PBT Dancers Share Favorite Moments of “Petal”

 High-octane, sensual, vivacious, lively, vibrant, a barely contained riot of wildflowers.

Helen Pickett
Helen Pickett
Photo By: Mihaela Bodlovic

These words and phrases have all been used to describe Helen Pickett’s dynamic Petal. With spring in the air, Petal is the perfect celebration of connection, exuberance, and joy. In Pickett’s own words:

“Intimacy is such an important part of a human life – without it, we wither. So how do we break that fourth wall and connect to the audience more than just visually? Let’s celebrate this burst of color, this sound, this touch.”

Read more about Helen Pickett here.

PBT had the honor of performing Petal once before in 2021 and is excited to perform it again as part of the Spring Mix program from April 5-7. Join PBT dancers as they look back on Petal, both then and now.


Tommie Lin Kesten
Photo By: Rosalie O’Connor

“My favorite part of dancing Petal is the athleticism of the piece. The strength and stamina that it takes to perform this ballet is not to be underestimated.

Another favorite is having the opportunity to work so closely with Helen Pickett on one of her most famous works. I always am left feeling inspired with wisdom from her that I take into future ballets. She really helps us as dancers expand our movement and push for “the edges” of our shapes. She has taught me so much and I am so grateful for her.

This time is particularly special because I am getting to revisit this ballet as a principal dancer! I’m so excited for everyone to see how much I have grown and matured as a dancer. I actually have not revisited a featured role, like this, yet in my career, which I think is so exciting!”


Diana Yohe
Photo By: Rosalie O’Connor

“Petal was incredibly special because it was the very first thing we performed at the theater after Covid shut the world down. I remember really feeling the magnitude of that moment, especially since the Benedum curtain came up and Petal begins with me doing a solo. That performance for us all felt like the world was coming back to life and we were finally returning home.

Petal is a true celebration of joy in movement and human connection. Helen came in and really pushed us all to dance more three-dimensionally (bigger and brighter but also not being afraid of the power we have in stillness), to trust ourselves and our choices and most importantly to remember that dancing together and celebrating each other is the center of it all. You’re really encouraged to watch each other any chance we get, and seeing my colleagues grow and dance their heart out inspires me to do the same.

I felt like I returned to the stage a different dancer after everything I learned from Helen and her piece and I’ve loved continuing to expand on it all. When you get to dance a piece again it really shows the journey that’s happened to you in between and how much you’ve grown and changed as a person, not just as a dancer. I’m really looking forward to sharing this piece and its fantastic energy with the Pittsburgh audience again. It is one that is especially close to my heart!!”


Kurtis Sprowls and PBT Dancers
Photo By: Rosalie O’Connor

“I am excited to be bringing Petal back to the Benedum Stage. One of my favorite things about the piece is its theme of connection. Not only is there a connection between our movements, but also by how we emotionally react to one another in a genuine, human way. I honestly forget the audience is watching. I have had the pleasure to work with Helen a number of times, and I am always inspired by the experience. Petal is truly a showstopper!”

Join us for Petal and three other dynamic pieces in Spring Mix from April 5-7, 2024 at the Benedum Center. Purchase tickets here!