Excerpts from “On Stage: Young Guns”

by Jane Vranish

This is the next generation — composers and dancers and artists who are still trying to find their brand, who don’t mind meeting on common ground, who do this all out of passion.

[Take] OvreArts, spearheaded by composers Blake Ragghianti and Luke Mayernik, who took a more traditional approach at CAPA recently with eight dancers from Texture Contemporary Ballet, a ninth from The Pillow Project and a 50-piece(!) orchestra [with choir].

They can’t be getting paid much, but they are making a discernible buzz….OvreArts cofounders Blake and Luke obviously have big plans. They built their own orchestra and chorus and each composed a ballet for the occasion, which attracted a good crowd, splashed with new and equally young faces.

Both have substantial credentials and composing skills, which gave the performance a great foundation. Luke chose The Alkonost, which looked like a variation on The Firebird, with a phoenix-like twist.  Based on an actual Russian legend about a mythological bird (Kelsey Bartman), it had a Stravinsky-esque accompaniment.

Blake supplied Infinity, a highly skillful abstract work with changing meters and textures, actually well-suited to the dance and something that pushed Texture out of its comfort zone at the two CAPA performances.

[OvreArts is] a cadre of artists armed with an entrepreneurial spirit, something we have not seen to such an extent before here in Pittsburgh. It’s an overwhelming sense of unbridled creativity. And in the process, they are treading uncharted waters, confident that they can attract and sustain adventurous audiences who want to redefine art and entertainment.

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originally posted on Cross Currents: http://pittsburghcrosscurrents.com/2012/09/22/on-stage-young-guns/

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