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Kiyon Gaines has been making work outside of PNB for several years, but now that he's retired from performing it looks like that part of his career is stepping up. Alongside his resident choreographer gig with Ballet Arkansas, he made a delightful ballet for Cornish Dance Theater, the performing group at Cornish College for the Arts here in Seattle. Alas, the run closed last night, but I saw the matinee and was so excited -- he made a neo-classical ensemble piece with great parts for young soloists to a score by Aaron Severini (a composer I don't know, but very danceable). Cornish does an excellent job of training young artists (I used to teach there, so I'm likely a bit biased!) -- they get very solid ballet, but it isn't exclusively a ballet program, so it's even more impressive that Gaines found the sweet spot that challenged his cast, but also made them look fabulous.

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Here's a small piece from the San Francisco Chronicle about costumes and the style of two of SF Ballet's newest dancers - including Jahna Frantziskonis:


Alas, you have to be a subscriber to read the article -- can you give us a precis?

Apologies for the late reply. The article talked about the costumes Lauren Strongin and Jahna Frantziskonis would have loved to have kept and their fashion icons. The title of the article was 'SF Ballet Dancers Channel A Pair of Hepburns'. Lauren loves Katharine Hepburn, while Jahna's fashion icon is Audrey Hepburn. Really unfortunate that this article is only available to subscribers. It was available briefly on sfgate.com but changed not too long after my post.

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Jahna Frantziskonis will be making her debut as Olga in John Cranko's Onegin on Sunday 5/1:


So looking forward to this!!!

Wow, what an opportunity! Let us know all about it

Just got home from today's performance of Onegin. The ballet is better than I remember, and everyone was spectacular. Of course, I know you all want to know how Jahna was. I have to say that of all the performances I have seen of Olga, Jahna is my favorite. I really think she was able to show what a fun loving character Olga is and then later show the anguish at the fate of Lensky (the dashing Joseph Walsh). And her dancing was wonderful as well.

There were a few PNB dancers in attendance as well. I had a feeling there would be when I saw the following Instagram posts:




I had the chance to speak with them before and after the performance and we all agreed she was wonderful!!

Jahna will dance again on Wednesday night.

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Well those three better not get any ideas...

I think Frantziskonis is a special case (there won't be a flood of dancers leaving for SFB), and mostly because SF had something PNB didn't have: her brother (whom she names as her best friend). That was a strong pull. And I believe they are now roommates in SF.


The smart phone falling on the ground made me laugh pretty hard. ;)

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Former PNB School Faculty Bruce Wells, whose choreography for Pacific Northwest Ballet's family matinees is vastly underrated in my opinion, has choreographed "Cinderella" for Grand Rapids Ballet, and it premiered last night. It's set to a score by Johann Strauss II, who, according to this article, died before he could complete a score for "Cinderella."


The approach he is taking sounds fascinating to me, as is the set design by former Principal Dancer Michael Auer.

I live in hope that a Ballet Alertnik! has seen this and can report :beg: .

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I'm so pleased to see Wells working on Cinderella, but I do wish that the above article had some kind of author credit. I have a feeling it's a reprint of press materials from the company, which is just fine, but needs to be credited.

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I think Frantziskonis is a special case (there won't be a flood of dancers leaving for SFB), and mostly because SF had something PNB didn't have: her brother (whom she names as her best friend). That was a strong pull. And I believe they are now roommates in SF.

Jahna posted this short vid on her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BFK6uczQbYM/?taken-by=jahnagram

I had the chance to speak with them briefly after yesterday's Onegin performance. I complimented Jahna on her performance as Olga - really I should have complimented her on the entire season.

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Former PNB Principal Dancer Julie Tobiason has choreographed a new work for the Seattle International Dance Festival's Spotlight on Contemporary Ballet. The cast will feature PNB School & Professional Division Alumna Alice Cao and local artist Joshua Crouch. Performances are June 21-22 7:30pm at Broadway Performance Hall. http://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/dance/baryshnikovs-dance-collective-opens-seattle-international-dance-festival/

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