Helene

Contemporary 4 -- Videos, News, Casting, Reviews

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Here is the program trailer for Contemporary 4, with clips from Paul Gibson's "Piano Dance" and Mark Morris' "Pacific":

I'm having bandwidth issues, and many of the shots are from a distance and blur with freeze frame; I haven't been able to make many ID's. In "Pacific" there are several clips of Carla Korbes and Batkhurel Bold, with a short solo section by Lucien Postlewaite, but I'm having no luck with "Piano Dance", although the feet in the freeze frame above look like Lesley Rausch's.

The other two works on the program are Alexei Ratmansky's "Concerto DSCH", which I cannot wait to see, and a World Premiere by "Mopey" choreographer, Marco Goecke. Here's the video for his new work, "Place a Chill". The background music is by Saint-Saens, but that could be only for video or the actual music.

The video opens with James Moore in "Mopey" and then changes to "Place a Chill" Margaret Mullin is in the light blue T-shirt; she dances with Ezra Thomson who has a goatee. I can't tell who Kiyon Gaines' partner is, because we don't see her face. At the end, Thomson is in the center of the screen, with James Moore at the top and Kiyon Gaines at the bottom.

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Press Release:

CONTEMPORARY 4

Featuring works by

PAUL GIBSON – MARCO GOECKE – MARK MORRIS – ALEXEI RATMANSKY

March 18-27, 2011

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

March 18-19 at 7:30 pm

March 19 at 2:00 pm

March 24-26 at 7:30 pm

March 27 at 1:00 pm

SEATTLE, WA — With CONTEMPORARY 4, the fourth program in its 2010-2011 season, Pacific Northwest Ballet presents the local premiere of critically acclaimed choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH. PNB’s first work by Ratmansky represents a major introduction for Seattle audiences. Marco Goecke, the young German choreographer known to PNB audiences for cult-hit Mopey, stages a world premiere that is certain to be stamped with his enigmatic, quirky style. CONTEMPORARY 4 also features the return of The Piano Dance, created by former PNB principal dancer and now Ballet Master Paul Gibson, and Mark Morris’s Pacific, a serene alliance of mood and movement. CONTEMPORARY 4 runs March 18 through 27 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at just $27 and may be purchased at www.pnb.org, by calling 206.441.2424, or in person at the PNB Box Office, 301 Mercer Street at Seattle Center. Pacific Northwest Ballet thanks presenting sponsor The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and major sponsor the National Endowment for the Arts for their support of CONTEMPORARY 4. The line-up for CONTEMPORARY 4 will include:

Concerto DSCH — PNB Premiere

Music: Dmitri Shostakovich

Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky

Stager: Tatiana Ratmansky

Costume Design: Holly Hynes

Lighting Design: Mark Stanley

Piano Concerto No. 2, written by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1957 as a nineteenth birthday gift for his son, is a hopeful and joyous work inspired by the end of the Stalin era in Russia. The high spirits of the music are captured in Alexei Ratmansky's lively choreography for Concerto DSCH, especially in the roles of the lead dancers, one lyrical couple and a virtuoso trio. From the opening moments, when the trio’s ballerina bursts from a closed circle of dancers in a whirl of high-stepping leaps and turns, the ballet is non-stop energy and playful surprises. Even a gentle romantic interlude reflects the wit and originality of the choreographer. “An endlessly suspenseful choreographic construction, with passages of breathtaking dance brilliance. At its premiere, you could feel wave upon wave of emotion sweeping across the audience. Wonder, excitement, admiration, affection, hilarity, surprise, exhilaration.” (The New York Times)

Concerto DSCH is PNB’s first work by critically acclaimed choreographer Alexei Ratmansky.

Pacific

Music: Lou Harrison

Choreography: Mark Morris

Staging: Tina Fehlandt

Costume Design: Martin Pakledinaz

Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls

Premiere: May 10, 1995; San Francisco Ballet (UNited We Dance Festival)

Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: April 5, 2007 (Celebrate Seattle Festival)

True to Mark Morris’ work, Pacific’s serene alliance of mood and movement appears innately formed from the psyche of Lou Harrison’s 1990 score. The dancers’ full-skirted strides and uplifted arms, set against expansive blue and orange vistas, convey effortless accord, a deep sense of well-being, and “ever-surprising combinations, ever delightful to behold.” (danceviewtimes.com).

“Like the title of the dance, the work has multiple connotations, which are underscored by the costumes of Martin Pakledinaz. The bare-chested men wear culottes—full, skirt-like pants that suggest the native dress of Pacific Island and even Indian cultures; the women’s outfits have the same full skirts with simple tops. Blues and greens predominate, with red used for the central couple. The colors evoke the ocean as well as tropical climes. The movement Morris uses also incorporates suggestions of Asian cultures, particularly the Kathak style of southern India: the men (and later the women) repeat a gesture of one arm raised in a curve, the other pointing straight in the opposite direction with the head turned towards the pointing arm. ...This is a work that makes you think about its meaning.” (culturevulture.net)

The Piano Dance

Music: Frederic Chopin, John Cage, Gyorgy Ligeti, Bela Bartok, and Alberto Ginastera

Choreography: Paul Gibson

Costume Design: Mark Zappone

Lighting Design: Lisa J. Pinkham

Premiere: April 14, 2005; Pacific Northwest Ballet

Ten works for solo piano by five composers accompany the contrasting dances for four couples in The Piano Dance. Although the composers chosen by choreographer Paul Gibson lived during a span covering more than a hundred years, Gibson sees in their works a common respect for the expression of melody. He has devised a series of solos, duets, and pas de trois for his dancers, set to music chosen for variety and for affinity to the dance impulse. The Piano Dance offers a sharp contrast to Gibson’s earlier works for PNB, in which he favored large-scale orchestral scores and required big ensembles. The Piano Dance demonstrates his wish to convey the clarity of ballet performance in a setting of intimate and brilliant miniatures. Set to ten piano pieces, the chic, ruby velvet group and solo dances are capped by a “spectacular pas de deux that manages to evoke both abandon and restraint” – The New York Times.

Place a Chill — World Premiere

Music: Camille Saint-Saëns

Choreography: Marco Goecke

Dramaturge: Nadja Kadel

Costume Design: Mark Zappone

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

In spring of 1965, a New York Times critic wrote enthusiastically about the young English cellist Jacqueline du Pré: “She played like an angel.” Listening to a recording of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1, interpreted by du Pré, Marco Goecke was inspired to create Place a Chill for Pacific Northwest Ballet. The cello concerto was du Pré’s last recording before she had to stop playing in public because of an incurable illess, during which she continuously lost control over her movement and body, dying in a wheelchair at the age of 42 in 1987. The quivering, shaking, and fluttering movements of Goecke’s choreography might, at a first glimpse, look like a loss of body control, but in fact they are exactly the opposite—they are the result of a very precise and detailed rehearsal process, a sophisticated elaboration of every single movement. If they rarely show the symmetrical formations that are so characteristic of classical and neo-classical ballet, they do create another kind of order—an organic and dynamic order where nothing is left to chance. But the order which appears in Goecke’s choreography does not try to compete with the heavenly or angelic hierarchies evoked by the music, which will be performed live by the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. Rather, he builds up an antithetical world—a world in which darkness, evil, and the opacity of filthy materia are predominant. Goecke found an explicit formulation for this when he worked with corps de ballet dancer Ezra Thomson during a rehearsal: “You have to show up like the devil in person.” However, Place a Chill does not argue for a sharp dualism between the two worlds. The threatening destructiveness of earthly life and the angelic sphere are not independent from each other; they interact and are inseparably connected. It is the communication between the two spheres that produces the tension that moves the choreography. (Notes by Nadja Kadel, dramaturge)

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets ($27 – $165 in advance) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

* By Phone – 206.441.2424 (Mon.-Fri. 9am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)

* In Person – 301 Mercer Street, Seattle (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)

* Online – pnb.org (24/7)

Subject to availability, tickets are also available 90 minutes prior to each performance at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street.

DISCOUNT OFFERS AND SPECIAL EVENTS

$15 TICKETS FOR AGE 25 & UNDER

All Thursday and Friday performances: March 18, 24 and 25 at 7:30 pm

Each attendee must present valid I.D. upon ticket retrieval.

TEEN TIX

PNB is a proud participant of Seattle Center’s Teen Tix program. Young people 13 to 19 years old can purchase tickets to PNB performances and other music, dance, theater and arts events for only $5. To join Teen Tix or view a list of participating organizations, visit Seattle Center’s Teen Tix webpage at seattlecenter.com/teentix.

STUDENT AND SENIOR RUSH TICKETS

Subject to availability, half-price tickets for students and senior citizens (65+) may be purchased in-person with ID, beginning 90 minutes prior to showtime at the McCaw Hall box office.

FRIDAY PREVIEWS

Friday, March 11, 6:00 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street, Seattle

Join us for an hour-long dance preview led by Artistic Director Peter Boal and featuring PNB dancers performing excerpts from CONTEMPORARY 4. PNB Friday Previews offer an up-close view of the Company preparing to put dance on stage. Tickets, $10 each, may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at pnb.org, or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street. (These events often sell out in advance.) Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.

CONVERSATIONS WITH PNB — FREE

Sunday, March 13, 2:00 pm

Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Avenue on Capitol Hill, Seattle

PNB's Sunday afternoon series features an hour-long discussion about CONTEMPORARY 4 with PNB dancers Laura Gilbreath, Chelsea Adomaitis, and Ezra Thomson in the casual atmosphere of the Elliott Bay Book Company reading room. All Conversations with PNB are FREE of charge.

BALLET PREVIEW — FREE

Tuesday, March 15, 12:00 noon

Central Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle

Join PNB for a free lunch-hour preview lecture at the Central Seattle Public Library. Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington will offer insights about CONTEMPORARY 4, complete with video excerpts. FREE of charge.

PNB LECTURE SERIES & DRESS REHEARSAL

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall

Join choreographer Alexei Ratmansky during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. Attend the lecture only or stay for the dress rehearsal. Tickets are $12 for the lecture, or $25 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at pnb.org or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer St.

PRE-PERFORMANCE LECTURES

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing ballet to the stage. One hour before all performances. FREE for ticketholders.

POST-PERFORMANCE Q&A

Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a post-performance Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance in the Norcliffe Room at McCaw Hall. FREE for ticketholders. (At the Saturday, March 19 7:30 performance, the post-show Q&A will be moderated by KUOW’s Marcie Sillman, as part of KUOW’s Front Row Center. For more information, visit kuow.org/frontrowcenter.)

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A new video, this time featuring Paul Gibson, choreographer of "Piano Dance", speaking about casting new dancers in roles and the new ending he choreographed for the ballet:

The eight dancers rehearsing are:

Margaret Mullin: light green leotard, black tights, one light blue leg warmer

Sarah Ricard Orza: red leotard with flowered straps and bodice trim, pink tights

Kylee Kitchens: light blue leotard, pink tights

Laura Gilbreath: brown leotard with thin red trim, black tights.

Karel Cruz: white sleeveless shirt, black pants (partners Gilbreath)

James Moore: black shirt and socks, gray shorts (partners Ricard Orza)

Jerome Tisserand: gray shirt with white lettering, black knee-length tights (partners Mullin)

Andrew Bartee: long-sleeved pale blue shirt, gray tights (partners Kitchens)

In the background, I see Brittany Reid, Barry Kerollis, Benjamin Griffiths, Ezra Thomson, and Jessika Anspach.

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I am really looking forward to seeing the Gibson again -- after hearing him speak about changing the ending I've been wondering if my memory of it is very clear.

It's hard to speculate about a whole performance based on one of these video clips, but I thought Laura G looked extra nice here!

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I'll never forget the first time I saw Piano Dance. It was that night that I first really noticed Leslie Rausch. I was blown away, and spent the next couple of seasons angry with her (not really :)).......because when she danced in the corps from then on I couldn't watch anyone else.....she always drew my eye.

Within a couple of weeks of Peter Boal's arrival to take over PNB, I just happened to run into him purely by chance. I took a moment to say to him:

"I have only two words to say to you: Leslie Rausch"

I haven't changed my mind. Hopefully I will get to see her in Piano Dance again. I thought at the time Piano Dance was a brilliant piece of choreography. I'm so glad to see it come back.

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It was a remarkable performance, especially since Rausch performed the same role that was made for Louise Nadeau, and Angela Sterling's photo of Nadeau in that ballet has become one of the images most associated with the Company.

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ngela Sterling's photo of Nadeau in that ballet has become one of the images most associated with the Company.

I know what you mean -- she keeps staring out of my tickets, even though she's been retired for awhile now!

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Casting for Week 1 is up on the PNB site:

Friday 18 March 7:30pm

Pacific

Pas de deux

Carla Körbes

Olivier Wevers

Trio

Benjamin Griffiths

Lucien Postlewaite

Josh Spell

Quartet

Laura Gilbreath*

Kylee Kitchens

Ariana Lallone

Lesley Rausch

Place a Chill

Margaret Mullin*

Chelsea Adomaitis*

Leah O'Connor*

Jonathan Porretta*

James Moore*

Andrew Bartee*

Price Suddarth*

Ezra Thomson*

Sean Rollofson*

Ryan Cardea*

The Piano Dance

Lesley Rausch

Jeffrey Stanton*

Rachel Foster

Benjamin Griffiths*

Margaret Mullin*

Jerome Tisserand*

Chalnessa Eames

Josh Spell

Concerto DSCH

Pas de deux

Carla Körbes*

Karel Cruz*

Pas de trois

Carrie Imler*

Batkhurel Bold*

Seth Orza*

Saturday 19 March 2:00pm

Pacific

Pas de deux

Carla Körbes

Olivier Wevers

Trio

Jerome Tisserand*

Karel Cruz*

Jeffrey Stanton

Quartet

Sarah Ricard Orza*

Chalnessa Eames*

Carrie Imler*

Brittany Reid*

Place a Chill

Margaret Mullin

Chelsea Adomaitis

Leah O'Connor

Jonathan Porretta

James Moore

Andrew Bartee

Price Suddarth

Ezra Thomson

Sean Rollofson

Ryan Cardea

The Piano Dance

Laura Gilbreath*

Karel Cruz*

Sarah Ricard Orza*

James Moore*

Chelsea Adomaitis*

Barry Kerollis*

Kylee Kitchens*

Andrew Bartee*

Concerto DSCH

Pas de deux

Maria Chapman*

Olivier Wevers*

Pas de trois

Rachel Foster

Benjamin Griffiths

Jonathan Porretta

Saturday 19 March 7:30pm

Pacific

Pas de deux

Rachel Foster*

James Moore*

Trio

Benjamin Griffiths

Lucien Postlewaite

Josh Spell

Quartet

Laura Gilbreath

Kylee Kitchens

Ariana Lallone

Lesley Rausch

Place a Chill

Margaret Mullin

Chelsea Adomaitis

Leah O'Connor

Jonathan Porretta

James Moore

Andrew Bartee

Price Suddarth

Ezra Thomson

Sean Rollofson

Ryan Cardea

The Piano Dance

Lesley Rausch

Jeffrey Stanton

Rachel Foster

Benjamin Griffiths

Margaret Mullin

Jerome Tisserand

Chalnessa Eames

Josh Spell

Concerto DSCH

Pas de deux

Carla Körbes

Karel Cruz

Pas de trois

Carrie Imler

Batkhurel Bold

Seth Orza

*first time in role

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The trailer for "Pacific" is now up:

In the foreground,

Men's Trio: Josh Spell, light blue SAB short with "flexible" on the back, darker blue velour shorts

Lucien Postlewaite, gray shirt, dark pants

Benjamin Griffiths, light shirt, blue knee-length tights

William Lin-Yee joins in later clips in all black.

Women's Quartet: Leslie Rausch, red leotard, gray pants

Laura Gilbreath, yellow leotard with floral pattern on the back, black tights

Ariana Lallone, short black top over yellow leotard, black tights

Chalnessa Eames, black shirt with dancers tableau over fuschia leotard, black tights

In the still frame above, left to right: Lallone, Eames, Gilbreath, Rausch

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Casting for Week 2 is up on the PNB site:

Thursday 24 March 7:30pm

Pacific

Pas de deux

Maria Chapman

Seth Orza

Trio

Karel Cruz

Jerome Tisserand

Jeffrey Stanton

Quartet

Carrie Imler

Chalnessa Eames

Sarah Ricard Orza

Brittany Reid

Place a Chill

Margaret Mullin

Chelsea Adomaitis

Jessika Anspach*

Jonathan Porretta

Benjamin Griffiths*

Eric Hipolito Jr.*

Price Suddarth

Ezra Thomson

Kyle Davis*

Ryan Cardea

The Piano Dance

Lesley Rausch

Jeffrey Stanton

Sarah Ricard Orza

James Moore

Chelsea Adomaitis

Barry Kerollis

Kylee Kitchens

Andrew Bartee

Concerto DSCH

Pas de deux

Maria Chapman

Olivier Wevers

Pas de trois

Rachel Foster

Benjamin Griffiths

Jonathan Porretta

Friday 25 March 7:30pm

Pacific

Pas de deux

Rachel Foster

James Moore

Trio

Karel Cruz

Jerome Tisserand

Jeffrey Stanton

Quartet

Carrie Imler

Chalnessa Eames

Sarah Ricard Orza

Brittany Reid

Place a Chill

Margaret Mullin

Chelsea Adomaitis

Jessika Anspach

Jonathan Porretta

Benjamin Griffiths

Eric Hipolito Jr.

Price Suddarth

Ezra Thomson

Kyle Davis

Ryan Cardea

The Piano Dance

Maria Chapman

Seth Orza

Rachel Foster

Benjamin Griffiths

Margaret Mullin

Jerome Tisserand

Chalnessa Eames

Josh Spell

Concerto DSCH

Pas de deux

Lesley Rausch*

Batkhurel Bold*

Pas de trois

Chalnessa Eames*

Lucien Postlewaite*

Jerome Tisserand*

Saturday 26 March 7:30pm

Pacific

Pas de deux

Carla Körbes

Olivier Wevers

Trio

Lucien Postlewaite

Benjamin Griffiths

Josh Spell

Quartet

Ariana Lallone

Kylee Kitchens

Laura Gilbreath

Lesley Rausch

Place a Chill

Margaret Mullin

Chelsea Adomaitis

Leah O'Connor

Jonathan Porretta

James Moore

Andrew Bartee

Price Suddarth

Ezra Thomson

Sean Rollofson

Ryan Cardea

The Piano Dance

Laura Gilbreath

Karel Cruz

Rachel Foster

Benjamin Griffiths

Margaret Mullin

Jerome Tisserand

Chalnessa Eames

Josh Spell

Concerto DSCH

Pas de deux

Carla Körbes

Karel Cruz

Pas de trois

Carrie Imler

Benjamin Griffiths

Jonathan Porretta

Sunday 27 March 1:00pm

Pacific

Pas de deux

Maria Chapman

Seth Orza

Trio

Lucien Postlewaite

Benjamin Griffiths

Josh Spell

Quartet

Ariana Lallone

Kylee Kitchens

Laura Gilbreath

Lesley Rausch

Place a Chill

Margaret Mullin

Chelsea Adomaitis

Leah O'Connor

Jonathan Porretta

James Moore

Andrew Bartee

Price Suddarth

Ezra Thomson

Sean Rollofson

Ryan Cardea

The Piano Dance

Maria Chapman

Seth Orza

Sarah Ricard Orza

James Moore

Chelsea Adomaitis

Barry Kerollis

Kylee Kitchens

Andrew Bartee

Concerto DSCH

Pas de deux

Lesley Rausch

Batkhurel Bold

Pas de trois

Chalnessa Eames

Lucien Postlewaite

Jerome Tisserand

*first time in role

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I can't tell who Kiyon Gaines' partner is, because we don't see her face.

I'm fairly certain that's Chelsea Adomaitis—she appears to be wearing the same clothing in the video still.

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I saw the dress rehearsal last night. Just wait until you see the following in Concerto DSCH...................WOW!!!!!!!!!

Pas de deux
Carla Körbes*
Karel Cruz*

Pas de trois
Carrie Imler*
Batkhurel Bold*
Seth Orza*

Imler and Orza were virtuoso power houses in the extroverted sections 1 and 3, and Korbes and Cruz were heart wrenching creators of art in the introspective section 2. What an incredible ballet.....my first exposure to the hugely talented (IMO) Ratmansky.

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Hello balletomanes, I am finally *back* in the Pacific Northwest, after 7 months in South America, and a month in Hellay. On Saturday 19 March, I saw the 2pm matinee of this production. Unfortunately for me, i was stuck in traffic (they closed a highway for earthquake related maintenance). So here are my impressions:

Pacific: Did not get to see it (kicking myself in my high heels, ouch), a pox upon you, Seattle Traffic! I might need to return next weekend for a cheap seat, just to see Pacific, as the youtube previews looked like fun.

Place a Chill: Arrived at McCaw Hall just as this one started...Cast list is already on this thread, so I won't reiterate. The falling chairs were cool, but I would send the rest of this hot mess back to the kitchen. I didn't sense any musical connection with the choreography, which if I am being kind, reminds me of Wayne McGregor, and if I am being honest, reminds me of a Gollum Appreciation Club writhing around. I read the program notes at intermission, trying to get a better idea of the music and meaning. Written by the choreographer's dramaturg, the notes remind me of the online parody of Werner Herzog interpreting Curious George.

...Place a Chill does not argue for a sharp dualism between the two worlds. The threatening destructiveness of earthly life and the angelic sphere are not independent from each other; they interact and are inseparably connected. It is the communication between the two spheres that produces the tension that moves the choreography.
Um, ok.

I tried to like it, really, I did. But I didn't like Mopey either. Apparently to be new and fresh, it must not utilize ballet steps. The audience gave it a tepid response.

Moving on:

The Piano Dance: A tall cool glass of water was the best description of Paul Gibson's work, which the audience ate up, and made me long to see more of his work (hint to Doug for the 2013 season, should he read this amateur review). Loved the costumes and the dancers looked comfortable and very sharp. It looks like fun to dance. A pox upon the house of the audience member who's cell phone went off in the middle of the adagio. Fie!

Concerto DSCH: Olivier Wevers and Maria Chapman were secure in the pas de deux, she looked so tiny next to the towering Mr. Wevers, who clearly relished the piece. Slightly ragged in parts, but overall, a splendid debut in Seattle for Ratmansky's works. I enjoyed watching the patterns take shape on stage, the little charming details really make the difference. May all the executives who leave the Bolshoi produce such fine work! I can see from this production why the reviews for ABT's Nutcracker were also so strong. Many of the lifts remind me of ice dancing, which is rather funny, because their choreographers always say that they borrow moves from ballet and modern dance! Really looking forward to Don Quixote in 2012.

Finally, because we were stuck in traffic for so long, we didn't get to have lunch before the show, and I would like to say a kind word for the on site catering and snacks at McCaw Hall, especially their hot, salted almonds, which were worth every penny, and kept my hungry stomach from making angry noises and disrupting the dancers. :)

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A pox upon the house of the audience member who's cell phone went off in the middle of the adagio. Fie

I was there Saturday afternoon too, and of course I felt the same way when that cell phone did its thing. I guess out of 1000 people there is always going to be someone who forgets. Often there is an announcement which reminds folks, but this is not universally done....and in fact, I don't remember such an announcement that afternoon.

Concerto DSCH:......Slightly ragged in parts

FWIW, the performance of Concerto at the Saturday matinee did seem somewhat rougher to me than it did on opening night the evening before.

P.S. Welcome back to Seattle Jayne. I see you timed it just as our La Nina inspired, never ending, cold, wet winter ended this week!

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A new video of Alexei Ratmansky rehearsing "Concerto DSCH", primarily with Carla Korbes and Karel Cruz, but later you can see Maria Chapman and Olivier Wevers in the mirror and background later in the video.

For some reason it's set to Mendelssohn.

Alan Dameron is the pianist playing the actual music.

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A new video where they show sections of the ballet with a freeze frame of the photos Angela Sterling took:

"Pacific"

First clip: Front row l-r: Laura Gilbreath, Ariana Lallone. Back row l-r: Kylee Kitchens, Leslie Rausch

Second clip: Carla Korbes, Olivier Wevers

Third clip: Ariana Lallone, Lucien Postlewaite

"Place a Chill"

First clip: Jonathan Porretta

Second clip: Chelsea Adomaitis, James Moore?

"The Piano Dance"

First clip: Front: Laura Gilbreath, Karel Cruz. Back row l-r: Rachel Foster and Benjamin Griffiths. Chalnessa Eames and Josh Spell. Margaret Mullin and Jerome Tisserand.

Second clip: Laura Gilbreath, Karel Cruz.

Third clip: Rachel Foster

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Some extra thoughts about the program.

Pacific

I’m never sure if Morris is making intentional references to modern dance styles and icons when he choreographs, or if they are subconscious, but I often see his heritage reflected in his work, even in the dances for ballet companies. The women’s quartet in Pacific reminds me very much of the all-female work that Martha Graham made early in her career, circa Primitive Mysteries perhaps. They pace onstage with serious intent, rather like Graham’s female corps -- these are women with a purpose. And their big lunges, combined with powerful arm gestures, mark their space and establish their authority. In the opening night cast, Ariana Lallone is first among equals in this group, ranging further into the space and continuing to explore while the others have stopped. At one point, they are all standing in 1st position on pointe, all looking to the center of their group -- Lallone has her back to the audience but she still keeps our eyes, from the etched curve of her insteps through her long, straight spine. She would be terrifying if you didn’t believe that she was working for good.

One of the male trio at the beginning of the work (Lucien Postelwaite on opening night) introduces a tricky step, a leap to the side with the trailing leg kicking high to the side while the head and chest pitch forward. It’s got a great accent from the start, but it isn’t until later in the work, after several people have picked up on it, that I realize it’s just like the lead couple in Doris Humphrey’s seminal New Dance. In the Variations and Conclusion (the only part that’s still performed anywhere) that is their signature movement as everything piles on top of itself in the finale -- it’s so exciting to see it in this context, no matter how it got here. Olivier Wevers and Carla Korbes did an excellent job with it when I saw it during the first weekend. As always, these kinds of references make me wish I could see some of these dancers in the classic modern rep. Can you imagine an Appalachian Spring with Carrie Imler as the Bride and Ariana Lallone as the Pioneer Woman?

Place a Chill

I really wish I’d been able to see this before the earthquake and tsunami in Japan -- I have a feeling I would be thinking about it quite differently. It isn’t just the chair drop (though the image of them scattered across the stage while dancers have to pick their way through the mess is probably the one I will remember longest) -- the general agitation of the work just seems to feed into the disquiet we’ve been getting from the international news recently. It’s interesting to see how that unease develops during the work -- the opening could easily lead into humor. As the lights come up we see these fluffy things attached to the dancers -- they resemble lichen or feathery vegetation -- and as the dancers start to move, they vibrate. But those dancers fade into the low light during an initial male duet (James Moore and Ezra Thomson on opening night, I think -- the light levels made id’s hard) and although that first pairing could have a lighthearted interpretation (it had several thwarted tango moments) the unrelenting agitation makes humor unlikely. By the time we get to the chairs, we are primed for chaos.

Goecke has built his movement on ballet skills -- there is a power and clarity in the locomotion and the articulation that comes from that tradition, but I can’t say that he’s really extended the vocabulary in a substantial way. He’s made a complex and difficult work, but it doesn’t really open a door for further exploration in the way that Jiri Kylian’s cross-pollination of ballet and modern dance does, or the more straightforward explorations that James Kudelka or Christopher Wheeldon have been making (or like Alexi Ratmansky, later in this program). You need to be highly trained to accomplish what he’s set here, and that experience would probably extend what you’re able to do in a more classical situation, but this still feels like a one-off.

Goecke cast extensively from the corps, and it’s great to see them step up to the challenge -- Thomson and Ryan Cardea in particular really committed to the twitchy specificity. Andrew Bartee has been going from strength to strength with the opportunities he’s had this year, as has Margaret Mullin. And at the end, Jonathan Poretta was a very welcome presence -- the lights go down on him standing center stage with outstretched arms, a grounding influence.

The Piano Dance

Everyone has been saying for ages that they wish Paul Gibson would make a new piece for the company, and failing that, would bring his Piano Dance back. It was a very welcome revival, and while the new cast didn’t make me forget the originals, they certainly made convincing additions to the possibilities.

Gibson does good, good things with his neo-classical education here, but looking back over my notes they’re as much about the individuals dancing as they are the steps and the structures. I remember loving the variety of music when this premiered, and it’s still a treat to see and hear. Maybe it’s because so many ballet dancers train with piano accompanists, but works that feature a solo piano just seem to have a direct connection between the musician and the dancers.

Seth Orza substituted for Jeff Stanton on opening night, dancing with Lesley Rausch, and while I missed Stanton’s sanguine demeanor, Orza and Rausch were a good match. Their big duet was full of long simple phrases, and they filled them with attention without hamming them up. That happened as well with Chalnessa Eames and Josh Spell in their stop-and-start-again duet. When she winds up clutching his butt and then looking at the audience, the moment could easily become a burlesque. Eames lets it be funny and salacious, but doesn’t make it into a bigger joke than it should be. I know Benjamin Griffiths can do dark -- he was a very effective Mopey a couple years ago, and gave a lovely, thoughtful reading of the male solo in Square Dance, but I still think that ‘sunny’ is his middle name. In his solo, with the Italian commedia gestures, he just looked like he was happy to be there, and we were happy to see him. And in the runner’s duet with Rachel Foster, they reminded me of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland -- very spunky. Jerome Tisserand looked rather small and pale next to Karel Cruz in Pacific, but in Piano Dance he really shone -- lovely attenuation in his legs and very clean execution. In my notes, Sarah Ricard Orza is SRO, which always makes her seem very special, and she was, in that stretchy solo where she manipulates herself rather like a puppet (I open my thigh here, I push out of the lunge there) You can see the Brit influence in Barry Kerolis’ turns -- they’re very musical, especially in the opening sections here. And when Cruz comes out for the big duet with Laura Gilbreath draped over his shoulder it’s quite astonishing -- they’re both so long in the leg that when they drop down to do those side-side shifts low to the ground (the image with Louise Nadeau that’s on all the ticket stock) they seem to cover half the width of the stage.

Concerto DSCH

I got a chance to see this last summer in rehearsal when it was first set on the company, and I remember walking out of the building with my head full of references. There are moments that feel straight out of Petipa, maybe something that got taught in a variations class that isn’t in the active rep any more, while other parts have a real Soviet dramballet vibe (the valiant corps striding off into the future). And then there’s the Ballet Russe moments, or perhaps these come from his time in Denmark, where it all looks a little like Boutique Fantasque or some other children’s game. For someone like me, who likes to see the past in the present, it was big, big fun.

He’s got some really fascinating stuff going on with mainline vocabulary all the way through the work, but in the opening section he’s made a real devilish solo for a woman. It’s fast, complex, covers ground and plays with timing -- Carrie Imler nailed it, but showed us that it was really tricky on opening night. Rachel Foster wasn’t quite as on top of it the next day -- she did everything that was asked of her but her phrasing wasn’t quite as articulate. She’s really strong, and can be very fast, but doesn’t really have the same sense of quickness that serves Imler so well. Bakthurel Bold and Seth Orza make a playful trio with Imler on opening night in what seems like an elaborate game of tag. The two men are just different enough in size that they have a kind of Mutt and Jeff quality -- in another cast it’s Jonathan Poretta and Benjamin Griffiths as Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Later in the work Orza looks like a toy general leading his troops, with his hand over his heart. The work is laced with these childlike bits – even the moments of flat out virtuosity have a certain playground quality, like the series of jumps and air turns for a man (Tisserand in the matinee) with flexed feet in the air. They’re a bear to do without the extra lift you get from pushing your foot against the floor, but the overall image is of a toy, like Buzz Lightyear at the ballet.

The central pas de deux is beautiful, but the relationship (Cruz and Korbes opening night, Wevers and Chapman on the matinee) is about very young love – the two of them part at the end with a few looks, each going off with a different group. Some of the gestures that Ratmansky chose for this duet look to be custom made, but not always clear if they have a specific meaning – at the top of one big lift, with the woman held horizontal to the ground, her arms are stretched toward her head, with her hands clasped in what could look beseeching or victorious – neither really makes sense at the time, but I haven’t been able to puzzle out what else could be going on.

Ratmansky plays some fun games with timing, both the internal timing of specific steps and overall timing effects. Interestingly, he plays one game with timing that I also saw that week in a video at the Seattle Art Museum, in an exhibit by the visual artist and former dancer Nick Cave. In the film, a group of dancers wearing some of Cave’s “Soundsuits” (full body costumes covered in various materials, including hair) are jumping on pogo sticks, and it seems that some of the footage is shown in reverse, so that the accents you see reflected in the long hair of the suit are seen backwards, with the snap of the landing happening when the dancer seems to be taking off. In Concerto, Ratmansky shifts a leg gesture in a common jumping step so that it stretches away from the landing leg when it normally would be closing in, giving the jump a more delicate feel. And toward the end of the work, he has a group of dancers repeat an entire sequence, but slows it down until it runs at about half speed, while the rest of the ensemble performs normally – an old filmmakers trick as well as a familiar structural device used by post-modern choreographers. Between the historical references, the contemporary structural devices and the technical developments, Ratmansky is working in the past, the present and the future. So who says ballet is dead?

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The work is laced with these childlike bits – even the moments of flat out virtuosity have a certain playground quality, like the series of jumps and air turns for a man (Tisserand in the matinee) with flexed feet in the air. They’re a bear to do without the extra lift you get from pushing your foot against the floor, but the overall image is of a toy, like Buzz Lightyear at the ballet.

I love that part -- against the rest of the men, Tisserand is bouncing up and down on his trampoline. There are sports images scattered throughout, like the men in pairs that go hurdling horizontally across upstage. When William Lin-Yee hurdled about 10 feet off the ground, Ryan Cardea was right behind him, looking like a puppy following his master, or at least his alpha.

By Saturday night, nothing in the role looked tricky for Imler.

Did anyone see this weekend's performances? Friday night there were major debuts in "Concerto DSCH": Rausch and Bold in the pas de deux and Chalnessa Eames, Lucien Postlewaite, and Jerome Tisserand in the pas de trois, to be repeated at today's (Sunday's) matinee.

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I love that part -- against the rest of the men, Tisserand is bouncing up and down on his trampoline. There are sports images scattered throughout, like the men in pairs that go hurdling horizontally across upstage. When William Lin-Yee hurdled about 10 feet off the ground, Ryan Cardea was right behind him, looking like a puppy following his master, or at least his alpha.

Oh you put your finger on it -- the sporty stuff is also very Russian (thinking of Messerer in his soccer solo!)

By Saturday night, nothing in the role looked tricky for Imler.

I can imagine!

Did anyone see this weekend's performances? Friday night there were major debuts in "Concerto DSCH": Rausch and Bold in the pas de deux and Chalnessa Eames, Lucien Postlewaite, and Jerome Tisserand in the pas de trois, to be repeated at today's (Sunday's) matinee.

Yes, please -- particularly about the trio. I think they'd all be a great match in those parts!

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Did anyone see this weekend's performances? Friday night there were major debuts in "Concerto DSCH": Rausch and Bold in the pas de deux and Chalnessa Eames, Lucien Postlewaite, and Jerome Tisserand in the pas de trois, to be repeated at today's (Sunday's) matinee.
Yes, please -- particularly about the trio. I think they'd all be a great match in those parts!

I saw the Saturday 3/26/11 performance. I had seen the program 3 times the week before, and I thought I was done, but after a few days I knew I had to see it once more. I choose the 3/26 evening cast primarily to see the opening night cast again in "Pacific" (the cast I thought was the best of the best), and to see Carrie Imler in Concerto again. An extra bonus for me was that Carrie was partnered by Poretta and Griffiths who, IMHO, are the 2 best male dancers in the company to make that fast-paced, virtuoso tour de force click like a well oiled machine. It struck me as advantageous that these 3 dancers were all about the same height. Having seen other casts where those also excellent casts were more dissimilar in height, I was pleasantly pleased to see the possibilities that these 3 smaller framed dancers were able to create. IMO, all three of these dancers are known for their speed (clearly related to height), together they blew off the top of my head.

Another thing struck me. I had seen the dress rehearsal, opening night, and the next day Saturday evening matinee performance -- which were the 1st, 2nd, and 4th 3rd run thru of the program for the company. I was not prepared for the huge improvement I felt existed that following weekend. Not that the level wasn't as high as it should have been the week before, it certainly was, but they took it to an even higher level on 3/26. I was flattened by the realization of how different these 4 works are, and yet the PNB dancers performed each of them at the highest possible level with not only technical skills, and artistry, but also with an enthusiasm and commitment that can only come from dancers who are truly loving what they do.

Sorry I can't comment on the Saturday matinee trio.

P.S. I can't end without saying......my oh my....can you believe that Margaret Mullin and Ezra Thomson?? Together or apart, I think the future of PNB is in good hands!

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