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Space Upstairs offers innovative performances

By Abby Mathieu, Point Park News Service:

Couches in every color. Walls covered in words and designs. A bar with a hodge-podge of mugs, glasses and bottles. Books piled up in every corner of the square-shaped room. These, among many others, are all things found in The Space Upstairs.

Situated on the side of a tucked-away warehouse in Point Breeze, this venue offers a rare experience through the many events that take place there. The Space Upstairs strives to present performance in unique ways by providing art that is approachable and different.

“The idea of the space is to present dance and performance in new ways,” Pearlann Porter, founding artistic director for The Pillow Project and The Space Upstairs, said. “It’s more casual, just more relaxed … The nature of our dance is improvisational and spontaneous, so this kind of environment is conducive to that.”

The Space Upstairs hosts art nights where art supplies are laid out over the floor and participants have the freedom to create whatever they feel. It also has a conversation series called Fourth Fridays where individuals are welcome to come and enjoy coffee, discussion and art. The Space offers movement classes and spoken jazz nights, along with a free workout every Monday.

The Space Upstairs welcomes the public to its Second Saturday events to experience a performance from local dancers and artists. Typically, dancers in The Pillow Project, the full-time residence dance company at The Space, will perform during these events.

“We do a lot of multimedia work,” Porter said. “We teach classes. We hold events and create original installations.”

Currently, Porter does not have any full-time dancers in The Pillow Project, but she is working with many performers in the area who participate in many of the events that go on at The Space Upstairs. Alex Bright, a student dancer at Point Park University, often dances at The Space Upstairs for its Second Saturday events.

“Dancing at The Space is always a new experience. I’ve never danced the same way twice there,” Bright said. “The music, movement and people are just always spectacular.”

This event attracts many young adults in the area. Maddie Toy is a regular attendee of The Space Upstairs’ Second Saturday events.

“It’s a really cool space, and I love watching the improv performances. They always have amazing bands and free wine,” Toy said. “The atmosphere is the best part. It’s just really innovative and chill and engaging.”

While Pittsburgh offers a great variety of events for young adults in the area, Porter is confident The Space Upstairs offers an experience unlike any other where attendees can feel comfortable and relaxed.

“Come as you are. Come comfortable,” Porter said. “You can come in when you want, you can leave, you can sit wherever you’d like. You can come alone; you can come with a group of friends. You can really make your own night of it.”

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