I am a former critic at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where I primarily wrote about dance, along with occasional forays into classical music and theater, for 34 years. During that time, I have served on the board of the Dance Critics Association, written for Newsday, Ballet Review and The Chautauquan Daily and appeared as a panelist at the first National Performing Arts Convention. Favorite interviews have included international figures such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Merce Cunningham, Jiri Kylian, Jean-Christophe Maillot and Paul Taylor. But local artists in Pittsburgh’s vibrant landscape have also tapped issues that reach to the heart of dance and, as a result, I still find great pleasure both in theater performances and the creative process to be found in the studio.

CrossCurrents is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, beginning with the unparalleled nighttime view of the city from atop Mt. Washington, surrounded by the tricky currents of its three rivers. The images associated with the title can also tap into the choreographic act itself, where dancers move in sometimes strange and often wonderful ways. It also opens the door for outside opinions and/or guest blogs on virtually any dance topic.

Blog design by Rebecca Himberger.

  • On Stage: A Hip Hop Christmas - The dance field is getting more crowded around this time of year — call it a Holiday Rave. There’s the venerable Nutcracker at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, something that transcends it all. For musical theater lovers, though, there’s Elf. Film buffs might gravitate to Disney’s new The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. But for a contemporary twist, The Hip Hop […]
  • Video: Love Letter to Dance -
  • On Stage: “Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins” and more… - As a child, New York City choreographer Christopher Williams would visit the National Zoo in Washington D.C. and, to his parents’ chagrin, develop “an intensive love of creatures that were other than human. I would come home and imitate pigmy hippos and giraffes,” become involved in an “alternate physicality.”   When his family moved to […]
  • PIFOF: Deborah Colker, In the Tunnel, What’s That? - Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts has been a great megaphone for political/social causes, certainly the best way to express sentiments in today’s politically combustible society. Three recent examples: Deborah Colker Dance Company (Brazil). The first thing that comes to mind about Brazil is the environment, the Amazon River. This was Dance With a Vision. A […]
  • PIFOF: Mrs. Krishnan, Gab Squad, Blind Cinema - Previous editions of Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts provided a mystical maze that delved into the latest developments in global performance — all decidedly adult. This year there was a deliberate effort to include children’s and family entertainment, perhaps to lure a wider audience to some of the best artists In the world. Like: Mrs. […]
  • PIFOF: Cirque Éloize Hotel -     Pittsburgh has become a favorite stomping ground for Cirque du Soleil and I have to admit that I have seen virtually everything the venerable Montreal troupe has to offer. So as I took my seat at the Benedum Center for the PIFOF world premiere of Hotel, I wondered what else this other Montreal […]
  • PIFOF: Manifold - We see plenty of ballet onstage at the Benedum Center, mostly from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, but we’ve never seen a ballet (of sorts) projected onto the facade of the former movie palace. Then came Manifold. There it was — an eight-minute example of projection mapping by Filip Roca and set to an original score by […]
  • PIFOF: Beyond - It’s the signature face of the Festival of Firsts, a tunnel-like structure that sits in a parking lot across Penn Avenue from the Benedum center. Unlike a tunnel, it’s rather transparent, but ringed with lights that have a computer masterminding their dazzling patterns and music. This immersive experience is relatively short — 5-6 minutes — […]
  • PIFOF: Quantum Theatre - The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts comes around once every five years and I’ve seen virtually everything that its sponsor, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, has had to offer. I feel like it’s taken me around the world and transformed the way I looked at dance in a cross-disciplinary, cross-distance way, with art and theater from […]
  • Dance Beat: New Security Regulations - FYI Arts Lovers: The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will be instituting new security measures in the near future. Below are the details from the Trust:  After a thorough benchmarking and vetting process against numerous performing arts venues across the country, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is launching enhanced guest entry practices for the Byham Theater, the August […]

9 Responses to About

  1. Kiesha Lalama-White says:

    Hi Jane!
    Congratulations on this new project! This site is fabulous! I will spread the word. Best wishes for continued success…

  2. Mary Louise Wotring says:

    How do I subscribe to your blog?

    • jvranish says:

      Hi Mary Louise — I’m looking into that, but it might take a while with the opening of the dance season. However, I’m on Facebook (Jane Vranish) and occasionally write teasers. Thanks for your inquiry — Jane

      • Mary Louise Wotring says:

        Thanks for the info…I’ll bookmark your site for now and send you a Facebook friend-quest…when you do add a subscription feature or create a Facebook site that I can be a “fan” of, add me to your subscriber list if possible…thank you – Mary Louise

  3. Bonnie Crosby says:

    A new chapter of NSAL has been formed. Juanita Jackson, a former Washington, D.C. chapter member is President, Steve Crosby, formerly of the Pittsburgh chapter is V.P. and Bonnie Crosby former Pittsburgh chapter President and Region I Director, is Dance Chair. The 2011 competition will be in Dance (choreography).
    To see the National website go to http://www.arts-nsal.og. Click on Competitions. The names of Dance Chairpersons for each chapter is available on this site. Details of the Chautauqua Area competition is forthcoming.

  4. Adam Butkus says:

    It is always a pleasure to read your columns and opinions. I enjoyed your recent review on PBT’s Dracula. Keep up the great work!

  5. Really enjoy reading the reviews and analysis. Thanks for maintaining a local voice for dance!

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