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It's official -- Boal to be new PNB AD


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 07:34 PM

This just in:

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET ANNOUNCES NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR


SEATTLE, WA - Cathi Hatch, Pacific Northwest Ballet's Chairman of the Board, announced today that Peter Boal has been selected as the new artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet. After nearly two years of transition planning and an international search, PNB's governing Board of Trustees accepted the formal recommendation of the Search Committee, chaired by trustee Carl Behnke, to name Peter Boal as PNB Artistic Director. Boal will succeed Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, who have led PNB and the PNB School since 1977; the couple will retire at the end of the 2004-2005 Season.

"Peter's exceptional achievements as an artist, his strength of character and his impressive entrepreneurial spirit made a very positive impression with all participants in the search process," said Mr. Behnke. "Peter's connection to the same Balanchine tradition that shaped Kent and Francia's artistic vision is a very compelling aspect of his background, as is his deep commitment to dance education and his thorough understanding of dancers as artists. We are very pleased and excited that Peter has accepted the challenge of leading Pacific Northwest Ballet." Mr. Boal is expected to retire from New York City Ballet in early June. He has been working with Mr. Stowell and Ms. Russell to compose PNB's 2005-2006 Season, and will assume full Artistic Directorship of PNB on July 1, 2005.

"Peter has had an impressive career as both dancer and teacher and is taking on the daunting task of leading a major arts institution at the perfect time in his life," said Mr. Stowell and Ms. Russell. "He is a man of intelligence, sensitivity and integrity and has made clear his respect for the people and traditions of PNB. Getting to know him through the Search process has convinced us that we are leaving the Company and School we love so much in the best possible hands. We will continue to be a resource in any way we can for both Peter and PNB."

Said Boal: "I am deeply honored to receive the opportunity to be the Artistic Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet. Over the past six months, I have watched 43 brilliant dancers triumph in a rich repertoire, under the selfless guidance of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell. I am eager to work with Kent, Francia, D. David Brown and the many individuals who compose the PNB community, to ensure a smooth and exciting transition for this great institution. The success of this world class company deserves to be honored with success in the future."

Selected from a group of nearly 50 initial applicants which was subsequently narrowed down to five semi-finalists, Mr. Boal, age 39, was selected as the lead candidate October 2 after extensive interviews and work in the studio with PNB's company dancers. Mr. Boal received high marks during this process, which was established by PNB's Artistic Director Search Committee. The Search Committee is comprised of PNB leadership Trustees, Artistic Directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell and Executive Director D. David Brown. It is assisted by two advisory panels which include dancers, musicians, administrative staff, trustees and community leaders. Mr. Boal returned to Seattle during the third week of October to engage in further discussions with PNB's Artistic Director Search Committee, meet with PNB's Board of Trustees, and have another opportunity to meet with PNB's company dancers.

Over the course of two years of planning and meetings, the search committee identified several hallmark attributes that define PNB and which would, ideally, be reflected in and compatible with the skills and experience of its new artistic leader. These attributes include a creative and imaginative individual able to challenge and inspire PNB artistically, a deep commitment to dance education and ensuring the strong positive symbiotic relationship between the company and its school, and an individual who has varied experience in performance and choreography as well as demonstrated ability to direct a ballet company. "Peter embodies all of these attributes and more," said Hatch. "Our dancers had a very positive experience with him in the studio and were quite taken with his passion and respect for ballet."

Mr. Boal is highly respected in the dance world. Tobi Tobias of The Village Voice describes Mr. Boal as "a paragon of classicism. Both his stellar dancing and his teaching of the School of American Ballet's rising generation are lessons in purity, exactitude, and refinement."

About Peter Boal:

Currently a Principal with the New York City Ballet, Peter Boal became a member of New York City Ballet's corps de ballet in 1983 and became a Soloist four years later. In 1989 he was promoted to the rank of Principal.

Mr. Boal has been featured in numerous ballets including many of the works of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins, as well as numerous others. Mr. Boal's television appearances include Dance in America's "Balanchine in America" performing Western Symphony and "The Balanchine Celebration" performing Agon, the Live From Lincoln Center broadcast of "New York City Ballet's Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography," dancing in Red Angels; and the May, 2004 Live From Lincoln Center broadcast of "Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100," dancing in Duo Concertant.



In addition to touring with New York City Ballet, Mr. Boal has performed as a Principal Dancer with a number of National and International companies. In 1996, Mr. Boal was a recipient of the Dance Magazine Award, and in 2000, he received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his solo performance in Molissa Fenley's State of Darkness.



Mr. Boal has been maintaining full-time faculty member responsibilities at the internationally respected School of American Ballet since 1997, and has been particularly effective as a role model for and teacher of young men aspiring to be professional dancers. Mr. Boal recently founded and directs "Peter Boal and Company", a group of four NYCB dancers that commission new choreography and revivals. Having premiered this past March, the group has since performed at the Joyce Theater in Manhattan, Jacob's Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts and the Biennale in Venice, Italy.

Mr. Boal is married to former New York City Ballet Soloist Kelly Cass and the couple has two sons, Sebastian and Oliver, and one daughter, Sarah.


ABOUT PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET
Founded in 1972 and under the artistic guidance of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell since 1977, Pacific Northwest Ballet is one the largest and most highly regarded ballet companies in the United States. The Company of forty-three dancers presents over ninety performances each year of full-length and mixed repertory ballets at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall and on tour. The Company has toured to Europe, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, and throughout the United States with celebrated appearances in Washington D.C. and New York City. Pacific Northwest Ballet School, under the direction of Ms. Russell, is nationally recognized as setting the standard for ballet training offering a complete professional curriculum to over 850 students. PNB also provides comprehensive dance education to the greater Seattle area reaching over 10,000 adults and children each year through DanceChance, Discover Dance, Bravo!Ballet and other outreach programs and activities.


Pacific Northwest Ballet's 2004-2005 Season is supported in part by James and Sherry Raisbeck, ArtsFund, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, PONCHO, 4Culture King County Lodging Tax, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington State Arts Commission, and JetBlue Airways. New works and acquisitions during Pacific Northwest Ballet's 2004-2005 Season are supported in part by the Glenn Kawasaki New Works Fund.

#2 Michael

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 07:15 AM

What is so very encouraging about this, is that: (1) Peter merits the job -- He's the best possible choice; and, (2) It is also the first instance within recent years of anyone being promoted to an Artistic Director's position at a major company who is not merely an example of mediocrity, gilded by ambition, employing political means to grab a big chunk of the good things of this world for himself and his or her mediocre friends.

Peter has character. He is open hearted, open minded, intelligent, balanced, fair, cultured, personally charming, patient, but absolutely nobody's fool. He suffers fools patiently but not gladly. He is personally secure , has no chip on his shoulder and comes to the position without the psychological needs "to get even" with others for lack of recognition in the past, or for abuse suffered in his own career, that have been so crippling in so many other A.Ds. Because he has the talent for the job, and is recognized for that, he can exercise those talents securely.

My Gosh this is rare in the world at this moment or any time. One has to savor moments like this. One is so used to seeing the opposite happen. We will all look forward to seeing this company on his Watch.

#3 BW

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 07:21 AM

Michael, you've expressed it so well - thank you. I only wish I were living out in the pacific northwest so I could be there to see it all taking place. NYCB's and, even more so now, SAB's loss is surely PNB's gain.

#4 Michael

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 07:46 AM

More specific thoughts on this:

First, from the experience of him as a teacher at SAB for years now, it's clear Peter can pretty much step into the shoes of company Ballet Master in Chief without missing a beat, that he is perfectly ready to oversee the company's school, dancing and style and to nurture and bring along dancers. In this area, PNB can be assured it's got a finishished package.

Where the AD's fund raising, P.R. and administrative duties are concerned (a large part of the job description) he has less first hand experience of "doing," but plenty of experience of living inside a system so as to know what is to be done, and there is also every reason to have confidence here that he'll hit the ground running, particulary after the transition period.

Where Peter Boal has pretty much no experience is in Staging, Producing and Directing Ballets. (I don't know much about PNB's rep besides the Balanchine, and I'd be interested as to what else is there historically). Here is the biggest blank area and potential for his development and the biggest unknown quantity. I would bet he will go slowly here, relying upon others to steward the repertory at first and, in the Balanchine, relying upon his Ballet Mastering to illuminate that repertory from the inside as it were.

#5 carbro

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 01:53 AM

Of course it cannot approach the scale of the task ahead, Michael, but don't forget that he's had his own little troupe for a few years, for which he's chosen rep and rehearsed his dancers. And I'm sure he's done a bit of fundraising, as well. In that regard, I assume that he will inherit PNB's development team that's served l'ancienne regime.

#6 Helene

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 07:46 PM

I've just resurfaced in Adelaide for a quick pause in an internet cafe called "Kosher Coffee," and I can't begin to say what a great Thanksgiving gift it was to read that Peter Boal's appointment -- and acceptance!!!! -- is official. If there was one word used consistently about Boal since the semi-finalists were announced, it was "integrity." We in Seattle have much to be thankful for.

#7 Helene

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:59 AM

This is a link to an interview with Peter Boal for the School of American Ballet Newletter.

I think it will be fascinating to see how he develops the school that Russell built. And, maybe he can complete his BA through the Seattle University program that has a program with PNB.

#8 justafan

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 04:30 PM

What a lovely interview -- I teared up reading it. Peter Boal truly is a fine, soulful man. Seattle is lucky to have him and we will miss him in New York. We can only hope he brings PNB on tour often and that he never breaks his ties to NYCB and SAB.

#9 Hans

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 09:57 AM

Wonderful article dirac has posted regarding this. Here is my favorite quote:

Boal has no intention, at the moment, of choreographing.

:blink: Finally--an AD with both intelligence and humility! (Not that I doubt that his ballets, should he choose to make any in the future, would be anything less than lovely and tasteful.) I'm sure he will be as appreciated and revered by everyone at PNB as he was at SAB/NYCB. :lol:

#10 Helene

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 10:45 AM

I stopped at the part where it said he was dancing Duo Concertante at the gala on 17 September -- with Louise Nadeau, and I think they'll make a beautiful pair in this ballet -- and went online immediately to buy tickets.

The confirmation screen said:

Section: unassigned

Seats: row 1, seats 22,23.

Fearing that this meant the first row of the theater, I called the box office. The gala will be General Admission, and the row and seats on the website are just a "feature" of the ticketing system. Tickets won't be sent until the end of August.

(Just in case anyone else plans to order tickets through the website.)

#11 GeorgeB fan

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 03:10 PM

Just finish reading the article dirac posted. You people in Seattle are such lucky dogs!!!! It's clear, at least to me, that Peter Boal is going to do your company and your city proud!! If none of you seen him perform in Duo Concertante you are in for a wonderful treat!!! Oh Mr. Boal you left us New Yorkers far too so!!! :off topic:

#12 BalletIsLife

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 07:29 PM

the possibility of suzanne farrell staging for PNB is good to hear... here's hoping that more companies see the value in using her....


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