Helene

New Works

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PNB has published a video about its upcoming "New Works" program (6-16 Nov) on You Tube, and it appears on the PNB site:

http://www.pnb.org/season/newworks.html

The subject is Kiyon Gaines' newest work, "M-Pulse". In addition to rehearsal scenes and comments from the dancers, Gaines speaks about his choreographic process for the work and how he got its score.

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Interesting that Kiyon seems to be pretty much the same person on and off stage (to use the dancer's most frequent word in this video: energy).

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Casting is up for the first week:

http://www.pnb.org/season/newworks-cast.html

A Garden (Morris): six women, six men. Same cast for all four performances, with the exception of Nadeau and Korbes sharing a role.

M-Pulse (Gaines): five men, five women. Same cast for all four performances.

3 Movements (Millepied): eight men, eight women. Same cast for all four performances.

One flat thing reproduced (Forsythe): six women, eight men. Two casts.

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I like the little film on the Forsythe piece, which starts with the announcement that, at its first performances last March, an average of 10 people per performance walked out, while thirty complained to management. So, the video tells us, PNB has decided to do it again. :)

Controversy has been banished from most ballet companies' repertories in the U.S. for many decades. Good luck to Boal and PNB for making a move in the opposite direction.

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Thanks for noting the new (additional) video, bart.

I think I'm going to like this, but crack me up over this quote:

Forsythe compares "One Flat Thing..." to Balanchine's "Symphony in C" . He says, "It's the exact same principles except we're no longer dealing with that classic symmetry. These alignments have been distributed evenly throughout the entire field of vision...a cloud of alignments.

I thought one of the main principles of "Symphony in C" is classic symmetry.

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Thanks Helene for getting this up -- I'm looking forward to the program, particularly the Morris and the Forsythe. I was at a showing for the Seattle Dance Project this afternoon and heard Heidi Vierthaler (hope this is the right spelling -- I'm too lazy to check it right now) speak (she's making a work for their January show). She worked with Forsythe as he made the shift from Ballet F to his own company and had lots to say about his working practices -- I want to watch One Flat Thing with her comments in mind.

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Heidi Vierthaler (hope this is the right spelling)....

Yes, that is correct.

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Week 2 casting is up:

http://www.pnb.org/season/newworks-cast.html

and with the nice surprise that three of the apprentices will make their debuts in featured roles:

Andrew Bartee and Kyle Davis, in "A Garden" (Thurs-Fri, 13-14 Nov)

Margaret Mullin, in "3 Movements" (Fri, Sun, 14, 16 Nov)

along with Thomas, Foster, Lowenberg, and Postlewaite in "A Garden", Rausch in "M-Pulse", and Anspach in "One Flat Thing Reproduced".

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...

The subject is Kiyon Gaines' newest work, "M-Pulse". In addition to rehearsal scenes and comments from the dancers, Gaines speaks about his choreographic process for the work and how he got its score.

I was lucky enough to see this in rehearsal last week. Yes, it is energetic(!), but it's also very good, at least to my eye. Hard to tell a lot from a studio rehearsal of course, but it connected with me more than the Morris portion that we also saw. I liked the continuity, the way it keeps moving, and the way the connection with the music is always there. Looking forward to the performance and curious to see what the critics have to say.

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I'm a big fan of Gaines's choreography. I predict big things will come from him over the years. One day we will remember that it started here in Seattle.

P.S. I go tonight! Yea!

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This will be first impressions. My head was still in "Dr. Atomic" from the morning when I attended yesterday's matinee, and attending the opera and getting out of Pacific Place parking made me miss the first half of "A Garden". (Note to self: park in one of the surface lots to get out quickly.)

Two things struck me most about "A Garden": the amount of pointe work and the amount of petite allegro, the most I've seen in any new work in an age. The odd thing was how static the work was for the upper body during it, with the arms in first much of the time. Oh, but the emphasis on those feet, and what beautiful feet these dancers had.

I can't quite put my finger on what the music for the first movement of Kiyon Gaines' "M-Pulse" reminds me of -- something rock-like contemporary -- but it was firmly rhythmic. Composer Christina Spinei's second movement was like light, jazzy soundtrack music, and the third sounded to me like a cross between Michael Torke and Leonard Bernstein. I'm not sure I heard an original voice, but I did hear fine orchestration, particularly in the second movement's strings and woodwinds, and I think she could write a mean soundtrack.

The Torke-ishness in the music wasn't the only association I made with many of Peter Martins' works. I realized by the third movement that the phrasing reminded me also of Martins' choreography to Torke (and Adams): a regular length of phrasing and an immediate response to the music, without much overall structure that I could see. Maybe I'll see that in the choreography when I see the program again next weekend. Where Gaines' choreography is nothing like Martins' is in its directness and energy and its lack of faux sophistication, and the dancers -- all of them, not just the central principals -- look fantastic. Ice Dance choreographers should beg PNB for a copy of this work: the costumes by Mark Zappone for the women and many of the lifts would be great for skating.

Lindsi Dec was a standout in the pas de deux, partnered by Karel Cruz: her legs sing and her energy is infectious. There was an extended solo for Kaori Nakamura, with which I had trouble, because while accomplished, she was so out of this world in Tharp's "Afternoon Ball", a role and a work I found much richer. I couldn't make the transition to seeing her in something less "big picture".

I'm not sure I saw structure, per se, to Benjamin Millepied's "3 Movements", set to music by Steve Reich's "Three Movements for Orchestra", but I saw a lot of patterns and a great use of the stage space in all dimensions. It also had a superb central pas de deux for Carla Korbes and Batkhurel Bold, in which Korbes looked like a star and Bold took another step forward. Both the choreography and Korbes brought out the best in him. My only complaint is about the lighting: for me it was a little shadowy (from the Gallery Upper) for the grey palette of the costumes and sets. (The decor reminded me of a Max Cole print.)

I hadn't seen "One Flat Thing, Reproduced" before, and while I zoned at about the three-quarter mark, I liked it very much. The first time I saw "Dr. Atomic" in the Sellers production (San Francisco), I felt that the Lucinda Childs choreography was a stylized dud in its attempt to portray the industry and energy focused on the atomic arms race. Ironically, the interaction of the dancers around white metal tables -- up, over, around, down, under, through -- invoked the both the equations and patterns and the scientific collaboration more vividly (in a non-literal way) than the Childs.

"Dr. Atomic" was even more on my mind during this program, since three of the scores -- by Spinei, Reich, and Willems -- had electronic and/or minimalist elements in common with the Adams score. However, these scores underlined the differences in the Adams score, one I thought had more in common with "Elektra", which played last month at Seattle Opera. The sonic painting of the Adams score and the way in which it shifted to indicate the psychology of the characters was mesmerizing and more evocative of the Strauss score than its more structural relatives that I heard in the "New Works" program.

Two more dancers whose performances were noteworthy: Sokvannara Sar caught my eye repeatedly in "3 Movements" and "One Flat Thing Reproduced", and kudos to Andrew Bartee, who in "M-Pulse" and "One Flat Thing Reproduced" had some gnarly partnering and coordinating to do in both works, and he didn't miss a beat.

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I'm just a dance mom, but I'll share my impressions from Saturday night's performance.

A Garden - This was my favorite. I love Baroque music. I love the point/counterpoint, the symmetry, the unflagging rhythm, lack of excessive emotion. It evokes feelings of peacefulness, pleasure, and enjoyment in me. I thought the choreography hit all of the qualities of the music perfectly. The movements were so simple and clean and executed the same by each dancer. The music and the dancing were completely satisfying to me. I didn't understand how brown and black costumes fit with the title or with the music, but other than that I was thrilled.

M-Pulse - The costumes for M-Pulse, however, were stunning. The ladies were in shimmering jewel blue and the men wore coppery shirts.

It bothered me that the music started out as a recording and then went to the orchestra. The orchestra was amazing all night, and the composer would have served her piece better to have trusted them rather than a recording. In comparison to the depth and richness of the orchestra's sound, the recording was dimensionless and dull. Other than that, I did enjoy the music.

Lindsi Dec was amazing. Maybe it was the color of the costume, but a couple of times I was transported to the first time I saw the Peacock dance from the Nutcracker and was blown away by her slow, sensuous movements. She did the same for me in this piece.

The dance was so full of energy. I enjoyed the parts where there was real coordination of movements, but otherwise it felt like the dancers were dancing to their own M-pulses. :dunno: This was my daughter's favorite of the evening.

3 Movements - I loved the choreography in this piece. I loved the interchanges between male and female dancers. I don't know what Millepied was going for, so I'll say what my impression was. The mood was as though everyone is so busy all the time that they didn't have time to really connect or enjoy life and each other. The men wore something that resembled dress shirts with a tie, and the women wore dresses or skirts and blouses; the colors were all shades of gray. Dancers rushed around, couples seemed to bounce off each other rather than really connect with each other. I didn't enjoy the music, but the dancing was amazing. Carla Korbes was gorgeous as usual. Maria Chapman, Seth Orza, and Sarah Ricard Orza were the other dancers that stood out to me.

One Flat Thing Reproduced - I had seen this in the spring. I hated the "music" but I found the choreography interesting. Seeing it for the second time, I hated the "music" even more and found myself thinking that I was an idiot for subjecting myself to it a second time. I had considered leaving before it began, but Peter Boal's belief in the work, and the fact that Carla Korbes was doing the Q&A after the performance convinced me to stay. I resorted to plugging my ears. Again, I found the choreography interesting, but not really something I would want to see again. As you could tell by my favorite of the evening being A Garden, I want to have a pleasant experience when I come to the ballet. Seeing it once was "experiencing art." Seeing it a second time was unnecessary. A bit like using a really nasty squatty potty in China. OK, I had the experience, now take me to the real restroom. Sorry. I know Peter Boal really wanted us to embrace it, but I guess I'm not as evolved as I should be. My daughter enjoyed it more the second time, though.

Looking forward to hearing the thoughts of people who are so much more knowledgable than I am. Oh, Helene posted while I was composing! Thank you for your thoughts.

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Helene, I believe you and I were at the same performance, the Saturday matinee.

Watching A Garden was almost like watching a ballet class, and the women's costumes, black leotards and skirts with pink tights, heighten the effect. The work is, to me, all about showing off the dancers' refined technique. As Helene pointed out, the arms are quite static, and as a result, the audience member watches the feet and legs almost the entire time. The focus is on the so-called "basics" of ballet, not bravura steps; the dancers are not performing the superhuman feats that one might see in, for example, Swan Lake or Don Q. However, in focusing on the "simple," Morris shows the audience just how incredible these "basics" are. One is awed by the unembellished. The plain is not plain at all.

M-Pulse might as well be titled "Lindsi Dec." All the dancers turn in fantastic performances but Dec is absolutely incredible. To use a cliché, you just can't stop watching her. The choreography itself feels fun and intriguing. It's a complete counterpoint to the Morris work in its complexity. Speedy turns seamlessly segue into "How the heck do they do that?" partnering and a constant changing-of-the-guard-- someone always seems to be exiting or entering the stage. Although the different sections feel a little too disparate, I look forward to seeing more of Gaines' work as he further emerges as a choreographer.

3 Movements and M-Pulse are of a similar vein: seamless transitions and endlessly enthralling movement. 3 Movements was my favorite of the program. I'm struggling with describing the movement. Perhaps it was because the M-Pulse's ending tableau was on my mind that all relationships in 3M seemed to be combative. There seemed to be a constant warring undercurrent. Two dancers would seem to be in an angst-ridden relationship with each other, while united together against another couple, and there seemed to be an element of the "battle of the sexes," though it was, for a moment, resolved into what I can only describe as a kick-line-like formation (Not at all as awful as it sounds :dunno: ) Like Chocomel and Helene, I especially loved Körbes in this ballet. The sentiment's already been expressed, but I'll say it again: How wonderful it is to have her back onstage! Also, as others have noted, Bold really has been getting even better, and you can see it in this ballet. One more thought on 3M: Anybody catch that the costume design was by Isabella Boylston (with PNB's usual Larae Thiege Hascall)? Would that be the same Boylston who dances with ABT?

As far as One Flat Thing, Reproduced, I can't say much that hasn't already been said, except that I like it. Yes, the music is grating, but the movement itself is so very fascinating, as well as the way that the moments of unison emerge from the chaos. It was also great to be able to see it with another cast than last year's, just for the different energy that the group brings to it. (I do however, imagine that each performance must feel different from any other, given the nature of the choreography.) The piece definitely feels the most current and modern of the whole program, though it is the oldest.

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Two more dancers whose performances were noteworthy: Sokvannara Sar caught my eye repeatedly in "3 Movements" and "One Flat Thing Reproduced", and kudos to Andrew Bartee, who in "M-Pulse" and "One Flat Thing Reproduced" had some gnarly partnering and coordinating to do in both works, and he didn't miss a beat.

I forgot to note that Helene captured my sentiments exactly! :dunno:

Edited 11/11 to add additional comment

Where the heck is Miranda Weese? If I recall correctly, she wasn't in the program, nor was she in All Tharp earlier. I just checked the season opening gala's casting from an earlier link on this forum and she didn't appear then, either, at least according to the link. I, for one, miss seeing her onstage! What's going on?

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Sorry this is lengthy -- In general I get around 600 words when I review a program, but I have a lot more that 600 words to say about this evening in the theater.

A Garden -- The physicality is modest, even in sections that call for large movement it’s not showy stuff. It matches the intimate quality of the score. The work is full of small details, especially in the gestures (arms specifically halfway between side and front, halfway between forward and down, palms turn over, little adjustments), all riding on top of a very clearly defined structure. Morris is sometimes accused of following the structural elements of the score too closely, but that doesn’t feel forced here -- it’s very sympathetic.

Dancers look really good here -- Morris likes strong individuals and Carrie Imler is her usual sanguine self, especially in a series of pas de bourees with her head rolling from one side to another. There’s a great close canon duet with Jonathan Poretta and Barry Kerolis, and Benjamin Griffiths just sparkles in an allegro solo to what I think is a glockenspiel. Very like his work as Oberon in Midsummer, he skims across the space with some detailed and intricate footwork.

PNB has programmed this as the opening ballet, and it’s a good placement, but I’m afraid that it might be dismissed as an appetizer, when there’s really much more substance than you might see on a first look. I hope that they bring it back soon and give us another chance to see.

M-Pulse -- At this point I think Kiyon Gaines has more skill in developing movement than in structuring a whole dance. He’s really working on the details of pointework -- how women actually move through a whole phrase using the shoe, not just stepping up or stepping off. This is often a challenge for men, and I’m thrilled to see that he’s making this much progress. He gets some excellent performances from his cast, especially from Lindsi Dec and Kaori Nakamura, and they seem very excited to do the work.

Three Movements -- I’ve never seen anything else by Benjamin Millepied, so I’ve no way of knowing where he is in his development as a choreographer -- if this work is part of a logical sequence or if it’s a step in a different direction, but it’s certainly a handsome work. It has a very ‘real life’ vibe to it from the start, especially in the relationships between dancers. It opens with two men playing around (rather like Fancy Free) and then Sokvannara Sar comes sauntering in, like a swaggering breakdancer. That characterization drops away after a few beats, but it reads really clearly when it’s there. And when Batkhurel Bold and Carla Korbes enter, they have this little hesitation, as if they’d opened a door to a club and weren’t sure if it was their kind of place. The work is full of individual moments -- Seth Orza channeling Patrick Swayze in Road House, William Lin-Yee loping across the stage, Bold rolling his shoulders like a street fighter, Lucien Postlewaite in a playful mood, Maria Chapman looking absolutely beautiful. Like the Morris, I really hope this comes back soon, so I can parse more of it.

(one other comparison to the Morris, not as happy -- the women’s costumes for both pieces are very similar -- someone needs to watch out for that kind of stuff)

I don’t read any reviews of a program until after I’ve written my own, so it was especially twinge-y to see that one of my colleagues also made a reference to Jerome Robbins work, except that the connections seem particularly strong.

One Flat Thing, reproduced -- I know the audiences are still twitchy about this work, especially about the industrial noise score and the aggressively non-balletic movement vocabulary, but this is where the real estate agents get it exactly right when they insist that it’s all about location -- if this was being performed on the Meany Hall series (primarily modern dance) no one would be thinking twice. Peter Boal mentioned in a post-show Q&A that he is really committed to this piece, and is willing to go out on a limb to get people to look at it. That’s pretty obvious, just observing his programming since he got here, but I think it’s very interesting that it’s this work he’s willing to expend his political capital on. I truly like the gymnastic quality of the work, and the exposed feeling of the staging (like other Forsythe, everyone is on stage all the time, “waiting” for their cues to come up). I don’t know that I would have really ‘gotten’ the Antarctic references in the work without having it spelled out for me in the program notes, but it does have a clearly dangerous environment, and if you squint just right you can see the glaciers in Forsythe’s distortions of ballet vocabulary and phrasing.

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Sandik, thanks for that thoughtful and perceptive review - it really helped me parse what I saw.

I found A Garden much more engaging than the excerpt I had seen before; It was very balletic but (as you said) not especially showy - as if it were choreographed more for an audience of dancers than a general audience? For me it was the high point of an evening full of them.

Both M-Pulse and Three Movements had a connected, continuous movement thing going on which I have always found very attractive - certainly I want to see them several more times to get a stable impressions! (Of course I love to see good partnering, and both of them had plenty!) The Millepied was clearly an audience favorite on Friday but I'm not certain whether I agree or not...

On Flat Thing, Reproduced remains a puzzle to me. On the surface, as you said, the "gymnastic quality" and "aggressively non-balletic movement vocabulary" are off-putting for me, a classicist at heart. But I left feeling invigorated and satisfied - the emotional response over-riding the intellectual. A number of people left before this work was presented, and a few within my earshot wished they had. But overall the audience on Friday was wildly enthusiastic - and I think I'm in their number. Or will be when I've seen it a few more times.

It was a wonderful program, very satisfying. In spite of the fact that I've been a subscriber for nearly 30 years, and never seen Bayadere live. Or Corsaire. Or Raymonda. Or Giselle. Or ... well, a great many of the classics which I've seen either on video or not at all. Even Coppelia seems to have fallen out of the repertoire?

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On Flat Thing, Reproduced remains a puzzle to me. On the surface, as you said, the "gymnastic quality" and "aggressively non-balletic movement vocabulary" are off-putting for me, a classicist at heart. But I left feeling invigorated and satisfied - the emotional response over-riding the intellectual. A number of people left before this work was presented, and a few within my earshot wished they had. But overall the audience on Friday was wildly enthusiastic - and I think I'm in their number. Or will be when I've seen it a few more times.

It's occurred to me that, whether people like it or not, they have an intense, visceral response to this work, and that's pretty special in itself.

"One Flat Thing" is a highly structured work, but the patterns are very unlike most works in the classical canon, so they're maybe not as visible. I love these kinds of puzzles, but that's me, and might not be someone else. I think this piece makes more sense if you've seen some of the other Forsythe in the rep -- it's more stringent than "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated" or "Artifact," but you can see a bit of where it comes from in them.

It was a wonderful program, very satisfying. In spite of the fact that I've been a subscriber for nearly 30 years, and never seen Bayadere live. Or Corsaire. Or Raymonda. Or Giselle. Or ... well, a great many of the classics which I've seen either on video or not at all. Even Coppelia seems to have fallen out of the repertoire?

I'm afraid that most of those works will not show up in the PNB repertory, unless the company makes a significant change in artistic direction. They still do "Sleeping Beauty," and we get the Stowell/Russell/Petipa "Swan Lake" later this year (and Boal mentioned in a post-show Q&A last year that he's hoping to add the Balanchine Coppelia to the rep) but beyond that I don't think we'll get any of the 19th century full-lengths. Boal's interests lie in more contemporary work -- I don't hold much hope that we'll see the Tudor rep again, much less other stuff.

But saying that, I'm looking forward to Jewels again, and to Dances at a Gathering in the spring, so I'm a hopeful girl at heart.

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After watching the reconstruction of parts of "La Bayadere" in Doug Fullington's "Balanchine's Petipa" (Part II) presentation, I am guardedly hopeful that, someday, we might see this, or at least the Shades act.

It would be such an opportunity for the Company and Seattle to host a symposium on the work or on reconstruction in general, culminating in a performance that PNB had more than a few days to prepare.

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Helene, I will hope you are right, but I'm afraid that I am.

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I've been derelict in getting this written. I'm determined to write something even if I kid myself that I can do it quickly. The trouble is I feel I could go on for days about my PNB experiences over the last couple of weeks.

First off, thanks of all of you who posted to this thread. You gave me much insight as I saw these performances. I even printed ALL the longer posts and took them with me for the last performance so I could read through them all at each intermission. I don't agree with you all on many things, but you all gave me new and enlightening ways of seeing what I was seeing.

I saw this program 3 times: 2nd performance (11/7); midway performance (11/13), and last performance (11/16-mat). I can't remember taking quite such an extensive journey while seeing the same program multiple times as I did with this program. I'll try to give a flavor of that journey.

I'll start with "One Flat Thing, Reproduced" (OFTR). I've seen this now 6 times (3 times last season, and 3 times this season). I didn't particularly like it the first time I saw it (I wrote about that at the time on BT). The 2nd time I started to warm up to it. But it was the 5th time when I had my breakthru. Doug Fullington gave me the key at his pre-performance lecture at my 4th performance: the dancers take all their cues from each other and none of the cues from the music (if you can call those sounds music). Of course, I had realized that there were some cues coming from various shouts (such as "reset", or "go"), but I didn't appreciate until Doug's comment that the dance had no relation in time to the music. I knew that the piece is sometimes done in ~15 minutes and at other times in ~20 minutes, but I never connected that at no time in the choreography do the dancers directly reflect the beat of the music (except perhaps incidentally). Suddenly, I saw the team work; suddenly I saw what I can only call PdDs, or quartets, or even corps work; suddenly I saw the precision; suddenly I saw big sweeping themes that repeated themselves just as they do in "Swan Lake" or in any other classic ballet; suddenly I saw the Balanchine in Forsythe's work.....it was a revelation. If Peter Boal hoped to reach at least some of his audience by the unusual move of repeating such a difficult work in the very next season, he reached me. I'm grateful to him. I can't say that OFTR is one of my favorite ballets, but I will say that it is one of the most important ballets I have ever seen, and that it taught me more about ballet than anything since "Agon".

Continuing my backwards remembrance. Millepied's "3 Movements" was my favorite. As Helene pointed out, his use of the stage, all of it, was remarkable. I'm a sucker for minimalist music in contemporary ballet (e.g., "In the Upper Room"). I love the way it tends to build and build to a feverish pitch. It carries my emotions on a roller coaster -- and there is nothing I like more in ballet than to be overwhelmed by emotion. The piece made me think of New York City: the streets; the bustle; the alienation; the fleeting, but powerful relationships; the raw emotion and the self-centeredness (don't get me wrong...I love NYC and NY'ers to boot). It seems that chocomel, tutu and I all felt something like this about this ballet. I want to mention one dancer of many I could highlight: Laura Gilbreath. To my eyes Laura is more and more a stand out dancer at PNB. Her long body, incredible extension, and dramatic abilities are making it hard for me to watch anyone else at times. This was one of those times. I don't suppose she can do all roles, but WOW when it fits, it's electric.

I remember to this day the first Kiyon Gains ballet I saw. I immediately said to myself (and to him directly at the Q&A that followed) that here was a powerful new choreographic talent. I have little doubt he has a bright future. To me "M-Pulse" is a cornucopia of ideas, endless ideas, perhaps not yet fully formed, perhaps without "structure" as Helene mentioned, but Kiyon is a well spring of choreographic possibilities that probably he himself has little idea where from. For example, there were movements that were reminiscent of break dancing, or some other "street" moves, that I found particularly striking. Kiyon spoke at one of last week's Q&As and made it quite clear that dancing was his main focus with choreography a side line -- it was obvious by his remarks that he can't get enough of the joy of actually dancing, but as Kiyon matures, and demand for his choreographic vision builds, we are all going to see his ballets one of these days. In another Q&A that didn't feature Kiyon, I asked Peter Boal how exactly did it occur that such a young dancer's work was featured in a regular season program. Peter said a few things, but the heart of it came when he made the simple declaration: "I believe in his talent." Well, that makes 2 of us. (BTW, I love Helene's phrase "lack of faux sophistication" when she wrote of this work. There is something so alive, natural, and genuinely joyous about Kiyon's vision -- he just does it instead of thinking about it.)

As nearly everyone else has commented -- Lindsi Dec is amazing in this piece. I have been a fan of hers for some time (yes, I say she will be among the next wave of promotions). I remember her in the "tall girl" role in Rubies, and other times when not only her dance, but also her style, was on display. Well, she was a force of nature in this piece. Later I discovered one of the reasons at a Q&A. Kiyon worked the hardest with Lindsi, and Lindsi worked hardest with Kiyon. It was nearly a co-creation. Peter Boal said that when negotiations were happening regarding whether Gaines or Millipied would get a particular dancer, Kiyon all but said without Lindsi the ballet would not be possible. To put a fine point on this, some of you know that I am the self-declared Lesley Rausch #1 fan. I picked the Sunday matinee just so I could see Lesley in this spectacular role. For the first time ever, I preferred someone else in a role over Leslie. Since Lelsey was 2nd cast, she likely just didn't have the time to rehearse the role sufficiently, and certainly not to the extent that Lindsi worked one on one, for many hours, with Kiyon the choreographer. This is not a knock on my idol Lesley, but a full out compliment to Lindsi.

I can't move on from "M-Pulse" without mentioning the "knock your socks off" solo done in the 1st cast by Carrie Imler and in the 2nd cast by Kaori Nakamura. This is a tour-de-force that requires a high speed, precise foot work, and dynamic performance while the dancer commands the stage with confidence and a big dash of panache and drama. In other words, a role taylor-made for Carrie Imler. Is there anything Carrie Imler can't do to perfection? She owns this role. Nakamura could not compete in my estimation. Kaori is one of the most refined and skillful dancers I know, but this role requires talent across all aspects of dance. Carrie is the only PNB dancer who has everything, perhaps not the best in every category, but who none the less has it all. She can do the last movement of Jewels and be a stomper in "In the Upper Room" with equal quality. She rarely fails to amaze. (Kiyon's problem with this piece may be that without Lindsi and Carrie the piece can't work.)

As others have said, I think Morris's "A Garden" suffered from being on a program with 3 other such powerhouse works (be they good or bad). Somehow "A Garden" got lost in the fireworks. But having seen the program 3 times, I had the opportunity to focus on "A Garden" too. I like Mark Morris ballets very much (I know not everyone does), and now I see more clearly why. He is so subtle, so sweet, so respectful of the classical tradition, not to mention his humor. Like Helene I was blown away by the point work in this ballet. If I were to dream of ballet, it is this ballet I would like to dream (OK, with different costumes :wink:).

I can't finish without mentioning Kyle Davis. Kyle is the young dancer who recently won a Grand Prize at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne and decided to spend his year with PNB. He is officially listed as an apprentice. Remember this name. Rarely if ever have my eyes been so struck by a brand new dancer. He is so musical, so lyrical, so liquid, so confident. Strangely, his dancing made me think of the best of both male and female dancers -- almost as if he were both at once.

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OOPS, I forgot.....

sandik, I too was struck by the "bell" sounds in during the performance. So at the intermission during my last performance, I went down to the orchestra to have a look. There were 2 instruments (or maybe just one) I presumed to be glockenspiels (with metal bars), as you surmised, sitting up close to the conductor's stand. Right behind them were 2 larger vibaphones (with wooden bars). There was also a celeste sitting next to the harpischord.

I was sitting in a high box so I could see most of the orchestra pit. I can't be sure, but it seemed to me that the celeste was played during "A Garden", and the glockenspiels and vibaphones were played primarily in the Steve Reich music.

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OOPS, I forgot.....

sandik, I too was struck by the "bell" sounds in during the performance. So at the intermission during my last performance, I went down to the orchestra to have a look. There were 2 instruments (or maybe just one) I presumed to be glockenspiels (with metal bars), as you surmised, sitting up close to the conductor's stand. Right behind them were 2 larger vibaphones (with wooden bars). There was also a celeste sitting next to the harpischord.

I was sitting in a high box so I could see most of the orchestra pit. I can't be sure, but it seemed to me that the celeste was played during "A Garden", and the glockenspiels and vibaphones were played primarily in the Steve Reich music.

Thank you for doing the research -- I thought for a moment about the celesta (and just now I looked it up on Wikipedia -- they describe it as a "a struck idiophone operated by a keyboard. " -- every field has its specific vocabulary!) and indeed for a moment I thought, "Nutcracker preview!," but for some reason it didn't sound right to me. But I think you'd identified it.

But whichever one it was, I think Morris just nailed it with that solo -- it's a fabulous example of the movement and the music inhabiting the same world.

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I think Morris just nailed it with that solo....

I think we will agree..............so did Benjamin Griffiths :o).

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After watching the reconstruction of parts of "La Bayadere" in Doug Fullington's "Balanchine's Petipa" (Part II) presentation, I am guardedly hopeful that, someday, we might see this, or at least the Shades act.

It would be such an opportunity for the Company and Seattle to host a symposium on the work or on reconstruction in general, culminating in a performance that PNB had more than a few days to prepare.

Boy, that would be a dream come true for me! I can't help remembering there was a close Kirov connection some years ago, placing PNB in a somewhat unique position. Fullington's work can't help but add to that. And the Kirov has done a restoration of Bayadere recently, including the last "destruction of the temple" act which nobody has seen (OK, I exaggerate, but not enough to matter) and which they seem reluctant to stage again. Heck, they even pulled together the music, an apparently enormous effort that should not be lost. I love a lot of things about that ballet, but it just never makes much sense - you would think the last act would help pull it together.

Surely something could be done to bring these pieces together? It could be like the Wagner Ring of Seattle Opera, one of the few places anywhere to see the Real Deal, an international destination - maybe a summer festival sort of thing, every few years? Maybe alternating venues?

OK, I know, there's a recession coming on and I'm dreaming even without Solor's opium pipe. I'll keep dreaming though - sometimes reality is over-rated. :pinch:

Almost forgot to mention - I've been watching a few Bayadere's recently, and Fullington's Entrance of the Shades, even in the studio without costumes or lighting, was to my eye just much more effective than the extravaganzas available on video. Like harpsichord music played on a Steinway, the modernized productions seem to lose as much as they gain.

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