By Steve Sucato
Pittsburgh Current Dance Writer
In the age of the Black Lives Matter movement, there seems to be no end in sight to the stresses of Black life in America. In her latest work, Pittsburgh multi-disciplinary artist Jameelah Platt teams up with local dancers, the Lost Culture Dance Crew, to address some of the pressures Black men face within their communities and how such pressures affect their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing in Hypertension, November 1 at KST’s Alloy Studios.
The 30-minute, multimedia work-in-progress showing plays on the medical term of hypertension as a metaphor for the stresses of black life, says Platt. It is the subject of the work’s narrative she created and to which the Lost Culture Crew’s K-Geno created choreography for. Platt, who also provides photo and video montages related to the narrative, describes Hypertension as a dance-theater piece in four sections including one in which an angel and a demon engage in a tug of war over the fate of a hospital patient.
The work is set to a soundtrack assembled by Platt that includes a mix of alternative, jazz and Hip Hop music (contains adult content) infused with audio from interviews she did with the performers and others on the subject.
Expect the dancing by Lost Culture Dance Crew’s trio of dancers to be a mix of Hip Hop dance styles says crew co-founder Yangser, whose stage pseudonym comes from his close relationship with his sister who goes by Yingser.
The relatively new dance crew, says Yangser, was formed to bring back what he terms as the lost culture of Hip Hop before a trend toward commercialization.
“It seems now that if you want to be a dancer or be considered a dancer you have to go on TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance or America’s Got Talent,” says Yangser. “Back in the day it wasn’t like that. If you were a dancer you didn’t need to be on a TV show or a choreographer, you could be freestyler or really anything.”
The production is part of the Kelly Strayhorn’s Freshworks Residency Program which provides artists with space, resources, and the support to explore new ideas. Platt hopes that the work will generate enough interest to turn it into an evening-length piece later on. “This project is about healing, strength and the significance of mental health within the black community,” says Platt.
Jameelah Platt & Lost Culture Dance Crew present Hypertension, 8 p.m., Friday, November 1; KST’s Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Ave., East Liberty. Pay What Makes You Happy! ticket pricing. Kelly-strayhorn.org or (412) 363-3000.
NEW CHOREOGRAPHIC VOICES
Texture Contemporary Ballet’s annual WIP Choreography Project co-founded in 2008 by Kelsey Bartman, Robert Poe, Mary Lohr, and Andrea Vierra returns for another season on Saturday, November 2 at the Carnegie Stage. The showcase allows young choreographers with varied experiences the opportunity to hone their craft in an open and encouraging environment. It will once again offer up a variety of works-in-progress from some 14 choreographers including Texture company members Madeline Kendall, Hannah Buggy, Erin Patterson, Nicole Rizzitano, Rachel Harman, Aaron Bellofatto along with Texture associate artistic director Kelsey Bartman and her two sisters Kaela and Kyrsta. In addition to the dancing, attendees can enjoy wine, beer, and snacks while mingling with the artists before and after the show.
Texture Contemporary Ballet presents WIP Choreography Project, 7 p.m. & 9 p.m., Saturday, November 2; Carnegie Stage, 25 W. Main St., Carnegie, PA. Tickets $20-25. textureballet.org or carnegiestage.com.
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE
Get ready to shake what your parents gave you in support of Attack Theatre and their 25th Anniversary season at The Get Down, Friday, November 1 at Spirit Hall, 242 51st Street, Pittsburgh. The “pay what moves you” dance party from 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. will feature a rotating cast of local DJs including Arie Cole, DJ Gordy G, and DJ Aesthetics along with exclusive dance performances by Attack Theatre’s dancers and the sound reactive, performed, sculptural, light and architecture installation The Final Vault by artist Ian Brill.