sandik

Pacific Northwest Ballet - more dancers leaving

48 posts in this topic

It's the traditional contract time, and the company has announced several changes for the 08-09 season.

Probably the biggest one is that Noelani Pactastico will be leaving for the Monte Carlo company. She's been with PNB for about 10 years, and feels that if she's going to make a change, she should do it while she still has a significant amount of career time left.

Three dancers are leaving the corps:

Rebecca Johnston (at PNB since 98) completed a college degree through PNB’s Second Stage program and is thinking of grad school. Brittany Reid is retiring, and Kara Zimmerman is going to Cincinnati Ballet as a soloist.

On the hiring side of things, William Lin-Yee will be joining the corps. He was with City Ballet 2005-07, and is originally from the Bay Area. The company is also bringing on several apprentices, including Sean Rollofson, who was a bug in their film of Midsummer Night's Dream...

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I'm counting on BT's Seattle contingent to keep us posted on Will Lin-Yee's progress. New York's loss is Seattle's considerable gain.

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It's a good thing that there isn't a weeping icon, with Pantastico and three of my favorite corps members leaving...

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I'm sad as well -- it's been a blast to watch Pantastico's career develop, and I will miss the next stages.

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It's a good thing that there isn't a weeping icon....

I don't need the icon, I did weep (my wife was amazed that there could actually be tears welling up in my eyes as I told her about Neolani's departure). There is only one other PNB dancer whose leaving could affect me so personally. Neolani Pantasico has been my ideal "princess" dancer. No one else in the company can capture like Neolani the sweetness, femininity, grace, and youth demanded in certain roles -- her portrayal of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and Juliette in the recent R&J (Malliot) spring immediately to mind.

Part of ballet for me is the magical world of pristine perfection and other-worldliness that only this art form can deliver on such a powerful emotional level. Tears are coming again as I think back on the utter perfection of Neolani's Juliette. I remember an audience member (a somewhat older man, clearly well educated in the arts) in a Q&A session after one of the R&J performances stated that he had seen many performances of R&J, particularly Shakespeare on stage, but had never truly felt the emotions we associate with the tragedy of this young, innocent woman until that night. I suspect he is as grateful for Neolani's talent to create such iconic characters as I, a ballet fanatic, am.

It's a tribute to Neolani that the stagers Malliot sent from Monte Carlo to teach R&J to PNB (and perhaps Malliot himself when he flew out to see PNB's stellar rendition of his piece) saw/felt her talent and wanted her for themselves. More power to you Monte Carlo.....you chose well.

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It's always sad when the local company loses or has to give up a beloved dancer (or dancers). Good luck to each of these performers.

Re: Pantastico's new opportunities. According to the Ballets de Monte Carlo website, they are dancing in San Francisco as we speak.

When I saw their version of Sleeping Beauty last summer ("Belle") they seemed to have 2 senior ballerinas, Bernice Coppieters and Paola Cantalupo, who are remarkably effective and expressive performers with more than adequate ballet technique for this choreography.

The 2 companies are roughly equal in size. Although PNB has a much more varied and challenging repertoire, Ballets de Monte-Carlo tours widely, spends lots of time at their home base on the French Riviera, and has a season or two each year in Paris. Not bad! :smilie_mondieu:

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In a Q & A session Peter Boal said he was able to talk Brittany Reid out of retiring.

Also, in my 8 Encores e-mail this morning, there are 2 other dancers who are leaving. I don't know if they are retiring or moving on.

Your very last chance to see departing principal dancers Noelani Pantastico and Casey Herd and corps de ballet dancers Rebecca Johnston, Kara Zimmerman, Alison Basford and Adrienne Diaz on stage with PNB!

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Yay for Boal! That's great news about Brittany Reid.

Diaz just joined the company in 2006. I didn't know that she and Basford were leaving, but I was thinking the other day that I haven't seen much of Basford lately.

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Has there been any offical word as to where Allison Basford is going?

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I was thinking the other day that I haven't seen much of Basford lately.

Alison Basford has been dealing with major injuries for the past two years. She discussed this in an interview on the PNB Unleashed Website. (PNB Unleashed Interview with Alison Basford)

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I was thinking the other day that I haven't seen much of Basford lately.

Alison Basford has been dealing with major injuries for the past two years. She discussed this in an interview on the PNB Unleashed Website. (PNB Unleashed Interview with Alison Basford)

Oh thanks! I'd missed that one.

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Alison Basford will be joining Boston Ballet next season. It was announced at the staff/donor party following the Eight Encores performance this past Sunday.

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Congratulations to her! We want to hear reports about her from Boston Balletgoers :clapping:

From her PNB Unleashed profile, it sounded like she's recovered from her injuries, and I'm very glad she's going to continue her career.

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On the hiring side of things... The company is also bringing on several apprentices...

According to this post on the Ballet Talk for Dancers forum, among the new apprentices will be Kyle Davis, one of the winners at Prix de Lausanne 2008.

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From "Director's Notebook" (p.3) in the Director's Choice issue of "Encore":

"At the end of every season we must bid farewell to a few dancers. We applaud them for so many treasured performances and wish them well on the next chapter in their lives. I spent more years proudly sharing the stage with Miranda Weese than watching her on ours. She is one of the most musical dancers I have ever seen, with an innate sense of what each note requires. She has given spectacular performances on both coasts and we wish her only the best for the future.

"It is with sadness that I offer my support to Jodie Thomas' decision to move to Copenhagen to dance for the Royal Danish Ballet. Watching Jodie blossom as a dancer over the past four years has been rewarding for all. I will not forget her star turns in Rubies, Carousel, and countless other roles. Watching her poignant portrayal of the Nurse in Romeo et Juliette was to see the artist born. We wish that artist more great heights in the next phase of a wonderful career.

"My final words are for Louise Nadeau, who pulled out all the stops in a Swan Lake after a season that did not deserve injuries. We will savor her performances in this program. She has consistently elevated this company for nineteen years with her artistry and talent. We will miss her on the stage and thank her for so many vivid beautiful memories."

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From "Director's Notebook" (p.3) in the Director's Choice issue of "Encore":

"At the end of every season we must bid farewell to a few dancers. We applaud them for so many treasured performances and wish them well on the next chapter in their lives. I spent more years proudly sharing the stage with Miranda Weese than watching her on ours. She is one of the most musical dancers I have ever seen, with an innate sense of what each note requires. She has given spectacular performances on both coasts and we wish her only the best for the future.

Had Miranda Weese's departure been reported before? Is she going to dance somewhere else or is she retiring?

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Had Miranda Weese's departure been reported before? Is she going to dance somewhere else or is she retiring?

Although I'm not surprised -- performances by Weese have been relatively scarce this year -- this was the first I'd seen it reported, and no one asked at last night's Q&A.

Weese is scheduled tonight for Girl in Green and First Movement of "Symphony in C", for Girl in Pink for this Saturday matinee, next Thursday and Friday, and again next Saturday night in "Symphony in C" and Sunday matinee as Girl in Green. Perhaps she'll be a guest at an upcoming Q&A and will answer for herself.

No casting is up yet for the Louise Nadeau tribute a week from Sunday night, except where Nadeau will dance. I'm guessing "Rubies" for Jodie Thomas, and either the Sleepwalker Pas de Deux from "La Sonnambula" or "A Midsummer Night's Dream", which is not listed on the website but is printed on the back of the cast insert, for Weese, the latter if it's the Act II Pas de Deux, although that could be Nadeau as well. (The cast list didn't highlight where Nadeau would dance.)

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Enjoy Weese in Symphony in C. She was always wonderful in the first movement. She was the dancer I always wanted to see in that, but she eventually moved on (leaving it to Somogyi, Ringer and Stafford) as she took on new roles.

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The "bon voyage" insert in last night's program (which was quite sweet) also listed Anton Pankevitch as leaving the company, but no information on what he might be doing next. He's moved around a great deal, considering that he's only been professional for about 10 years), and I'm not sure why.

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Was there a separate insert that was skipped in my program? (I'll have to track one down tonight.)

I'll miss Pankevitch. He's given a number of fine performances over the years he's been with the Company. I hope he gets wonderful opportunities in whatever he does next.

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There was a separate insert, glossy paper and full color, but not a complete half-sheet. The front is a lovely statement from Russell and Stowell about Jodie T, the reverse has both Weese and Pankevitch on it, with a NYT quote for Weese and some general remarks on Pankevitch.

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According to the announcement on the PNB Facebook page, "Pacific Northwest Ballet corps de ballet dancer Kari Brunson Announces Departure to Pursue Restaurant Career."

This is the announcement:

Seattle, WA
– In an emotional announcement to the Company, corps de ballet member Kari Brunson announced yesterday that after nine years of dancing, she will be leaving Pacific Northwest Ballet, effective immediately, to pursue a career in the food industry. Brunson, who for two years has been documenting her experiences as a self-taught cook – and food photographer – in her food blog Anticiplate, will be apprenticing in the kitchens of renowned Seattle chef and restaurateur Ethan Stowell.

During the PNB dancers’ recent summer break, Brunson interned at Stowell’s newest restaurant, Anchovies & Olives, and documented the experience in a second blog, Summer Spoon. That experience led Stowell to offer her the chance of-a-lifetime opportunity to apprentice at his restaurants. "I never thought I would find anything in my life that would satisfy my soul like ballet,” said Brunson in her announcement. “Yet, after working in the Anchovies & Olives kitchen over the summer, I realized that I had found a new love. The same parts of me are fulfilled: the preparation before the ‘show,’ the ‘performance,’ and most importantly, the spontaneous creativity. I know I have a massive amount of hard work ahead of me to start a new profession, and I am excited for this challenge."

Ethan Stowell was named one of the “Best New Chefs” of 2008 by Food & Wine magazine; however, he made his debut on the Seattle food scene a few years earlier, with his first restaurant Union (“Best New American Restaurants,” Travel + Leisure, December 2004). His second venture, Tavolàta, was chosen as one of the top ten “Hottest New Restaurants” by Bon Appétit (June 2007) and he has most recently opened in quick succession the popular and acclaimed How to Cook a Wolf and Anchovies & Olives. Mr. Stowell is the son of PNB Founding Artistic Directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell.

Kari Brunson is from Salem, Virginia. She trained at Southwest Virginia Ballet, the School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 2002 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2003. At PNB she has originated leading roles in Kiyon Gaines’ M-Pulse and Susan Stroman’s TAKE FIVE … More or Less. She has also danced leading roles in George Balanchine's Emeralds, Rubies, and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; Ulysses Dove's Vespers; William Forsythe's One Flat Thing, reproduced; Susan Marshall's Kiss; Jerome Robbins' The Concert and Fancy Free; Kent Stowell's Nutcracker (Peacock); and Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs. Featured roles have included George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, The Four Temperaments, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and La Valse; Todd Bolender's Souvenirs; Trisha Brown's Spanish Dance; William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated; Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow and The Sleeping Beauty; and Kent Stowell's Swan Lake.

“I have known Kari Brunson since she was a slightly awkward, sweet student of mine at the School of American Ballet in New York,” said PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal. “Arriving at PNB, I found something very compelling about Kari on stage. I took a chance on her with Susan Marshall's Kiss that I have never regretted. Her stage presence exuded rare confidence, making her a favorite with audiences. She became a first-rate dancer on all fronts, one that we will most definitely miss. We wish her all the best in the world of culinary arts and know that we will keep her as a dear friend of PNB.”

http://www.pnb.org/Press/Releases/

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For those of us who have followed Kari's food blogs, it is clear the passion Kari has for high quality, artistically presented cuisine made with only the freshest of ingredients. She has been working at Ethan Stowell's newest restaurant "Anchovies & Olives" this summer and loved it. We're going to miss her direct and sometimes sexy dance, but her blogs make it very clear that she will now be in another field she loves.

Take a look at the photos (which she takes herself) of some of the dishes she creates here: http://www.anticiplate.com

I have little doubt we in Seattle will someday take out of town guests to Kari Brunson's own restaurant. Maybe she will call it something like Pirouette or some other ballet based name, and we can all eat there and say "Who could forget Kari in Take Five."

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Or in "Kiss" or as the American dowager tourist in "The Merry Widow"?

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Or in "Kiss"

Indeed!

Hmmmmm...Kiss another possibility for a restaurant name :speechless-smiley-003:.

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