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Merger Between Dance Alloy and the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater

Michael Walsh of Dance Alloy Theater; Photo from website

On October 19th Dance Alloy Theater and the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater officially announced their merger. This comes after months of rumors in the artistic community about the future of Dance Alloy. The Strayhorn will manage all of the dance classes at the Alloy’s school and will use the Alloy’s venue for rehearsals, performances and residencies. The Alloy’s dance company, the longest-established modern/contemporary dance company in Pittsburgh, is on hiatus for the fall and disbanded until further notice.

 The merger has received mixed reviews. Certain members of the Alloy’s board have expressed that they haven’t felt heard since the company underwent major changes in 2009. This includes honorary board member and once artistic director of the company Susan Gillis-Kruman. The Alloy’s company dancers were given short notice of the company’s hiatus and as a result were given little time to seek new work.

 While this development is no great surprise, it is saddening that a substantial dance company, one that has been around since 1976, can virtually disappear. Certainly the economic climate has contributed to this situation, but what might have been done better to save the company? And what could we do now to revive it? For many years, the Alloy defined what is modern dance in Pittsburgh. So it is my hope that this situation is only temporary and that the company returns both stronger and smarter.

In the meantime, however, the merger with the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater is a positive development. While the Strayhorn’s productions are more theatrical than pure dance in nature, their New Moves Festival and choreography residency programs give opportunity for the dance community to collaborate and possibly seek a solution to the current state of the Alloy’s company.

 For more information on the merger, check out the article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.