Conservatory of Performing Arts

Conservatory Dance Company showcases students in faculty works

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company presents the work of several accomplished dance faculty March 2-4 at the George Rowland White performance studio in the University’s Downtown dance complex.  The program features pieces by Kiesha Lalama, Garfield Lemonius, Peter LeBreton Merz, Susan Stowe and Ron Tassone.

Inspired by the idea of letting go of negative energy and embracing the new, Kiesha Lalama will present Release, with music by Mickey Hart. Lalama has created more than 40 works, including the full-length dance theatre production, The Bench, which received rave reviews and was ranked in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “Best of Dance” Top Ten list in 2009 and 2010. She recently choreographed for the upcoming film The Perks of Being a Wallflower, TEDx Pittsburgh, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, and the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble.

Garfield Lemonius’s piece, Contagion, “refers to the transmission or spread of something communicable, as in an influence, idea or emotion,” said Lemonius. “This work looks at movement as the medium that influences the dancers and how its effects allow bodies to create beautiful collages of pattern and symmetry through space.” Contagion features music by Kashiwa Daisuke. Lemonius’s career includes performing as a principle dancer with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, touring across Europe, the United States and Canada, working on the film Blues Brothers 2000, and the Canadian Armed Forces Show Tour, with solo performances in Vienna, Austria.

Peter LeBreton Merz presents The Beautiful Things of the Earth with music by Zero dB, the Beastie Boys and Fugazi. “This is meant to be an exploration of how tightly woven into the fabric of the universe such things as beauty, desire, pursuit and coupling are,”  said Merz. “The closer we look, the more we find that everything wants everything else to some degree.” Merz has created 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 Choreographer” at the Philadelphia semi-finals of the 2011 Youth America Grand Prix.

Paquita, by Marius Petipa with music by Alois Louis (Léon) Minkus, will be staged by Susan Stowe, associate artistic director and dance department chair.  Stowe describes the piece as “a technical tour de force in the classical tradition that can be found among the repertoire of ballet companies throughout the United States and abroad.”   Stowe’s 15-year professional career included leading roles in Choo San Goh’s Unknown Territory, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs, and Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s Elite Syncopations.  She has been with Point Park since 1995.

Ron Tassone presents the vibrant and exhilarating piece, The Big Bang, with music by Yello.  Tassone danced in eight Broadway productions, two national Broadway tours and many TV shows and commercials, including The Ed Sullivan Show.  He danced in the films West Side Story and Hello Dolly, and was the choreographer for the movies The Cemetery Club and Roommates.  Tassone has been with Point Park since 1974 and was instrumental in creating the jazz major within the dance program.

Conservatory Dance Company at Point Park University runs March 2-4 in the George Rowland White performance studio, Downtown campus.  Performances will be held on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $18-$20 and can be purchased by calling the Pittsburgh Playhouse box office at 412-392-8000 or online at



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