Conservatory Dance Company at Point Park University features
students showcasing work by accomplished faculty
Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company presents the work of several accomplished dance faculty Feb. 21 - March 2 at the George Rowland White performance studio in the University’s downtown dance complex.
This exceptional program celebrates the creativity of Point Park’s dance faculty members, Doug Bentz, Ronald Hutson, Keisha Lalama, Garfield Lemonius, Peter LeBreton Merz, and Ron Tassone.
Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $18-$20. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Pittsburgh Playhouse box office at 412.392.8000, or online at www.pittsburghplayhouse.com
Bentz, whose work is titled “Arc of Descent/Gethsemane,” teaches Contemporary Jazz, Partnering, Choreography, and Yoga. He danced professionally with Ballet de Geneve (Switzerland) under the artistic direction of George Balanchine, New Jersey Ballet, Luigi Jazz Dance Company (N.Y.C.), Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, American Dance Ensemble (Pittsburgh), Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, Pittsburgh Opera, and Pittsburgh-based contemporary dance which he founded with his future wife Judith Leifer, The Extension: A Company of Dancers. He has performed original choreography by Broadway greats such as Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, Michael Bennett, Ron Fields, Jack Cole, and Gene Baylis.
Hutson, whose work is titled “Sand Painting,” teaches Dance History, Dance Pedagogy, Introduction to Dunham Technique, and Rehearsal/Production. He has appeared in ballet character roles in productions at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, such as The Nutcracker, Scheherezade, and Cinderella, and has choreographed a number of works for the Conservatory Dance Company, most recently Raindance, and the Conservatory Theater Company, most recently, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide… .He has also danced with and choreographed for the Pittsburgh African Drum and Dance Ensemble, now known as the Shona Sharif Company, notably in productions of Black Nativity at the Stephen Foster Memorial Theatre. He continues his own education as a dancer, training at many studios in New York City and in Toronto, Canada, with the company, Ballet Creole.
Lalama, whose work is titled “All Together Now,” most recently choreographed Judge Jackie Justice for the CLO Cabaret, Gravitate for Point Park University-Youth American Grand Prix, and Shed for DCDC. Other notable works include The Bench, All Shook Up at North Shore Music Theatre, Ruthless! The Musical at the CLO Cabaret, the films The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Sorority Row, TEDx Pittsburgh, and various concert works for companies such as Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Jazz Dance World Congress.
Lemonius, who choreographed the piece titled “Flight,” has performed as a principal dancer with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre touring Europe, the U.S., and Canada, the film Blues Brothers 2000, the Canadian Armed Forces Show Tour to Bosnia/Croatia, and solo performances in Vienna, as well as performing as a guest artist with other companies across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He has worked with renowned choreographers, served on numerous boards including Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts curriculum development and leadership committees, the North Texas Dance Council, on panels at the annual International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference, and currently serves on the advisory board for the Pittsburgh Dance Council.
Merz’s work is titled “I Gaze Upon the World in Wonder.” Merz studied at the school of the Dayton Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, The Washington Ballet, and the Burklyn Ballet School. He danced with the Dayton Ballet, Louisville Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet. He has created many ballets for Point Park University, International Summer Dance, the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, the Greater York Youth Ballet, and the Classical Ballet of Herndon, Va. He was recently named “Outstanding Teacher” and “Outstanding Choreographer” at the 2013 Pittsburgh Youth America Grand Prix semi-final.
Tassone, who choreographed “A Fosse Retrospective,” began his career in summer stock and upon graduation made his Broadway debut in Gypsy, followed by seven other Broadway shows including Subways are for Sleeping, No Strings, Here's Love, Fade-Out, Fade-In, Funny Girl, George M., and Billy. He has also appeared on various television shows and in films. Tassone established the jazz major within the Point Park dance program and assumed the role of director of dance for 10 years. He has choreographed more than 25 jazz dance works at Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse. In addition, he has choreographed and/or directed many musicals at theatres such as Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Kenley Players, Phoenix Star Theatre, Music Fairs, Inc., and West Virginia Public Theatre.