Evolve Productions begins their fourth annual summer intensive today, at the Dance Alloy Studios in Friendship. “Evolve the Intensive” is designed to be a week long dance “immersion” program that focuses on choreography and performance. On this first day, dancers involved will be cast in several pieces that they will then work on tirelessly, today through Saturday. The culmination will be a complete two hour evening length show, where the dancers will showcase what they have learned and prepared.
Sarah Parker, Director and choreographer for the company, says: “We have about twenty-five to thirty dancers. The week is structured to give a lot of individual attention to each student. It’s not a mass workshop with dancers packed in like sardines.”
To choreograph the show, Parker has brought in several local and national choreographers, and even one from overseas. In addition to the work she will create, many Pittsburgh favorites will present as well. Pearlann Porter of the Pillow Project, Shana Simmons, and the Murphy/Smith Dance Collective are only a few. Gustavo Zajac, from Argentina, will also choreograph. He most notably worked on Broadway’s production of “Nine.”
“I’m a huge advocate for diversity in dance,” Parker says. “I feel strongly about dancers being well-rounded. The show will feature many styles, from ballet to hip hop…some dramatic, some energetic. This makes the students feel like anything is possible.”
She explains that by the end of the week, the dancers are exhausted from having stretched their boundaries. The idea is to push pre-professionals into a fully professional setting. When they eventually graduate and audition, they will know what to expect.
The final show, “theBEAT,” will premiere Saturday, July 28th (on National Dance Day), 8:00 p.m. at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. Doors open at 7:00 with general admission seating and a pre-show reception in the lobby. Click HERE for more details, and to purchase tickets.
But that isn’t all Parker has in store for the weekend. The night before, Evolve Productions will present their third annual local dance showcase, also at the Kelly-Strayhorn. This professional concert, “Momentum,” will be a fusion of Pittsburgh companies that are involved in the intensive.
Parker loves presenting the show to “develop a real sense of community in our dance scene, and to celebrate some of our new and emerging companies.” She hopes that with her dedication to providing performance opportunities, local dance companies will continue to thrive and grow. All of the ticket proceeds go towards next year’s concert. “I’d love to receive funding, but I’m really proud it is self-sustaining,” she says.
“Momentum” will premiere Friday, July 27th, 8:00 p.m., at the KST. Guests are encouraged to come for the pre-show party and fundraiser at 6:30 p.m., when Continuum Dance Theater will be hosting a salsa inspired hour of celebration. All proceeds of the party will be used to help fund the company’s upcoming trip to Miami, FL, where they will represent Pittsburgh at the PAE Dance Conference on September 19th. Enjoy dancing, small bites, drinks and live music at the “Pre-Show Soiree.” Click HERE for more information and to purchase tickets.