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Keeping Up With...

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[Admin Note: I've split posts that talk about what PNB veterans are now doing from the "Retirements" thread, so that we can keep up with them.]

Casey Herd is going to the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam. Both he and Pantastico are dancing their final steps with PNB this weekend in Duato's Jardi Tancat, during the Kennedy Center's Ballet Across America mini-festival.

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Good for them -- I remember both of them from their time here and was so sorry when they left. She really caught my eye in a rehearsal for Sleeping Beauty (when the company was first having the work set). She really treated the style with respect. And he was a great asset to the outreach programs the company was setting up, alongside his performing work.

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Peter Boal told us the following news at this afternoon's Q&A:

*Miranda Weese is retiring. She and her NY-based partner who is in the music business may work together, and she has plans to teach.

*Anton Pankevitch is joining Ballet San Jose, but as Boal also said, he has been teaching in Europe and has a lot of irons in the fire

*Jodie Thomas, as previously known, is joining Royal Danish Ballet.

In the retirement insert, which I practically stole from the 6-year-old in my row, noted that Thomas had guested with Royal Danish Ballet in an exchange with PNB a few years ago.

There will be special bows for each at next Sunday matinee's regular season closer. Thomas is scheduled to dance Girl in Apricot in "Dances" and First Movement, "Symphony in C", and Weese for Girl in Green in that performance.

Louise Nadeau, Boal noted, is going to sleep in :angel_not:

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This morning on Facebook there was a post from Sandra Radvanovsky's fan page to say that her new album, "Verdi: Arias" was released today, which did its job by sending me immediately to iTunes to buy it and start downloading, and I started to think of artists I'd love to get news like this, or of performance updates, etc. Which led me to ignore my taxes for yet another hour and to poke around looking for PNB dancer fan pages. (This intro is an awkward way to explain that I'm really not a stalker...[i've too short an attention span].)

I didn't find many, just dancer's regular FB pages, but one "friend" profile photo caught my eye, of Rachel Butler-Otto and her two children. She looks stunning, just like when she retired!


Since people change their profile pictures all the time, there's no guarantee it will be up for long.

Through a bunch of clicks, I learned from her public profile that Rebecca Johnston is in law school in DC, and Nicholas Ade's profile photo is a beautiful shot of him and his wife, Paige Parks.

(Must stop now and do taxes...)

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A mention of Rachel Butler-Otto and Phillip Otto by Christopher Fleming, who reports on his website that he's been teaching at the summer intensive at their school in Huntsville, Alabama this summer:

The students are hard working and focused here. Phil and Rachel have a very large school (350 students) and a good Regional Ballet Company. They did a Pas de deux of mine last season on a contemporary program and may be doing something else next season (More about that later).Did I mention that the average temp. here, is around 100 degrees.


Fleming was a terrific dancer at NYCB, and the "About" section notes that he is a "part-time professor with the Dance Department at Goucher College." (It's a mere 88 degrees in Baltimore.) It was nice to see that his logo is a picture of him in "Fancy Free", a great role for him.

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Fleming was a terrific dancer at NYCB....
Yes, he was.

At one performance when Fleming was one of the four "froggy" corps men backing up the principal "Spring" section of The Four Seasons," a woman sitting near me apparently noted the dark blond hair and squarish jaw of one of them (Fleming), ignored the extra 4 or so inches of height and exclaimed to her companion, "Oh, look! It's Baryshnikov!!!" :lol:

This seems to be a recent photo, but you get the idea.

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Christoph Maraval is now ballet master at Naples Academy of Ballet.

“The point is to teach good ballet even to students who are not going to make it a career,” Maraval said after Thursday’s class, “Here I can really teach what I have learned and really make a difference.”

Naples Academy owner Toshiko Tompkins chose Maraval after working for three months with seven candidates looking for the right fit. She eventually flew to Montreal to observe Maraval’s classes.

“I knew right away that he had not only the background to teach the technique, but you can see that he cares and wants to make the kids better.” Tompkins said. “I look back now and know that I made the right decision.”


There's a slide show with the article.

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I saw the notice about Maraval and was curious about his choice -- before he left PNB he'd mentioned in an interview that one of the reasons he went to Montreal was a chance for his children to live in a French-speaking environment, which I don't think is part of Naples, Florida!

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I've been watching some of the coverage of the Royal Danes, looking for Jodie Thomas, and here she is, as Aurora in their new production of Sleeping Beauty

from Eva Kistrup's review on danceviewtimes here

The second performance I caught starred Jodie Thomas and Thomas Lund as the lead couple. Soloist Jodie Thomas joined the company last year and is a strong, small and competent dancer, although not dramatically strong nor able to match Lund in elegance and style. But she was wise enough to follow his lead and thereby this performance gained not only a heart but also a significant style and expression.

A big step for her -- I'm glad to hear about the casting.

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She wasn't a member of Pacific Northwest Ballet, but Alice Cao did dance in main stage productions as a Professional Division student while earning a BS in Computer Science at the University of Washington. She joined American Repertory Ballet after spending last season as an apprentice with Ballet Memphis.

Given Ms. Cao's academic track record and history of multi-tasking, I would not be surprised if one of the lures of the company is proximity to a great university.

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I happened to watch "Mao's Last Dancer" on DVD a couple of days ago. I couldn't help but be struck by the similarity between Sar's experience and challenges compared to Cunxin's -- each even has a movie. Anyone else struck by this?

P.S. I liked the movie, but overall I was not particularly impressed.....the slow motion dancing particularly bothered me.

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Olivier Wevers has won a Princess Grace award for his choreography with Whim W'him. Here's the announcement:

Olivier Wevers Receives Princess Grace Award

First Seattle Choreographer To Receive Award For Seattle Dance Company

Olivier Wevers, Artistic Director of Seattle dance company Whim W’Him, has been awarded the prestigious Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship. Wevers, a former principal dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet, is the first recipient of the choreographic fellowship award residing in Seattle, as well as creating a new work for a Seattle-based company.

Donald Byrd, Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theatre, nominated Wevers for the prestigious award. A portion of the award will go towards funding a new creation by Wevers for Spectrum’s upcoming season. In nominating Wevers, Byrd said ‘As he leaves his career as a dancer Olivier enjoys strong public and critical interest in his choreography and I would like to help to build that support. At Spectrum Dance Theater he will find a platform for deep investigation of his ideas and ideas are what will sustain his career."

Wevers choreographic career started in 2002 and the new works he’s choreographed for Whim W’Him ‘s sold-out audiences since 2009 have caused a stir not only on the local and national dance scene but also abroad. In April, Whim W’Him was the first and only US dance troupe invited to compete in the 4th Copenhagen International Choreography Competition. In 2010 Whim W’Him picked up the Grand Prize Award at the 13th Annual Dance Under The Stars Choreography Festival in Palm Desert.

Two of Whim W’Him’s dancers, PNB principal dancer Lucien Postlewaite and PNB corps dancer Andrew Bartee were the recipients of Princess Grace Dance Awards in 2008 and 2007.

Wevers will be recognized in an award ceremony hosted by Prince Albert II of Monaco November 1st at Cipriani in New York City. Joining him will be his husband, Lucien Postlewaite. They are the first married couple in the country to both be Princess Grace award recipients.


The Princess Grace Foundation-USA is a national foundation dedicated to identifying and assisting emerging talent in theater, dance, and film by awarding grants in the form of scholarships, apprenticeships, and fellowships. It was named after Princess Grace of Monaco.

Spectrum Dance Theatre Under the artistic direction of choreographer Donald Byrd since 2002, Spectrum Dance Theater has thrilled audiences in Seattle and across the nation with dynamic, rigorous, thoughtful and provocative contemporary dance. " . . .the toughest, sexiest, wiliest dance troupe in town.", Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times.

Whim W’Him: Recently voted 2011 Best Arts Organization by Seattle Weekly readers, Whim W'Him is Seattle’s hottest young dance company, led by former PNB principal dancer and choreographer Olivier Wevers. Committed to innovation, collaboration, and high caliber relevant art that engages and challenges audiences Whim W’Him is both “entirely classic and entirely now”.

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This article by Alice Kaderlan has quotes by Wevers and some details about the work he will choreograph for Spectrum Dance Theatre:


Almost as soon as he received notice of the award, Wevers started to think about the piece he’ll create for Spectrum. He’s chosen music by Johan Johannson that he says has a “dark and mysterious” feeling and has some ideas about costumes, but the hard work of creating the movement is yet to come. Given the local buzz about Wevers — all recent Whim W’Him performances have received critical acclaim and performed to sold-out houses — the new work is bound to get a lot of attention whenever it opens.

Wevers has worked with some past and current Spectrum dancers in his own company, including the splendicious Kylie Lewallen, Ty Alexander Cheng, Kelly Ann Barton, and Hannah Lagerway. It will be interesting to see with whom he works and how many dancers he'll use for this new piece.

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