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About Helene

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  • Birthday January 1

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  1. Misty Copeland is on a book tour during ABT's week off: her newest book is "Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger and More Graceful You." We were lucky to hear her speak at Meany Hall at the University of Washington; her appearance was organized by the UW Alumni Association. It was packed, and many people, including lots of young dancers, had her book. Professor Valerie Curtis-Newton, the Head of Performance, Directing, and Acting at the UW School of Drama interviewed Copeland and selected questions that had been submitted. Copeland must have been asked many of the same questions many times, but her answers sounded spontaneous and fresh. She spoke with a lot of emotion and passion, and it was a privilege to be there.
  2. Thank you so everyone who contributed to the next year of Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers We've reached our goal, thanks to you
  3. A short video with choreographer Jessica Lang discussing a painting by Georgia O'Keefe at Seattle Art Museum and O'Keefe's influence on her: https://www.facebook.com/PNBallet/posts/10154686931368952
  4. Rebecca King and Michael Sean Breeden has interviewed Kathryn Morgan for their podcast, "Conversations on Dance": http://conversationsondancepod.com/2017/03/13/kathryn-morgan-former-new-york-city-ballet-soloist/ She's getting married this May: congratulations to her and her future husband
  5. King and Breeden ask really good questions, and they did their homework.
  6. Rebecca King and Michael Sean Breeden interviewed Peter Boal for their podcast "Conversations on Dance": http://conversationsondancepod.com/2017/03/06/peter-boal-artistic-director-of-pacific-northwest-ballet/ It's fascinating, not your average bear.
  7. Out of sight, but never out of mind: in the "Lightening Round" in his recent interview with Michael Sean Breeden and Rebecca King, Fabrice Calmels named Carla Korbes as his dream partner: http://conversationsondancepod.com/2017/02/27/fabrice-calmels-joffrey-ballet-principal-dancer/
  8. A video from PNB, with Leta Biasucci and Benjamin Griffiths speaking about "Empire Noir" and working with David Dawson and clips from the ballet: https://www.facebook.com/PNBallet/videos/vb.21358443951/10154683943188952/
  9. PNB is waiving the handling fee on tickets to this week's performances of "Director's Choice": https://www.pnb.org/mypromo/?promo=suite
  10. Here's the press release: Pixvana Studies Dance Movements in VR with Pacific Northwest Ballet Seattle, WA — Pixvana partnered with the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) to explore the unprecedented possibilities for dance and performance within virtual reality (VR), resulting in the 3-minute VR film Silent Resonance. Directed by Pixvana’s Creative Director and CTO Scott Squires, the film’s eponymous ballet was choreographed by PNB Company dancer Price Suddarth and features PNB dancers Emma Love Suddarth and Miles Pertl. Silent Resonance debuted at PNB’s fundraising event “Pointe to the Stars” on March 9; it is coming soon to Steam and is available now on YouTube 360 and Facebook 360. PNB’s first VR experience, Silent Resonance is the result of Artistic Director Peter Boal’s effort to leverage technology to reach new audiences. Squires and the Pixvana team approached the project as an exploration of movement in dance, as well as an opportunity to test the software tools that Pixvana is developing for VR content creators. Shooting in a PNB studio, the Pixvana team worked with Suddarth to optimize the choreography for VR – keeping the dancers in specific zones to avoid disrupting stitch lines, and keeping the dancers an optimal distance from the camera. Reimagining Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies from the late 1800s, Squires then utilized a special echo effect that visualizes Suddarth’s choreography. The raw, lyrical pas de deux slowly intensifies with three mirrored versions of the dancers throughout the 360 view. Silent Resonance was finished with Pixvana's SPIN Publish platform, which enables ultra-high quality VR video encoding and delivery. The final result is a meditative, ethereal experience. (To view a behind-the-scenes video on the making-of Silent Resonance, click here.) “I’ve been interested in doing a ballet project for VR for a while now and PNB was an ideal partner – they were so excited about the technology and its potential to bring a fresh perspective to the arts,” said Squires. “It’s a great way to achieve a more intimate experience with your audience, reach new people outside of the Seattle area, and create visuals that would be impossible to match on a traditional stage.” “I took inspiration for this work from the virtual reality concept itself,” explained choreographer Suddarth. “In VR, the intention is to immerse the viewer entirely into a different world. With that idea in mind, I sought out to create a short work that provided the viewer a glimpse into the mind of a dancer. In the piece you see the struggle, the conflict, the joy, and the complex beauty that is the heart and soul of a dancer.” (To read more of Suddarth’s interview, click here.) “We are excited about the doors this collaboration opens,” said PNB’s Boal. “We’re seeing one art form enhance another and the sum total is inspiring. Innovative choreography and exquisite dancers are seen in a new light, through a new lens, and by new audiences.” Pixvana Inc. is pioneering a cloud-based platform for virtual and augmented reality. The company is Seattle-based and venture backed by Madrona Venture Group and Vulcan Capital. Pixvana’s founders have proven startup success in media technology, and hail from senior product and engineering leadership roles at Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, and Lucasfilm. For more information visit Pixvana.com.
  11. I'm not confusing him with his brother, because I was thrilled when Isaac Hernandez got great opportunities in Europe. Maybe I saw Estebam on video, then. I remember asking someone to ID him among the men. ("Him!")
  12. I remember seeing him in a small male ensemble the last time I saw San Francisco Ballet, which had to be four or five years ago, and being really impressed with him.
  13. "Empire Noir" is generally described as "dark," but I see intensity rather than darkness, and it's one of those rare ballets where the music, set, costumes, and choreography are so beautifully integrated, any missing piece would diminish the work. Ice dancers around the world should be flocking to David Dawson's door to design their lifts for their exhibitions. Without "Slingerland Duet (which we'll see as a stand-alone next season), the progression of the music and choreography of "New Suite"' was so perfectly balanced and concise, it was almost Apollonian. Handel 4, especially when danced by Imler and Porretta, brings the work full circle, informed by the pieces that come before. While the Dawson got the standing ovation, "New Suite" showed why Forsythe is the Master, and Dawson, in his boyish 40's, is still Grasshopper. I much preferred seeing "Her Door to the Sky" from the Gallery Upper (on the border of the Dress Circle) to be able to see the patterns and tableaus. I love Britten's "Simple Symphony," and I thought the work was strongest in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th movements. I wasn't convinced that the choreography in the 3rd movement was up to the long, intense adagio, although Ricard Orza was beautiful in it, and it had some inspired moments. Anything in which Iliesiu is featured is a giant plus for me -- lucky for us that she was the Friday night post-performance Q&A guest -- and Rachel Foster in the Saturday night cast looked radiant. In one of the earlier post-performance Q&A's, Peter Boal said that Doug Fullington would record a version of his pre-performance lecture as a podcast for each program in which there was a lecture. I especially enjoyed the live one from Saturday night. And Josh Grant, after dancing in all three ballets in the evening and at least one in the matinee, was a delightful post-performance Q&A guest: you'd never have known that he had just completed the equivalent of the Boston Marathon.
  14. While big transitions are risky, this isn't a disruptive changing of the guard and/or company style: all of the retiring dancers are Tomasson hires. It's a great opportunity to see younger dancers and longer-term/senior corps dancers who haven't been given the roles before step up to the plate. Their performances won't be the same as the beloved veteran dancers, but it's an exciting place to be when you have the depth that SFB has and a bit of a vacuum. I also would count on Tomasson continuing to make key "acquisitions" to supplement the roster, since dancing in San Francisco is such a plum job, and there's a frightening amount of talent out there, including, but not exclusively, people trained at the SFB School. Plus our girl Jahna will only get better and better
  15. Since we launched the fundraiser at the beginning of the month, we've received generous support from long-time supporters, a few old friends -- we miss you -- and a few new members and first-time donors. We even have the frustration from someone whose country/currency isn't supported by PayPal . And we thank you all. To everyone else reading, including people who primarily or exclusively use dirac's comprehensive Links as a daily source of ballet- and dance-related news: Our amazon commissions have dropped precipitously: when we had a sudden price increase five-six years ago, they covered 20-25% of our yearly expenses, and with expenses almost the same now, they now cover only a little over 5%. (And we do thank the people who earn us that .) There are a few factors: ad-blockers. more people using mobile where the amazon search widget is a slog to find, amazon's successful strategy of getting us to click buttons to buy from their devices and apps, and, dang it, a dearth of new ballet books and DVDs. (YouTube is our great frenemy.) BA! is lagging behind BT4T (proportional to the resources we use), and we need your help to close out this year's fundraiser. We are *not* talking to the people who've already been so generous, nor do we mean people for whom this would be a hardship. We've raised just enough to make to Thanksgiving, and we need to cover through March 2019 in order to not make this a semi-yearly effort. (We shudder to think...) We are grateful for any amount, because a lot of small donations add up, and as soon as we reach our goal, we can stop sounding like your local NPR station.