Sorry that it has taken me a week to respond, but life gets so hectic. I thought I better get something typed out before the finer details of the afternoon disappear from my memory bank.
My husband had to do some work in his lab that morning, so I was a little iffy on making it to Seattle on time for the performance, but I am happy to report that we made it there with plenty of time to spare. We were pleasantly surprised to find parking for a $5 flat rate right behind the official parkade, which we could pay by credit card. Last year this parking lot didn’t have this machine or we would have parked there. Seattle has an interesting system of paying for parking by putting your money or cheque into a mailbox type system. We were warned last year that if we didn’t have cheques, it was best if we found parking which was either pre-paid or with a visa machine, in order to avoid disputes. When we found this lot, we felt we were in for a good afternoon…and that proved to be very accurate.
My husband was very impressed with McCaw Hall, especially the fountain outside—very organic. We were seated in row k of the lower gallery (stage left), and my husband was surprised that the tickets were so inexpensive, as we had a great view. We could see the sweat and hear the breathing (not always), and he was very impressed with the how they can make something that is obviously very difficult, look so effortless.
The afternoon started with a wonderful surprise. Peter Boal and his son came out on stage and thanked everyone for coming. He discussed a bit about his choices for the program and mentioned that he hoped that next time everyone would bring a friend to the ballet—as an example, he had brought his son. He also said that he would be joining us by watching the ballet from the front of house, as it would give him an added perspective on the work itself. What a treat. It was such a pleasant surprise to be addressed directly, and to have him watch the performance from the audience. He and his son were there for every act.
In the Night:
Mara Vinson and Lucien Postlewaite were young love; Ariana Lallone and Stanko Milov were mature love; Louise Nadeau and Chrstophe Maraval were balanced love. It was a beautiful piece and a lovely first choice for the performance, as I felt that there was a nice build to the entire afternoon. A house is not sturdy without a solid foundation. All of excerpts were lovely. Mara and Lucien seemed to be the crowd favourites, but I really enjoyed Ariana and Stanko performance myself. Ariana has beautiful épaulement, which really added to the ‘comfort’ of mature love. Overall, a lovely, well danced piece. It was followed by a 25 minute intermission, which as too long in my opinion.
I have only ever seen Forsythe’s “In the middle somewhat elevated”, which I absolutely adored, and was quite looking forward to seeing this piece. As well, Carla Kőrbes was dancing, and after reading all of the hype, I was very curious to see her perform. From the start, it is very apparent that the piece was choreographed for Ballett Frankfurt. The stage was stripped bare of all of the drapery, and the only lighting was the big, bright, stage lights. Flesh coloured unitards for the men and flesh leotards with flesh tights on the outside for the women. The only other colour was the grey full body suite of “The Other Person” (spectre) which was performed by Kylee Kitchens. I would have preferred to see Kylee in a dancing role, as I remember her to be quite lovely. As soon as I saw the stage, I really wondered what my husband was going to think of this one. It was either going to be a love or hate thing. Well…he ended up really enjoying it. It was his overall favourite piece. In reading the program notes prior to the start, we were informed that this piece was punctuated by the curtain crashing to the floor throughout the performance. The first time it happened I heard my husband chuckle and people around us gasp “I don’t think that was supposed to happen”, but by the fourth drop, everyone was pretty habituated to it. In discussing it after, my husband said that he really liked the fact the curtain dropped, as it give his senses a chance to ‘re-group’. It made me thinking about the way that music is generally used to signify a stop or change in the choreography. For example, in the first piece “In the Night”, the transitions between the different stages of love were made apparent by the end of one nocturne and then the beginning of another. In the Forsythe piece, the transitions were made by the curtain dropping, while the music continued to play. It really is quite an innovative way to complete transitions. The more I think about this piece, the more I like it for the intellectual stretching that it forced me to go through. The real standouts of the performance for both my husband and I were Maria Chapman and Karel Cruz! They were outstanding. They were a beautiful match and Maria was amazing. I had high expectations for Carla, but next to Maria, there was no contest. Style-wise, body, feet, musicality, I felt real passion from Maria.
I saw this piece last year, so it was interesting to compare the staging from the new to the old. Peter Boal did a beautiful job with this piece. The connection between Noelani Pantastico and Olivier Wevers was evident. The final few moments are extremely touching, and brought tears to my eyes. I don’t remember having the same emotional reaction to the first staging of the piece. Beautiful music (haunting at times), along with beautiful dancing, made for an exquisite experience. In terms of its placement within the afternoon, it was perfect. The soft, lightness of the piece was a welcome contrast to the bright and bold Forsythe that had preceded it.
Symphony in Three Movements
What a wonderful piece to showcase the talent of the PNB dancers. Gorgeous music and movement… what a feast for the audience. Principal couples for the first movement were: Carrie Imler and Jonathan Porretta; Patricia Barker and Casey Heard; and Jodie Thomas and Jordan Pacitti. Quite striking to see all the corps women in full white leos and tights, the female soloist in black leos and the principals in pink. Jonathan Porretta commanded attention and deserves a special mention. The execution was wonderful, especially considering the complexity of the patterns. I did not see any wobbles or collisions. At one point I found myself thinking that was a ballet version of “Westside Story”. The second movement was a beautiful pas de deux performed by Patricia Barker and Casey Heard. Patricia Barker was lovely in this role; although I would have liked to have seen her paired with someone else. The third movement was the entire cast, and as I said earlier, it was a real feast for the eyes. My husband said that although he really liked it, he found it to be over stimulating. With so many people on stage, he wasn’t sure where to focus his attention.
Wow, this has kind of become an essay. I hope I haven’t bored everyone to death. We truly are blessed to have such a talented company so close to home. The good news is that my husband has agreed to make the return trip in June to see Jewels . I am a lucky woman on many fronts.