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PNB Visits Spoleto in All-Tharp Program 6-8 July

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PNB is bringing fourteen dancers and three works by Twyla Tharp to the Spoletto Festival next week, 6-8 July: "Opus 111," "Pas de deux from 'Waterbaby Bagatelles'," and "Nine Sinatra Songs."

Here's the press release:

So Long, Seattle – Buongiorno, Spoleto!

Pacific Northwest Ballet flies to Italy to perform three evenings of ALL THARP at Spoleto 55: Festival dei Due Mondi

July 6 – 8, 2012 – 9:15 pm

Teatro Romano

Piazza della Libertà

Spoleto, Italy

Special thanks to Raisbeck Engineering, Principal Sponsor of PNB’s performances at the Festival dei Due Mondi.

Ciao, bella!
While Seattleites are still being taunted by sporadic summer showers, fourteen dancers from Pacific Northwest Ballet are departing for sunny Spoleto to present three performances dedicated to acclaimed choreographer Twyla Tharp. As part of
Spoleto 55: Festival dei Due Mondi
, PNB’s
performances will be presented nightly, July 6-8, at 9:15 pm in the historic Teatro Romano. Support for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s performances at the Festival dei Due Mondi comes from Principal Sponsor, Raisbeck Engineering. This engagement is also supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through
USArtists International
in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Festival dei Due Mondi
(Festival of the Two Worlds)
is an annual summer music and opera festival held each June to early July in Spoleto, Italy, since its founding by composer Gian Carlo Menotti in 1958. It features a vast array of concerts, opera, dance, drama, visual arts, and roundtable discussions on science.

The "Two Worlds" in the name of the festival comes from Gian Carlo Menotti’s intention to have the worlds of American and European culture facing each other in his event; this concept would then be strengthened by the fact that it was held in conjunction with its "twin," the Spoleto Festival USA held annually in May/June in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Spoleto 55: Festival dei Due Mondi runs June 29 – July 15. For more information, visit

Raisbeck Engineering
was founded in 1973 and continues its long-standing tradition of improving personal, business and corporate aircraft performance through the integration of advanced technology with currently flying airplanes.

The line-up for PNB’s
performances in Spoleto includes:


Johannes Brahms (String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111, 1890)

Twyla Tharp

Assistant to the Choreographer:
Charlie Neshyba-Hodges

Costume Design:
Mark Zappone

Lighting Design:
Randall G. Chiarelli

Brahms composed this string quintet (unusually scored for two violins, two violas, and cello) while on a nature retreat in the summer of 1890. The music has a vivacious folk flavour, with the cello featured in the first movement and the viola, Brahms′ favorite instrument, carrying the theme in the second. Twyla Tharp has choreographed the quintet′s four movements for six couples.

Pas de deux from
Waterbaby Bagatelles

Twyla Tharp

Shelley Washington

Scenic and Costume Design:
Santo Loquasto

Lighting Design:
Jennifer Tipton

Bagatelles are short and unpretentious musical compositions. Twyla Tharp′s array of ballet bagatelles, with its many references to all things aquatic, includes a wonderfully sinuous pas de deux danced to John Lurie′s Bella by Barlight.

Nine Sinatra Songs

Twyla Tharp

Shelley Washington

Original Costume Design:
Oscar de la Renta

Original Scenic Design:
Santo Loquasto

Original Lighting Design:
Jennifer Tipton

Choreographed in 1982, Twyla Tharp′s
Nine Sinatra Songs
has become a popular classic, presenting its view of 1950′s social dancing through the nostalgic but sharpened eyes of the 1980s. Oscar de la Renta′s dresses and tuxedos flash with a similar double edge of past and present eras. Choreographing to classic Sinatra—including "One for My Baby," "Strangers in the Night," and "My Way"—Tharp upscales traditional ballroom dancing with the active participation of the female dancer in styles ranging from tango to flamenco to exhibition disco.
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PNB just tweeted a picture of some of the dancers and staff (?) in front of the banner. Check out the banner -- very dramatic and great production values:


On the left are Korbes and Cruz in "Waterbaby Bagatelles" and on the right are Rachel Foster and Kiyon Gaines in "Opus 111."

It's too bad PNB doesn't have that kind of budget and real estate to showcase Angela Sterling's photos. Seattle Opera had a huge ad on a Seattle Center building for The Ring that could be seen for at least a mile. Click the photo to get a sense of how big it is.

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