About

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: Stringing Steps Together, Bit By Bit - Point Park University always opens its season with Student Choreography. Not only choreography by students, but lighting designers and stage managers as well. And the results are quite remarkable. PPU used to pick the students who submitted the best proposals in their Dance Composition class, amounting to approximately eight works performed repeatedly on a weekend […]
  • On Film: Bill Is Back - Performer Bill Shannon has been breaking new barriers in dance. Now the globe-trotting artist, based in Pittsburgh, is coming home with his latest work at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Here’s a preview of the preview coming up later this month (see Listings):  
  • On Stage: LINES - Dance writers often think, “been there, done that.” And when Alonzo King LINES Ballet came to town to open the Pittsburgh Dance Council season (see Post-Gazette preview), I had seen his work on three previous occasions. But this performance was different. It was one of the rare occasions where the performance just flew by, where […]
  • On Stage: Follow the Bouncing Dancers` - These guys were here a while back at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Dance Alloy Studios, but I never forgot them. This seemingly nonsensical piece seems particularly necessary in today’s social and political climate. Yes, that’s actually liquid refreshment with which they imbibe. Enjoy this tasty tidbit, along with an accompanying description… The British/Hungarian pair walked […]
  • On Stage: Water Dance - The Monongahela. It was an impossibly perfect night on a Saturday night in Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River where viewers could take in the debut of the city’s newest dance company, The Blanket. Read about it in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Friday night may have been rained out, but a healthy group of party goers gathered […]
  • On Stage: Extra! Extra! Dance All Around It! -   As the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera continues its summer of excellence, it turned to yet another Disney production, the second such this year (The Little Mermaid) at the Benedum Center.  But where Mermaid swam with bubbly tunes over and under the sea, Newsies tackled a more serious matter, the newspaper boys’ strike of 1899 in […]
  • On Stage: Under the Sea With the CLO - Just call the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera’s splashy version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid simply bubblelicious. Yes, there are bubbles everywhere — filling the opening scrim, floating in a tower across the stage, defining the beach where Ariel covets a whole new world. They set the scene for a frothy musical with deeper layers, all […]
  • On Stage: Bringing “Paris” Home - Paris is (or should be) on everyone’s bucket list, whether it is the City of Light itself or the original movie starring Gene Kelly. Now An American in Paris can come calling to a city nearby. That is, in this case, Pittsburgh, where the Civic Light Opera was instrumental in bringing the Tony Award-winning production […]
  • On Stage: Baby’s Back! - It’s almost like a perfect storm. Dirty Dancing is on its second national tour. But ABC unveiled its own version starring Abigail Breslin and Debra Messing, which revealed a post-Kellerman life for Baby and Johnny. And if you bought the original on DVD, you could have the time of your life this week. But that’s […]
  • On Stage: Missing? -   Beth Corning’s latest piece for The Glue Factory, What’s Missing?, was a puzzlement. Performed with noted choreographer and writer Donald Byrd, Missing (as the title indicates) asked more questions than it answered, leaving it up to the viewer to provide a personal solution. Here Corning still seems to be basking in the dramatic shadows […]

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…
    ~Kiesha

  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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