, and inspired by Walt Whitman’s I Sing the Body Electric, Royon’s Body Electric praises the wonders and ecstatic imagination of the human form, drawing the dancers into individual journeys that coalesce into an enlightened ritualistic dance, exploring the connection between the body and the soul.

“I synthesize dance styles ranging from contemporary ballet to urban dance forms, extracting and manipulating various elements to compose a unique movement language,” Royon said. “A sense of playfulness and wonder motivate my work, stimulating the intellect and instinct of an individual or group. I see my work as a conversation not only between the body, space, and time, but also between artists from different fields.”

Morris’ Grand Duo, which features a pulsing score by Lou Harrison, was called "one of the most viscerally charged passages in the annals of modern dance” by The Boston Globe, while The Guardian in the U.K. hailed it as “truly one of the masterpieces of the late 20th century.”

A native of Seattle, Morris performed early in his career with the companies of Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn and Laura Dean. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980 and has created about 150 works for the company. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Much in demand as a ballet choreographer, Morris has created eighteen ballets since 1986 and his work is in the repertory of companies worldwide. 

Lubovitch’s critically praised The Legend of Ten maps the complex, shifting terrain of Brahms’s Quintet for Piano and Strings in F Minor, Opus 34. One of this nation’s most versatile and talented choreographers, Lubovitch has created more than 100 dances for his company he founded 46 years ago. The New York Times referred to Lubovitch as "one of the ten best choreographers in the world.”

Since the premiere of her first ballet in 2006, Emery LeCrone has created more than 50 works. Her highly acclaimed choreography has been hailed by The New York Times as “…inventive…a ready for primetime knockout” and by the New Yorker as “ambitious…expansive, and dynamic.”
Commissioned by the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Divergence by Emery LeCrone had its world premiere in 2010. LeCrone received the inaugural New York City Center Choreography Fellowship (2011-2012) and received a New Essential Works (NEW) Grant (2010) to support the development and continuation of her work. She recently premiered new ballets at the Juilliard School for New Dances, St. Louis Ballet, and the New York City Ballet’s New York Choreographic Institute.

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