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What to do in Pittsburgh this weekend: March 22-24

Women in costumes dance on a stage.
Antoine DeBrill
Ragamala Dance Company performs "Sacred Earth" on Thu., March 21, at the Byham Theater.

Watch the Pittsburgh International Dance Film Festival, see a film about the Wall Street GameStop debacle or visit the new Heinz History Center exhibit "A Woman's Place: How Women Shaped Pittsburgh" — here's what to do in Pittsburgh this weekend.

Ragamala Dance Company, a venerable Minneapolis-based troupe practicing India’s oldest classical dance form, bharatanatyam, comes to Pittsburgh. Co-artistic directors and mother-and-daughter team Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy offer “Sacred Earth,” a show about the interconnectedness of human emotions and the environments that shape them, inspired by kolam and Warli painting and Tamil Sangam literature. Four dancers in traditional costume are joined by live vocalists and musicians for the Thu., March 21, show at the Byham Theater.

Dance (on Film)
The Pittsburgh International Dance Film Festival is Pittsburgh’s lone international dance-film festival. Organized by Shana Simmons Dance, it features 20 shorts from around the world with a specialty in filmed dances site-specific to public artworks. Opening night — Thu., March 21, at the Oaks Theater — features special “Constructed Sight” films from Spain, Portugal and Australia, plus two set in local historic buildings: Downtown’s Frick Building and Homestead’s Monongahela Trust Company. There’s also live music, live dance, and selected films from the online festival, which continues through April 7.

Comedian and Pittsburgh native Ron Placone, known for his wry political wit, returns with his debut feature film. “Left At Wall,” inspired by the Wall Street GameStop debacle, follows John Saber (Placone), a guy who in the midst of a life crisis concocts a scheme to solve his problems. The indie comedy gets its Pittsburgh premiere Fri., March 22, at the Parkway Theater & Film Lounge, in McKees Rocks.

A major new exhibit at the Heinz History Center spotlights women’s roles in Western Pennsylvania over the past two centuries. “A Woman’s Place: How Women Shaped Pittsburgh” includes some 250 artifacts, plus immersive experiences and archival images telling the stories of everyone from pioneering journalist Nellie Bly and local suffragists to real-life Rosie the Riveters, scientists, Olympic athletes and the woman-led National Negro Opera Company. The exhibit opens Sat., March 23, and continues into October.

One of the nation’s most acclaimed authors and journalists visits Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures at the newly renovated — and just reopened — Carnegie Music Hall, in Oakland. Tracy Kidder (“Among Schoolchildren”), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, arrives on the heels of his new book, “Rough Sleepers,” about a doctor who serves Boston’s homeless community. Kidder’s talk is Mon., March 25.

Exiled Ukrainian writer Olena Boryshpolets and exiled Algerian writer Anouar Rahmani met while living on the North Side, as writers-in-residence at City of Asylum. They bonded over the barriers language — specifically, English — posed to their aspirations. Now they’ve written a play on the immigrant experience. It’s titled “Sorry, I Don’t Understanding,” and it stars Boryshpolets and Rahmani. It premieres Mon., March 25, with a free performance at Alphabet City.

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: