Helene

Ariana Lallone to Leave at the End of the 2010-11 Season

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Here's the press release:

Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancer Ariana Lallone to Leave at End of 2010-2011 Season

Seattle, WA – Pacific Northwest Ballet Artistic Director Peter Boal and Chairman of the Board Aya Hamilton have announced that principal dancer Ariana Lallone will be leaving the company at the end of the 2010-2011 season, following a 24-year career with PNB. The announcement was made during this evening’s Board of Trustees meeting.

“On behalf of the board of PNB, it is with mixed emotions that we acknowledge Ariana's final season at PNB,” said Ms. Hamilton. “Ariana is an extraordinary dancer, an earnest PNB advocate, and a true friend. We hope all of her many admirers will be with us throughout the season as we look for ways to honor Ariana’s glorious career and celebrate her truly unique imprint on PNB.”

Ms. Lallone joined the PNB company in 1987 (after a year in Pacific Northwest Ballet School), and very quickly made her mark as a dancer with a “singular style,” as former Seattle Post-Intelligencer writer R.M. Campbell noted in a 2007 profile. “Start with her height – 5-foot-11, rising to 6-foot-5 on pointe – then proceed to her intensity, dramatic temperament and individuality as she speeds across the footlights. She operates on a scale different than most dancers – larger, longer, more expansive. Her profile could have been sculpted in marble, and her line is so extended, it seems to stretch to infinity.”

“Ariana Lallone is at the very core of Pacific Northwest Ballet,” said Mr. Boal. “As perhaps the most admired and identifiable presence onstage and off, we know that no one will match her contribution to our company. Personally, I am proud to call Ariana a friend and to have worked so closely with her, bringing over 20 new roles to her repertoire during the past six years. At home in both the lyrical romanticism of Balanchine's Emeralds and in the grounded pathos of Duato’s Jardí Tancat, Ariana’s range as an artist has been tremendous. Looking back on a career filled with memorable performances in the finest classical and contemporary roles, it was difficult for me to make the decision to have this be her farewell season. Over the next nine months, Ariana will dance roles which she defined for PNB in works by Kylian, Duato, Tharp, Morris, Stowell, and Balanchine. Her career as a unique and accomplished ballerina is one for us to celebrate: Her fans are many for her onstage contributions, but she also deserves recognition for her tireless offstage advocacy and devotion to PNB. We will savor her performances this season and salute the extraordinary career of this powerful artist.”

In a letter read to the Board, Ms. Lallone said "Although it was my wish to take my final bow during the 2011-2012 season, I am extremely grateful for the 24 years that I have been able to perform with PNB. You have provided me with the opportunity of a professional career that has been more of a fairy tale and dream-come-true than anything I could have imagined."

Ariana Lallone is from Woodland Hills, California. She trained at the Rozann-Zimmerman Ballet Center (now known as California Dance Academy) in Chatsworth, CA, and on scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 1987 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 1988. In 1993, she was promoted to soloist and became a principal in 1994.

Kent Stowell created the title role in Carmen for Ms. Lallone in 2002 and roles for her in Carmina Burana, Cinderella, Fauré Requiem, and Silver Lining. Ms. Lallone also originated leading roles in Stephen Baynes’ El Tango, Donald Byrd's Capricious Night and Subtext Rage, Val Caniparoli's The Bridge, The Seasons, and Torque, Dominique Dumais' Scripted in the Body and Time and other Matter, Nicolo Fonte’s Within/Without, Kevin O'Day’s [soundaroun(d)dance], Ton Simons’ The Tenderness of Patient Minds, and Twyla Tharp’s Afternoon Ball and Opus 111.

In a 1998 profile of Lallone in Dance Magazine, choreographer Mark Dendy, who created leading roles for Ms. Lallone in Les Biches and Symmetries, is quoted as saying “Right away I knew I wanted to work with her, because her spirit is there. I was struck by her face and her eyes. She's got that marvelous bone structure, that beauty that comes from many incarnations – you've worked to acquire that beauty. There's an old spirit there with some deep knowledge. She's a very mature performer, very much at home onstage. In the Nacho Duato piece [PNB's Jardí Tancat] she's an individual, yet becomes one of the ensemble. That's not anything I had thought of using her for – as a member of the group – and yet she does that equally well, and that's stunning for me."

In the same Dance Magazine article, Francia Russell (PNB founding artistic director) described Ms. Lallone succinctly: “She dances with her heart and soul as well as her mind and body.”

In 1997, Ms. Lallone performed the solo from Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena at the Benois de la Danse Gala in Warsaw. She also performed the role of Hippolyta in the BBC’s 1999 film version of PNB's production of George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filmed at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. In 2005, she performed with Peter Boal and Company.

Other Leading Roles: George Balanchine's Agon, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Coppélia, Emeralds, The Four Temperaments, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Prodigal Son, Rubies, Serenade, La Sonnambula, Stars and Stripes, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in C, Western Symphony, and Who Cares?; Todd Bolender's Souvenirs; Val Caniparoli's Lambarena; Merce Cunningham's Inlets 2; Ulysses Dove's Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, Red Angels, Serious Pleasures, and Vespers; Nacho Duato's Jardí Tancat and Rassemblement; William Forsythe's Artifact II, In the middle, somewhat elevated, and One Flat Thing, reproduced; Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow (Hanna) and The Sleeping Beauty (Lilac Fairy); Jiri Kylian's Petite Mort; José Limón's The Moor's Pavane; Jean-Christophe Maillot's Roméo et Juliette (Lady Capulet); Peter Martins' Fearful Symmetries; Mark Morris' A Garden and Pacific; Jerome Robbins' The Concert, Dances at a Gathering, Fanfare, and In the Night; Kent Stowell's Delicate Balance, Dumbarton Oaks, Hail to the Conquering Hero, Nutcracker (Peacock, Flora), Swan Lake (Queen Mother), Time and Ebb, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, and Zirkus Weill; Richard Tanner's Ancient Airs and Dances; Lynne Taylor-Corbett's The Ballad of You and Me and Mercury; Paul Taylor's Company B and Roses; Glen Tetley's The Rite of Spring; Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs; Rudi van Dantzig's Ginastera; and Hans van Manen's Five Tangos.

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Wow. Wow, wow, wow.

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"Wow" indeed, but not in the happy way.

And I was thinking that she looked especially at home in this last rep.

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Ariana Lallone danced her second-to-last scheduled Peacock in the Stowell/Sendak "Nutcracker" last Thursday afternoon.

The role of Peacock has been distinguished by the most consistently strongest casting among a great number of dancers for a number of years, and this for an exceedingly exposed solo adagio role. On Thursday, Lallone gave a definitive performance, dancing every phrase as if she was hearing the music for the first time and responding to it in the moment. :flowers: to Ms. Lallone. It was a privilege being there.

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Am I understanding the press release incorrectly in summing up that Ms. Lallone wanted to stay for one more season but was asked to retire by Boal? If so, how unusual for that to actually be mentioned in a press release. The situation is even mentioned in Lallone's quote about wanting to stay for another season. I know gossip is not allowed on these forums, but I just wanted to comment on the fact that this was a very odd and unfortunate piece of information to include in a press release.

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It was one of the oddest and most awkward official statements I've seen in a number of years, yes.

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I'm curious......besides Ariana mentioning that she would have prefered one more year, what is odd and awkward about this announcement?

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In how many press releases does one party say "I'd like to stay another year" with no qualifications (like 'ut my spouse is moving to Montana' or 'My back can't take it'), while the other party says "The other party is great", and the upshot is that the person is leaving this year?

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It's always especially sad to read of the retirement of long-career dancers whom one never had the chance to see. (The recent retirement of Miami Ccity Ballet's Deanna Seay is a parallel story: an extraordinary dancer who is simply not known by most ballet fans around the country. Another parallel: Lallone was selected by the choreographer to dance the lead in Caniparoli's Lambarena at the Benois de la Dance in Warsaw; Ballet Florida's superb Tina Martin, whose entire career was with a single regional company, also was selected by Mauricio Wainrot to dance the Chosen One in Afternoon of a Faun at the Benois de la Dance, though that was at the Bolshoi.)

Coincidentally, jsmu on another thread has just posted the following tribute to Ariana Lallone's Siren in Prodigal Son:

probably the best I've ever seen live was the sadly soon retiring Ariana Lallone, who was positively glacial--and utterly controlling. Lallone was like the descriptions of Adams and Gregory in this role--'ice cold'--and so strong in the difficult choreography that she could devote all of her attention to the character, not the steps or the cape.

http://balletalert.i..._45#entry279416

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I just want to add that all the official statements iterate this is her last season with PNB. No mention by any party about it being her last season dancing, or retirement. Leaving a company after a long stay does not require retirement. Frequently dancers do retire at this point, I just noticed there was no official statement about retirement.

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The official statement is that she is leaving. (I confused this with retirement when I first posted, and I made a correction.) I hope this means we will see her dance elsewhere.

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It's always especially sad to read of the retirement of long-career dancers whom one never had the chance to see.

I agree -- I'm always sad to read about someone leaving the profession when all I know of their work is the commentary from other critics. I'm having a strange variation of that experience now, though, watching Carla Korbes on a regular basis at PNB after having heard so much about her work at NYCB without having had the chance to see her there. It feels a bit like a relay race, and this is my turn with the baton.

jsmu[/b] on another thread has just posted the following tribute to Ariana Lallone's Siren in Prodigal Son:
probably the best I've ever seen live was the sadly soon retiring Ariana Lallone, who was positively glacial--and utterly controlling. Lallone was like the descriptions of Adams and Gregory in this role--'ice cold'--and so strong in the difficult choreography that she could devote all of her attention to the character, not the steps or the cape.

http://balletalert.i..._45#entry279416

We used to see both Lallone and Patricia Barker in this role, and the contrast was very interesting. Barker was often referred to as "icy" -- I think her blond hair made that a pretty obvious descriptor. Lallone was as implacable, but there was a darker, Weimar aspect to her presence that matched her brunette coloring. This shows up in her performance in Rubies as the 'tall girl' as well, and heightened some of the choreographic connections between those two works for me. Barker was imposing in Prodigal, but Lallone was truly frightening.

I've been wondering what she'll be performing at the end of season encore show, and this conversation makes me hope that Prodigal gets considered.

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I'm not sure I buy the premise that something is "odd and awkward" because of what is not said, but even given that premise, perhaps there is some sort of disagreement, or perhaps there is not. I imagine there are lots of reasons why a dancer and management (and whatever "board" may exist) can disagree. For example, a dancer may desire to leave a year later, but management has a long range plan for promotions that is best facilitated by opening a principal slot sooner. Dancers are also notorious for down playing injuries that management might consider highly risky. There can even be disagreements due to loyality if a dancer plans to move to a competing company. So much is possible (even such items as occurred between Mr B and Farrell). I guess I'd rather stick with what is said and assume that the parties know what they are doing.

More importantly, I will add my voice to those who will miss Ariana very much. Ariana is a very special dancer to me personally. It was she (and her tall exotic look, plus her powerful dancing) that had me, for the first time, notice a dancer as a person instead of just another nameless, faceless, goregous creature of many who danced upon the stage like so many perfect dolls in some sort of dream world. Somehow before Ariana, I never cared who the dancers were, I just loved to watch them dance. It was Ariana many years ago who had me, for the first time, start to see the individual styles of dancers. It revolutionized ballet for me, and I have Ariana to thank for that (indeed, I ran into her once in a restaurant some years ago, and I told her just that). Such a thing only happens once. Thank you Ariana.

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No one is saying there aren't reasons for what happened. No one is saying that Peter Boal doesn't have the right to do whatever the PNB Board will support. Or as we're taught constantly at Justice Institute of British Columbia, "All behavior makes sense." What is "odd and awkward" is that it's unusual for the official press release/announcement to show disagreement as this one did. Generally the point of announcements is to release a joint statement to which both parties can agree, and this one did not do that.

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Generally the point of announcements is to release a joint statement to which both parties can agree, and this one did not do that.

I see no evidence in the announcement that both parties didn't agree to the statement itself. Apparently, their starting positions were somewhat different, and to the extent the official announcement was willing to share that difference with us fans, I find that refreshing as compared to the wallpaper that is often used to paper over such differences.

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Apparently, their starting positions were somewhat different, and to the extent the official announcement was willing to share that difference with us fans, I find that refreshing as compared to the wallpaper that is often used to paper over such differences.

It may be refreshing, but it is highly unusual, and in a world where these kind of things are often as structured as a grand pas de deux, this change was very noticeable.

I don't usually like to parse press releases in the same way CIA analysts used to examine photos of the reviewing stands during the Soviet May Day parade, but this really jumped out at me.

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I find it disconcerting and rather funny that so many people seem to be offended or taken aback by the fact that a dancer was able to publicly express her feelings of disappointment in not being re-engaged by the company she's danced with for 24 years. How many dancers have quietly signed off on their "retirements" so as not to cause waves? Too many. Seems to me that many people want dancers to be seen and not heard, an unfortunate and patronizing position to hold. Dancers are not boys and girls, they are men and women who are dedicated, intelligent, mature artists and they have voices and points of view and may not always agree with the powers that be. Why shouldn't the audience who has loved and enjoyed Ariana's performances know that she wished to finish her career with PNB after 25 years with the company instead of 24 years? I too found it refreshing that Ariana's perspective was included in the press release. Whatever the reasons for Peter Boal's "difficult" decision to have this be her farewell season there was obviously agreement in presenting two sides in the press release. This is a move forward into the 21st century in my opinion.

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Thanks for your eloquent post, gracilis aurea. I'm with you on this.

P.S. Love your screen name.

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Thank you Gracilis Aurea, I agree whole-heartedly.

Thank you Ariana for the 24 years of magnificent performances. You will be missed!!!

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Thanks Bart and bbh. I'm happy to know I wasn't alone in my reaction to some of the reactions to the press release : )

I've been reading Ballet Alert off and on for a long time but this topic actually compelled me to register!

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Moira Macdonald wrote a long article in yesterday's Seattle Times about Lallone's career with PNB with quotes from Lallone and Peter Boal.

Lallone will join Teatro ZinZanni!

Lallone says she's seen many Teatro ZinZanni productions, and is thrilled to make the company her new artistic home, just across the street from her old one. She bubbles over talking about it. "The whole thing is about entertainment and fun and bringing joy to people's lives and love and happiness — it's sort of contagious and you always leave the event feeling just nothing but joy and fun. There are a lot more theatrical things involved, as far as speaking or acting, and it's going to stretch me artistically. I'm looking forward to pushing my limits."

Congratulations to Lallone for this great opportunity :flowers:

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I have enjoyed Ms Lallone's performances over the past few years, and have not noticed any slips in performance level. I do think Teatro Zinzanni is a good "home" for her talents, and perhaps less taxing on her body than full time ballet for the reps of the big 5 regional American companies (PNB, Boston, Miami, San Francisco and Houston).

If PNB does Prodigal Son in the future, it will strange to see others as Siren. But perhaps she will stage for the Balanchine Trust and coach the next generation of long legged ice queens.

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Moira Macdonald wrote a long article in yesterday's Seattle Times about Lallone's career with PNB with quotes from Lallone and Peter Boal.

I posted the article in yesterday's Links.

There's no great mystery here, Lallone didn't want to leave, Boal had to indicate where the door was, and Lallone was ready to talk about it. It would be even more awkward to have a press release that pretended there were no difference of opinion if there was no agreement on what to say to the press, and it doesn't sound to me as if there was.

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There's no great mystery here, Lallone didn't want to leave, Boal had to indicate where the door was, and Lallone was ready to talk about it. It would be even more awkward to have a press release that pretended there were no difference of opinion if there was no agreement on what to say to the press, and it doesn't sound to me as if there was.

I can't cite another instance where a difference of opinion was addressed in a press release where there wasn't an immediate departure. The standard press release comes from the company, with a basic statement of fact ("Dancer X's last performance is/was this/last Sunday/the end of the season") or a statement of fact plus the company's, usually the AD's word of thanks to the dancer. I've never seen a quote from a dancer included that suggests any public ambiguity, but I'd be interested in seeing others like PNB's re: Lallone if they are considered standard.

I have enjoyed Ms Lallone's performances over the past few years, and have not noticed any slips in performance level.

On the contrary: she's been dancing as well as ever, which is a rarity for an important dancer. I can think of few Principals who left PNB or NYCB at the very top of their game towards the end of their career. Most were past their peak, although they continued to be valuable artists, and that includes Peter Boal.

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