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Cendrillon, Feb 3-4, 9-12

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Here's the press release -- note:  

  • Non-subscription Saturday matinee performance on 11 February 
  • Lucien Postlewaite guesting on Saturday evening, 4 February:




A Cinderella story from the creators of Roméo et Juliette


February 3 – 12, 2017

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109


Eight performances only!

February 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 at 7:30 pm

February 4 and 11 at 2:00 pm

February 12 at 1:00 pm


SEATTLE, WA – For the third program of its 2016-2017 season, Pacific Northwest Ballet is honored to be the first US company to perform Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Cendrillon, a Cinderella story from the creators of Roméo et Juliette.


From the fertile mind of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s Jean-Christophe Maillot, Cendrillon strips the classic fairy tale ofCinderella of its sugar-coating and explores the untold story of Cinderella’s mother, a vision of lost happiness, who returns from the dead in the form of a fairy godmother. It is a poignant meditation on love and loss, in which the departed shape the future of those left behind. It is also a funny, incisive take on a society crammed full of artifice. The production has been designed by the same scenic, costume and lighting artists who fashioned Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette (scenic design by Ernest Pignon-Ernest; costume design by Jerome Kaplan; and lighting by Dominique Drillot), and features Sergei Prokofiev’s stirring score performed live by the PNB Orchestra. [Parental advisory: Non-traditional themes.]


Cendrillon runs for eight performances only, February 3 through 12, 2017 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $30. For more information, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org.


“Audiences will love the opportunity to see a second work by Jean-Christophe Maillot and the dream team of designers who gave us Roméo et Juliette,” said PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal. “Maillot has a gift for taking the familiar and the expected and creating something unexpected. Cendrillon takes a favorite fairy tale and gives it a whole new spin: We see the story through a different lens, shedding light on Cinderella's father and his relationship to her mother. Add the brilliance of Jerome Kaplan's arresting costume designs and the unmistakable stamp of the creative artists behind Roméo, and you have a truly refreshing remake of the classic story.”


Guest artist Lucien Postlewaite will return to Seattle to join the Company for one performance of Cendrillon, Saturday, February 4 at 7:30 pm. Mr. Postlewaite trained on scholarship at the School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. He joined PNB as an apprentice in 2003, was promoted to corps de ballet in 2004, soloist in 2007, and principal in 2008, the same year that he was a recipient of a Princess Grace Award. In 2012, Mr. Postlewaite joined Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo.




Cendrillon (PNB Premiere)

Music: Sergei Prokofiev (Op. 87, 1940-1944; with an excerpt from Lieutenant Kijé, 1933-1934)
Choreography: Jean-Chistophe Maillot

Staging: Bernice Coppieters, Bruno Roque, and Asier Uriaguereca
Scenic Design: Ernest Pignon-Ernest

Costume Design: Jerome Kaplan
Lighting Design: Dominique Drillot
Running Time: Two hours and ten minutes, including one intermission
Original Production Premiere: April 3, 1999; Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo




Jean-Christophe Maillot studied dance and piano at the Conservatoire National de Région de Tours.  He won the Prix de Lausanne in 1977 and went on to dance principal roles as a soloist at the Hamburg Ballet for five years. An accident brought his dancing career to an abrupt end.  In 1983, he was appointed choreographer and director of the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Tours, which later became a National Centre of Choreography. He became Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s Artistic Advisor for the 1992-1993 season and was appointed Director-Choreographer by H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover in September 1993.  His arrival set the company on a new path that quickly developed the level of maturity and excellence for which this company is renowned. He has created more than 35 ballets for the company, some of which have forged the reputation of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo across the world. Several of these works are now included in the repertoires of major international ballet companies. Maillot is known for his spirit of openness and his commitment to inviting choreographers with a different style to create for the company.


In 2000 he created the Monaco Dance Forum, an international showcase for dance. In 2009, he developed the content and coordinated the Centenary of the Ballets Russes in Monaco, which featured over 50 companies and choreographers. In 2011, H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover appointed Maillot head of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, a new organization uniting the Ballets de Monte Carlo Company, the Monaco Dance Forum and the Princess Grace Academy under a single organization. In 2015, Maillot won three Golden Mask awards for La Mégère Apprivoisée.

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In the Stowell version of "Cinderella," there's a flashback to happier times between the father, mother, and Cinderella.  The concept of the mother as parallel or the reincarnation as the fairy godmother is not new.


I fear that the commercial might not make it clear enough that this is not meant for kids.  I'm not sure bare feet are enough.

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PNB's FB has annnounced the livestream on Jan 27 that Helene mentioned.


I went to the open studio rehearsal in early December.  I must admit that before that day, I was not excited about Cendrillon but after I totally am.  More because I hadn't watched a DVD or much You Tube footage so was void of information.  I thought it was odd a livestream was not being offered.  The rehearsal was such an amazing experience.


How could anyone NOT be excited about ANYTHING Bernice Coppetiers touches?  I've never seen her perform live, but I saw her take Willy Burrman's Saturday morning class at Steps and she was just a goddess, having such a way about her and her own unique style and interpretation of steps.  I was totally in awe of this creature.


It is such a treat to see her work, she is the most expressive person I have ever seen and heard.  She has such a way of showing and articulating what she wants from the dancers. I swear she could breathe life into a statue!


So don't miss out!  It's free and I believe the technology worked well from other cities so you have no excuse.  And it's a Friday - a perfect way to end the week!


Thanks to PNB for this offering!

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Reminder:  Friday's rehearsal -- January 27 -- will be live streamed from 5-6pm PST:



Casting for first weekend is up:  there will two guests, Lucien Postlewaite as the Prince on Saturday evening February 4, and April Ball as the Mother/Godmother on Friday and Saturday evening shows (February 3 and 4) and Pantastico will be very busy, with two parts and multiple partners:




Here's the link to download the spreadsheet:

Cendrillon Week 1 (17-01-25).xlsx

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Question about the April Ball guest casting: is this due to injuries among PNB female principals?  From the clips on YT this role seemed like a great casting opportunity for Carrie Imler and Laura Tisserand, or some tall girl soloists. 


Does anyone have any public information on this?  Or are they skipping Cendrillon and learning La Source?  

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No public information yet.  Week 2 casting normally would be out at the beginning of the coming week, and we'll see if there are third casts for anything.  When Vinson and Korbes went out as Juliette, neither of the younger dancers who learned it were ramped up for the second weekend.


I didn't see anyone not in published casting in the streamed rehearsal or in back of the studio shadowing roles.  Perhaps someone else did?


The Maillot people were only interested in Imler for Nurse in "Romeo et Juliette" in the first run according to Stephen Manes' book, and she danced Nurse in the last run.  My guess would be that Boal intends this to be a replacement of the Stowell "Cinderella" and to appear in the company rep going forward.  Investing in a dancer who's retiring probably wouldn't happen.  Bold isn't in Week 1 casting either, and he has been one of the Tybalts.  "La Source," like most Balanchine ballets, isn't likely to make it back into the rep anytime soon, and I hope that Imler is cast in "La Source" and "Pictures at an Exhibition."  

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Week 2 casting is up:



April Ball is cast for two performances of Mother/Fairy Godmother in Week 2, as is Noelani Pantastico.  Elle Macy makes her debut in the role in a lone performance on Saturday, 11 February matinee (2pm).  There are no other debuts for Week 2.


Here is the link to the downloadable spreadsheet:

Cendrillon Weeks 1-2 (17-01-30).xlsx

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According to Noelani's public Instagram (@hulagirl):


"The role of the Fairy is what April [Ball] was taught in her audition for BMC, and she's been doing it ever since--13 years! It's not in PNB's culture to have guests, and seems to be the norm in other major ballet companies, so I'm grateful to see this unfold here and pray it happens more. I can't tell you how much it improved my dancing to see other dancers and companies outside of this realm when I left PNB in 2008."


Though I don't know if Ball's guesting is as a replacement for someone or as an experiment in PNB hosting guest artists, it sounds like she'll be magnificent in the role! It must be exciting for the PNB dancers to get new faces and new voices as they prepare for Cendrillon.

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It's always a trade-off for members of the company when there are guests, and, in this case, Pantastico is dancing either Cendrillon or Mother/Fairy Godmother in seven of the eight performances.  She gets to eat her cake and have it, too, in this case, regardless of the merits of her argument.

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I would feel better about this if it were an equal exchange: if for example Jonathan Poretta guests with BMC in R&J as Mercurio, or another dancer is offered to take a year's sabbatical to dance at BMC.  


And yes, I think Noe is having her cake and eating it too.  She was never bumped at PNB for a BMC guest as Juliet.  Indeed quite the opposite, when she left BMC as a soloist, she expressed a fear of losing out on casting in principal roles and aging poorly out of the company.  It was better to return to PNB and have a principal's contract. 


Oh I do understand that casting puts art first and foremost.  I understand Noe paid her dues when Patricia Barker, Louise Nadeau and Carla Korbes who got first nights for years.  And Peter Boal will have full houses and fat bank accounts for the new Cinders.  And I will enjoy the show.  


Stilll....I argue the flip side of Noe's opinion: importing guests can stunt the growth of company dancers. Just look at ABT when they imported so many and failed to develop their own.  

Edited by Jayne
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For what it's worth, at the open reheasal in early December, Laura Tisserand was the Mother/Fairy.  There was a handout that mentioned Lucien was going to guest and no mention of April.


I'm sure this will be a topic at the post-show Q&A, so we'll find out Friday night.


I am glad that opening night Prince honors are going to one of our dancers (James Moore). The first time they danced Brief Fling Sacha Radetsky danced the blue guy opening night.  I saw Jerome in that role later and enjoyed his dancing a lot more than Sacha's.

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16 hours ago, seattle_dancer said:

For what it's worth, at the open reheasal in early December, Laura Tisserand was the Mother/Fairy.  There was a handout that mentioned Lucien was going to guest and no mention of April.


I'm sure this will be a topic at the post-show Q&A, so we'll find out Friday night.


I am glad that opening night Prince honors are going to one of our dancers (James Moore). The first time they danced Brief Fling Sacha Radetsky danced the blue guy opening night.  I saw Jerome in that role later and enjoyed his dancing a lot more than Sacha's.


Radetsky danced the part at the request of Twyla Tharp, who felt that he would be great in the part, and likely wouldn't have a chance at it with ABT.  I saw his performance, and thought he was more engaging in the solos than in the partnering with Nakamura.  I have a feeling, if they'd had more time together, that would have evened itself out. 

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I just received an email from PNB, Peter Boal's pre-opening letter to subscribers, and we now know why Laura Tisserand isn't dancing in "Cendrillon":  she's going to have a baby!  Congratulations to Laura and Jerome Tisserand :flowers:


Also a belated congratulations and :flowers: to Noelani Pantastico and Bruno Roque on their marriage!



          This will be our second work by Maillot, following Roméo et Juliette. You’ll realize instantly this is the work of the Roméo design team: Ernest Pignon-Ernest’s sets, Dominique Drillot’s lighting and Jerome Kaplan’s costumes.
-          Though we weren’t able to bring Jean-Christophe back to Seattle, we have had three incredible stagers from Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. Bernice Coppetiers, Jean-Christophe’s muse, spent two weeks with us. Asier Uriagereka and Bruno Roque completed the staging. Bruno is married to Noelani Pantastico.
-          We have two guests performing with us during the run of Cendrillon. Lucien Postlewaite is with us for one performance only, this Saturday night. April Ball will be doing the role of the Fairy. We are thrilled to have both Lucien and April with us. April has been with BdMC for nine years and spent many with the Boston Ballet as a principal before heading for Monaco. She was brought in at the last minute when we learned Laura and Jerome Tisserand are expecting.
-          The Fairy is covered in glitter, as is everything in this production. During a lighting rehearsal yesterday, we realized imported glitter from Monte Carlo sparkles much more than American glitter.
-          PNB spends about $200,000 dollars a year on about 1,850 pairs of pointe shoes, but our Cinderella is only seen in bare feet in this production. There is one foreshadowing scene when a somewhat-bearded Ryan Cardea plays the character of Cinderella. Ryan wears jewel-encrusted mules for this scene, which enchant our Prince, who has a bit of a foot fetish.
-          For this scene, Miles Pertl plays the stepmother. During Miles’ costume fitting, he felt he was a little saggy in the bosom and asked about a boost. The costume shop sewed in two, round squeaky toys. Listen carefully.
-          This production has plenty of gorgeous and grotesque feet and wigs that defy the mind. It’s fun, but Maillot also offers powerful themes of love, loss and relationship. The simplicity of the pure love between Cinderella and her Prince contrasts with the pain of Cinderella’s father’s relationships


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Just stopped at a cafe to report in after the matinee.  On a personal note, I stumbled quite badly 2 blocks from McCaw Hall and I'm not sure if I injured something in my calf or just swollen.   But I am limping quit badly.  I managed to limp to my seat in time, only because PNB started at 2:10 instead of on-time.  I was determined!  


At any rate I will rest a bit before limping to my car.  Hopefully some ice and rest is all that is needed.   It certainly put the extraordinary physical feats on stage in perspective. 


First and foremost, the PNB Orchestra sounded spectacular today.  They make me fall in love with Prokofiev every time I hear them.  Today our seats were toward the front orchestra, so we had none of the acoustical muffling that sitting in the Upper Tier suffers.  It was glorious and PNBO are glorious.  This music is a love letter to the brass section, and I can only wish for more Prokofiev for the PNBO to play in the future. 


Now, on to the performance.  Cinders was winningly danced by Elizabeth Murphy, and I think her gifts of plasticity were especially beautiful in this role.  Jerome Tisserand was her prince, but his is a minor role, he really doesn't get much stage time, other than two very pretty ppds with Murphy.  I think the Pleasure Superintendants get more stage time.  And they are the funniest people on the stage.  


Noelani Pantastico had the plum role of Fairy / Mother, and I enjoyed her Fairy very much.  She is Tinkerbell grown up, twinkly, spunky, humorous and gracious.  She had the best choreography, and the audience really responded to her.  I still think La Imler would have been spectacular in this role.  She has the acting chops, technique and panache to pull it off.  Alas the casting fairies did not agree. Tis a pity.  


Seth Orza was a fine father, but I did not find the Stepmother, Sarah Pasch, to be sensual, dangerous, or strong enough to be believable in the role.  I may go again to see what Leslie Rausch makes of it.  


Leta Biasucci and Angelica Generosa were appropriately humorous as the step sisters.  


As for the show itself, it had shining moments, but large sections of steps seemed to be repeats of R&J.  Even the play within a play was repeated (humorously and with double-role actors as mannequins instead of puppets).  I think Malliot was alluding to commedia della arte, and the kids particularly enjoyed it.  The costumes were fascinating, though clearly designed for white dancers.  The "flesh" colored wraps for wigs on some dancers blessed with melanin did not match.  This seems like an easy fix though.  


I didn't mind a no-pointe shoe ballet, and I was amenable to the double romance story-line (father-loves the dead mother who is now the fairy).  The waltz / ball section was well blocked to show the romance blossoming.  And there was an excellent allusion to modern royals in the public eye as the waltzers stopped to stare at the prince, act unnaturally before him, and later halt to watch him kiss Cinders.    


The lack of a clock and pumpkin made that narrative section blank.  There was no other consequence or rules to replace it when the tick-tock began in the music.  


At the end of it all, I did not have an emotional payoff.   And I did not think the humor for the step mother and step sisters was strong enough.  The end felt abrupt and  lacking.  This  was the smaller brother ballet to Malliot's R&J.  There was no standing O but there rarely is for a matinee.  Perhaps the Prokofiev music is so strong that no version can do it justice.   


Now I want to get the Ashton DVD at the library to see it again, it seems to come closest to the critics' expectations.  


For now, going to have another cuppajoe and then stretch the leg before limping to my car. 

Edited by Jayne
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