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Choreographer's Showcase Announced

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This season's "Choreographer's Showcase" has been posted on the PNB website:

Choregrapher's Showcase

It looks like an interesting lineup:


Music: Astor Piazzolla

Choreography: Kiyon Gaines

A new work created for eighteen dancers driven by fierce tango music. In creating {SCHWA}, Mr. Gaines says, "It is my desire to craft movement that is passionate and hypnotic, reminiscent of great tango music." Gaines debuted his first work ever attempted as a choreographer at PNB's Choreographers' Showcase last year. Titled blitz...Fantasy, it was extremely well received and reviewed with praise.

Title TBA

Music: Tchaikovsky

Choreography: Jodie Thomas

Ms. Thomas' abstract work is driven by the wonderful music of Tchaikovsky, and she states, "I hope to make something that visually expresses the music. I envision big sweeping movement, giving dancers the freedom to dance without restraint." This will be Jodie's first attempt as a choreographer, and she is excited to take on a different role in the choreographic process, other than dancing.


Music: Stanko Milov

Choreography: Stanko Milov

Mr. Milov's concept is to portray and convey his emotions and feelings through dance while using his own piano compositions as inspiration.

Title TBA

Music: Edith Piaf, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Queen

Choreography: Christophe Maraval

The theme for this new work is love, which Christophe has always seen as a wonderfully common theme in ballet. Mr. Maraval says, "I decided to take love songs from 1949–1979, which were performed by music icons, and to see how every decade has interpreted love through music." Maraval created two new works for Cincinnati Ballet (1997, 1998) as well as a new work for the Cincinnati Ballet School (1998). Last year was Christophe's first time participating in PNB's Choreographers' Showcase with his work entitled O.

Title TBA

Music: Thomas Ades

Choreography: Olivier Wevers

Olivier Wevers has been creating innovative works for numerous schools and companies since 1993 in Canada, Japan, and the United States. He has choreographed for PNB school as well as participating in each of the PNB Choreographers' Showcases.


Music: Bond

Choreography: Jonathan Porretta

Jonathan Porretta has always created new works that are high energy and filled with entertaining fun. Using the music of Bond as his canvas, Mr. Porretta is planning on showing his vision of dance, which includes a touch of classical ballet that the audience can watch and enjoy. Porretta ventured into choreography while attending the School of American Ballet in New York City. Since then, he has created a new work every year for PNB's Choreographers' Showcase, including last year's Flawless.

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Thanks for this, Joshua, and welcome to BalletTalk!

It looks like Mr. Boal is not afraid of taking a bold step towards innovation -- much along the lines of his own programs with his own small company in its programs at the Joyce Theater.

I look forward to hearing about it here -- from you and some of our other PacificNorthwesterners. I wish success to all involved.

Meanwhile, why don't you click over to our Welcome Page and introduce yourself? Thanks!

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Last year after each performance Ms. Russell and Mr. Stowell invited the audience to attend a post-performance question and answer session in a basement lecture room – is Mr. Boal continuing this?

Yes, he is - when he is available. I beieve he is in NY for the Fall Dance Festival, so it is probably being hosted by Doug Fullington and a few of the dancers. I will be at Friday's performance and will let you know more.

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The Choreographer's Showcase, a one-time performance on 22 March 06, was very strong.

For the second year in a row, Jonathan Poretta mixed techno and classical, this time with Jubilant, which featured Carrie Imler as soloist against a corps of eight, with a deliberate quote of the flying entrance against the diagonal of corps from Concerto Barocco, and a second movement with pas de deux danced by Kaori Nakamura/Lucien Postlewaite and Noelani Pantastico/Jeffrey Stanton. It was filled with Porretta's infectious energy and insight into stylistic differences shown in the contrasting pas de deux. Again, this is a piece that if it toured to public schools to show students what classical dancing can be, would cause a riotous response.

Heartfelt, choreographed by Stanko Milov to three piano pieces he composed and which appear on his eponymous new CD, was not just another piano ballet. It had a story line, with Milov seated at the piano upstage right, a spotlight shining over his shoulder downstage, composing. This transitioned to three sequential pas de deux for women in longish skirts, and Milov served his dancers well, to bring out qualities that had not be in the spotlight before. The best of these was the opening one for Lindsi Dec and Karel Cruz, which emphasized the creamy, articulate quality of her developes and soft, but equally strong romanticism. This was the role that reminded me of a young Susan Jaffee. The pas de deux that followed, one for Kari Brunson and Kiyon Gaines, the last for Laura Gilbreath and Milov himself, contrasted from the first, but were a more temperamentally similar. "Heartfelt" was a singularly appropriate title to this emotional, romantic piece.

The last piece in the first half was Olivier Wevers X Statis, whose score of pieces by contemporary composer Thomas Adès, could not have been more different than the lilting, rhythmic piano score composed by Milov. Two of the pieces were clearly based in early classical music, but there is nothing easy about his music, which I thought was fantastic. The ballet consists of five pas short pas de deux, each visually arresting, running the gamut of imagination, including one for Chalnessa Eames and a suitmaker's mannequin. The closest I can come to describing this ballet is that it contained the quirky sensibility and depth of "Five Pieces" from Episodes. Oliviers Wevers has more than talent: he has an original voice.

He showed it again in the solo called pigment he created for Ariana Lallone, which followed the intermission, set to a tape of a traditional Japanese folk song. In it, Lallone transformed from a stylized, tiny Japanese woman to her full height as a contemporary ballerina and back again throughout the piece. Completely unexpected, and totally different from X Statis.

The last piece, {SCHWA} was choregraphed by Kiyon Gaines and set to a series of tangos by Astor Piazolla. Using 18 dancers, the piece was beautifully structured, with a mixture of contrasting groupings. The very beginning didn't capture me, but two pieces in I was hooked. Luckily for all the costume gems that were created for PNB's all-tango program from a few years ago are available. The dancers look fabulous in them. According to Peter Boal in a post-performance Q&A, this piece will be presented in the Made in the Northwest festival next year.

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