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Choreographers' Workshop


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#1 Helene

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 11:12 PM

Tonight was the annual Choreographers' Workshop, danced by the Professional Division and graduating non-PD students. There were seven works:

"Dimensions", choreography: Stanko Milov, music: Peter Gabriel and Stanko Milov
"where ART thou?, choreography: Sonia Dawkins, music: Shostakovich and JS Bach
"Pariah", choreography: Barry Kerollis, music: Thomas Newman ("American Beauty" soundtrack selections)
"Loving You", choreography: Stacy Lowenberg, music: performed by Vitamin String Quartet
--intermission--
"That one dance about that one thing #2, choreography: Olivier Wevers, music: Philip Glass
"Courte et Deuce"*, choregraphy: Jonathan Porretta, music: Gunnar Madsen
"[NO HOLDS] barre'd, choreography: Kiyon Gaines, music: Nico Muhly, Michael Gordon, Joan Janrenaud, Gabriel Prokofiev

*In the Q&A, Porretta said that this was a typo and not the intended title

The Choreographers' Workshop is at once one of the most thrilling nights of the year, where (mostly) Company dancers do their best to make the students look stupendous, and at the same time the most frustrating, because PNB can't absorb so much talent into the Company. The roster was full of names that danced beautifully in "Symphony in C" in the last rep.

The pieces by Wevers, Lowenberg, and Gaines were high octane, and I thought the shorter dancers looked best in the non-stop choreography: the first woman's solo and the pas de trois for new PNB apprentice Ezra Thomson, Alice Cao, and Lola Cooper in the Wevers, the third soloist in the Lowenberg, and Nicole Ciapponi, also with Thomson, in Gaines' work.

Dawkins' was in that vein but had quieter stretches; I was crushed to read in the graduation program that standout Rie Ueda is a Level VIII student heading to a local community college, she reminded me so much of the great Paul Taylor dancer, Mary Cochran. (I wanted her to break out into "Esplanade".)

Milov's work required a lot of dramatic energy, and I know it had six dancers, but I couldn't keep my eye off of Ezra Thomson: he looked like a star in "Dimensions". He didn't have partnering in this piece, but I'm not sure how he managed all three, with a ton of dancing and partnering in the Wevers and Gaines. Barry Kerollis, who in the Q&A recounted how he knew who he wanted to be his lead from the beginning, Erin Crall, did the most sensitive choreography for taller dancers. Partnering Crall, Ryan Cardea caught my eye, but it was in Jonathan Porretta's classical ballet, "Courte et Deuce" [sic] that he really shone. PNB doesn't do very much lyrical Balanchine, apart from "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and the gentle cavalier roles are sparse. Cardea got the style and tone perfectly as Lola Cooper's partner.

In the Q&A afterwards, Peter Boal thanked Workshop sponsor Glenn Kawasaki, and announced that Ezra Thomson would join PNB next season as an apprentice. All seven choreographer's spoke, and the PNB dancers emphasized how much their peers, as well as choreographers whose works they danced influenced them.

#2 Helene

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 11:38 PM

Here are links to interviews with three PNB choreographers from the "Seattle Dances" site:

Stanko Milov
Kiyon Gaines
Olivier Wevers

#3 Wallaceh1

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 04:55 AM

Ezra was a marvelous young dancer when he was here at Orlando Ballet. Would love to have seen him become a member of Orlando Ballet but his heart has always been with PNB. It's so nice to see he's doing so well.

#4 Helene

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 05:28 AM

He's not resting on his laurels, either -- he and Cardea are on exchange with Royal Danish Ballet all summer.

I thought he was terrific as a Jet in "Cool" at Louise Nadeau's retirement performance, too. He can more than hold his own at PNB, and we are lucky to have him.

#5 printscess

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 07:02 AM

Helene,
Does going to RDB for the summer mean that they are going to their school or dancing with the company. Any word on Lola Cooper and her plans?

#6 its the mom

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 07:26 AM

printscess - My son attended the exchange program two years ago (through Boston Ballet) when Andrew Bartee and Emma Love of PNB attended. At that point it was a three-week program, in which the dancers attended classes mostly with the apprentices of RDB. They were able to take class with the company several times, attend performances, and tour Copenhagen. Sounds as though it may have expanded if Ezra is going for the summer.

#7 printscess

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 08:05 AM

printscess - My son attended the exchange program two years ago (through Boston Ballet) when Andrew Bartee and Emma Love of PNB attended. At that point it was a three-week program, in which the dancers attended classes mostly with the apprentices of RDB. They were able to take class with the company several times, attend performances, and tour Copenhagen. Sounds as though it may have expanded if Ezra is going for the summer.



Thanks for the info. I was was wondering about Ryan Cardera. He is a good friend of my son from the SAB days.

#8 Helene

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 09:57 AM

I may have mis-spoke: I was under the impression that the RDB exchange was a summer training program, but it might be a shorter program that takes place in the summer. In the Fall, after the exchange, Thomson will join PNB as an apprentice.

In the school performance program, there was a short list of where Level VIII students were heading for college, and another of where PD students would be dancing next season. I'm traveling and don't have the program with me. One of them is heading to Columbia University, a couple are going to Carolina Ballet, at least one to Cincinnati Ballet, and a couple have apprenticeships. I know Lola Cooper was on the list, but I can't remember where she will be. Sadly, not with PNB.

#9 tutu

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 01:58 PM

Lola Cooper is going to Carolina Ballet, along with 1, possibly 2, other PD girls.

#10 SandyMcKean

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Posted 18 June 2009 - 02:22 PM

Here is the list from the program Helene spoke of (Professional Division students only):

Maggie Aldan - Columbia University
Kirsten Allman - Louisville Ballet
Taisha Barton-Rowledge - Carolina Ballet
Lola Cooper - Carolina Ballet
Allison Pitton - Washington Ballet
David Mannara - Prague State Opera Ballet
Ezra Thomson - PNB (Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Lauryn Winterhalder - Cincinatti Ballet


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