Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Sensory-Friendly Peter Pan

PBT principal Julia Erickson in shower of pixie dust (2011). Photo by Rich Sofranko, courtesy of PBT.

On February 18, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will use the magic of pixie dust (and splendid dancing) to entertain those who otherwise might not know the joy of attending live ballets. PBT’s sensory-friendly Peter Pan, a one-night event during the show’s two-week long run, will have supportive accommodations for children and adults with autism and other special needs. Jorden Morris’ choreography remains the same during the show, but potentially startling stage effects will be eliminated. The event will also have relaxed house rules so that viewers can move around or come and go as needed, break areas in the lobby and other adaptations.

In 2013, PBT was the first company in the country to provide a sensory-friendly adaptation of The Nutcracker, and it continued the tradition with the holiday favorite in 2014 and Beauty and the Beast in 2015. This year’s special performance coincides with PBT’s Peter Pan-themed spring adaptive dance classes.

 

PBT soloist Gabrielle Thurlow rehearsing Tinkerbell. Photo by Aimee DiAndrea courtesy of PBT.

PBT soloist Gabrielle Thurlow (a 2014 Pointe standout performer) will be performing as both Wendy and Tinkerbell during Peter Pan’s run, and she has danced in past PBT sensory-friendly performances. “As a dancer,” she says, “the show is very fulfilling. You can tell through the audience’s response and feedback that they greatly appreciate such a unique opportunity. It's a truly wonderful feeling to be able to provide a performance experience that might not ordinarily exist.”

What a great way to spread the love of dance this month!

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