Arts & Entertainment

Changes, Challenges at Historic Pittsburgh Performing Group

The Tamburitzans cultural performing group has been entertaining audiences for over 80 years. But their future is uncertain after Duquesne University severed ties, and financial support.

Dancing, singing, "first class" entertainment, and the chance to learn something about Pittsburgh's cultural past and present. That's what the world-renowned Tamburitzans have been doing for more than 80 years, making them the longest-running multicultural song and dance company in the United States. These days this Pittsburgh-based group has a brand new look -- and a big challenge that threatens the organization's future.

The new look comes from the Tamburitzans' new Artistic Director Butch Kresovich who is an alum and worked at Disney. He's added new costumes, lighting and special effects. "Our show is more contemporary lighter feeling," explained Kresovich. "You want to maintain the authenticity, but you want to make it entertainment. That's a constant balancing act." The group has also added numbers that reflect other cultures, like an Irish dance and a French cafe number.

"First Class!" Vegas Entertainment

Now the challenge. Since the group's inception, the "Tammies," as they're fondly known, have been associated with Duquesne University. Two years ago that relationship ended, and this season is the group's first without any financial subsidies from Duquesne. That's left a $200,000 hole in their budget, creating uncertainty for the group and it's student performers like Anka Gataric (a North Allegheny grad) and Stevan Bajich who benefit from college scholarships.

While the Tamburitzans welcome donations, what they really want is for you to come see one of their shows. You can find a full list of performances at the Tamburitzans' website , and you can donate there too.

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