PITTSBURGH, PA – As one of three featured works in its March mixed repertory performance, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will present the Pittsburgh premiere of Julia Adam’s “Ketubah” – inspired by traditional Jewish wedding rituals – March 7-16, at the August Wilson Center.
“Ketubah” is a critically acclaimed, lively, contemporary ballet inspired by the Eastern European Jewish Ashkenazi wedding ritual. Choreographer Julia Adam drew upon her own family roots when creating the piece for Houston Ballet in 2004. Set to Klezmer music, the performance follows one young couple from matchmaking to their wedding night. A vibrant ensemble of 16 dancers and evocative use of fabric depict and honor the mikvah, veil, chuppah, and other rituals and traditions that comprise a Jewish marriage celebration. The title, “Ketubah,” refers to the marriage contract signed by the bride and groom on their wedding day. Adam creates a hybrid movement vocabulary of ballet, modern and Israeli folk dance to set the customs in motion.
Leading up to its main-stage performance, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presents several opportunities to explore the inspiration and heritage behind the ballet:
· Ketubah Display
February 10 – March 16, 2014; American Jewish Museum of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Visitors can view the artistry and sentiment of the ballet’s namesake in five works from private collections.
· Pointe of View Salons
February 25, 2014, at 7 p.m. – JCC of Greater Pittsburgh Squirrel Hill
February 27, 2014, at 7 p.m. – JCC, South Hills
Explore the ballet, ketubah art and symbolism, and the cultural history of Jewish wedding traditions. Presenters: Rabbi Donni Aaron, a Jewish educator of JCC Pittsburgh; artist Judy Perlow; and Lisa Auel of PBT’s Education Department.
· OSHER Evening Lecture Series
March 4, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.; McConomy Auditorium, Carnegie Mellon University
An esteemed panel will discuss the ballet’s unique connections between the rich cultural heritage of ballet, of the ketubah as an artifact and art form, and of Jewish marriage customs. Panelists will include PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr; choreographer Julia Adam; James A. Gibson, Senior Rabbi at Temple Sinai, and artist Judy Perlow. This event is presented in collaboration with CMU’s OSHER Life-long Learning Institute.
About 3×3 at the August Wilson Center
PBT pushes the boundaries of ballet in “3×3,” a mixed repertory program showcasing an unconventional exploration of ballet musicality and movement. In addition to “Ketubah,” the program features a PBT world premiere by choreographer Viktor Plotnikov and Dwight Rhoden’s jazz-inspired “Smoke ‘n Roses” set to the live vocals of Pittsburgh’s own Etta Cox. “3×3” takes the stage March 7-16, for two weekends at the August Wilson Center. Tickets start at $25.75, and can be purchased online at www.pbt.org, by calling 412-456-6666 or visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.
About Choreographer Julia Adam
Canadian-born Julia Adam received her early training in her hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, and at age thirteen began studies at the National Ballet School in Toronto, graduating in 1983. She spent the next five years honing her skills at the National Ballet of Canada. In 1988, Julia joined the San Francisco Ballet, where she finished the remainder of her dancing career, gaining prestige as a principal dancer known for her lyricism, musicality and broad theatrical range. After retiring from dancing in 2002, Adam was able to devote more time to her love and talent for choreography. She created her first ballet, The Medium is the Message, in 1993 for San Francisco Ballet’s Choreographic Workshop, drawing much attention for her uncanny wit and unique sense of movement. Since then she has created a number of works for companies, including Marin Ballet, The Bay Area Dance Series, Ballet Met, Alberta Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, Atlanta Ballet and Nashville Ballet among others.