Introduction: Since its inception in 1969, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) has established itself as a prominent figure in the United States ballet scene. Renowned for its eclectic style and dynamic energy, PBT continues to captivate audiences with its blend of traditional and innovative performances.
- The Foundation and Rise to Prominence.
PBT’s journey began over five decades ago, setting the stage for a rich tradition of artistic excellence. The company gained significant momentum in the 1980s under the leadership of Patricia Wilde, a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Wilde’s tenure was marked by a focus on virtuosic technique and the inclusion of works by modern masters like George Balanchine.
- Era of Expansion and Diversification.
From 1997 to 2020, under the direction of Terrence S. Orr, a former ballet master and principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, PBT flourished. Orr expanded the repertoire with new interpretations of classic ballets, commissioned works set to contemporary American music, and dramatic pieces that challenged traditional ballet boundaries.
Leadership Transition and Vision
- Susan Jaffe’s Tenure.
In June 2020, Susan Jaffe, another luminary from American Ballet Theatre, took the helm as PBT’s seventh artistic director. Her notable contributions included a new version of “Swan Lake” and the award-winning “Fireside Nutcracker.” In May 2022, Jaffe announced her departure to lead the American Ballet Theatre.
- A Historic Appointment: Adam W. McKinney.
In a groundbreaking move, Adam W. McKinney became PBT’s seventh and first artistic director of color in March 2023. With a rich background as a dancer, educator, and activist, McKinney is set to continue PBT’s legacy. His vision includes maintaining the classical ballet repertoire and introducing contemporary works and choreographers, with a strong commitment to community engagement and making ballet accessible to all.
Vision and Mission
- Vision Statement.
PBT aims to unleash the vast potential of ballet to enrich lives, transcending traditional boundaries to reach wider audiences.
- Mission Statement.
As Pittsburgh’s ambassador for extraordinary ballet experiences, PBT is dedicated to preserving the classical tradition while fostering new ideas and inspiring audiences.
- Commitment to Diversity.
PBT’s diversity statement underscores its commitment to equity, access, and opportunity in ballet. By embracing diverse perspectives and experiences, PBT seeks to make ballet a richer, more innovative art form that resonates with a broad spectrum of audiences.
Conclusion: The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s evolution over the years reflects its adaptability and commitment to artistic excellence. With a history of distinguished leadership and a forward-looking approach, PBT remains a beacon of innovation and inclusivity in the ballet world.