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Director's Choice, March 17-18, 23-26

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I though I posted the advanced press release, but I don't see a thread.  Here is part one if the press release for the upcoming "Director's Choice" program:








Featuring works by



March 17 – 26, 2017

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street @ Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109


March 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 pm

March 18 matinee at 2:00 pm

March 26 matinee at 1:00 pm


SEATTLE, WA – For the fourth offering of its 2016-2017 season, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Artistic Director Peter Boal selects three contemporary works for PNB’s perennially popular DIRECTOR’S CHOICE mixed rep. In the eponymous director’s words:


“PNB debuted Jessica Lang’s enlightening new ballet, Her Door to the Sky, this past summer at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival to rapturous ovations. The work takes inspiration from Georgia O’Keeffe and, in particular, her Patio Door series. Bradon McDonald’s earth-toned costumes, edged with vibrant gemstone colors, create a wonderfully playful palette. Lighting designer Nicole Pearce seems to steal the Santa Fe sky and bring it indoors. The team Jessica brought to this work, with invaluable coaching from Clifton Brown, was cohesion personified.


“New Suite offers a delicious sampling of duets from William Forsythe. The mix of dances differs with each company who performs the work, which was created for Dresden Semperoper Ballet in 2012. (PNB premiered its version of New Suite in 2015.) The common denominator is innovation. Forsythe is one of the great mold-breakers and envelope-pushers, and yet all of his twisty vocabulary stems from the centuries-old lexicon of classical ballet technique.


“David Dawson worked for Forsythe as a dancer with Frankfurt Ballet before finding his own voice as a choreographer. Though David's work is well-known and admired throughout Europe and other parts of the world, PNB is one of the first American companies to present his ballets.Empire Noir was created for the Dutch National Ballet in 2015. David’s choreography (see A Million Kisses to my Skin) is absolutely unleashed, finding the intersection of expression, movement, and extreme.”


DIRECTOR’S CHOICE runs for seven performances only, March 17 through 26 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.

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Part 2:




Empire Noir (American Premiere)

Music: Greg Haines

Choreography: David Dawson

Staging: Rebecca Gladstone

Scenic Design: John Otto

Costume Design: Yumiko Takeshima

Lighting Design: Bert Dalhuysen

Running Time: 24 minutes

Premiere: June 17, 2015, Dutch National Ballet


The world of Empire Noir is a ballet designed as a blast of graphic energy—fast-paced and relentless in its own journey through the darkness of the night, the color black, the void of madness. Performed as a pure-dance event,Empire Noir works to allow each of its ten dancers to shine as individuals, but also to present themselves as a team. This dance is contained inside an architectural illusion created by John Otto, who as set designer manages to create simplicity in building a structural surprise. Completed with an upbeat original score by Greg Haines, an over-exposed light design by Bert Dalhuysen, and costumes that behave as a second skin by Yumiko Takeshima, Empire Noir is a force unto itself. An observed entertainment played at its fullest force aiming to leave its audience breathless. [Notes reprinted by permission of dawsonarts.net.]


The 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of David Dawson’s Empire Noir is generously supported by Chap & Eve Alvord, Katharyn Alvord Gerlich, David & Cheryl Hadley, Sharon Lee, and Jodi Wong.


New Suite

Music: George Frideric Hande (from Concerti grossi, Op. 6, 1736-1741)l, Luiano Berio (selections from Duetti per due Violini, Vol. 1, 1979-1983), and Johann Sebastian Bach (Allemande, from Partita in B minor for solo violin, BWV 1002, 1720)
Choreography: William Forsythe
Staging: Laura Graham (Handel and Berio duets), assisted by Oleg Klymyuk (Bach duet)
Scenic and Lighting Design: William Forsythe
Costume Design: William Forsythe and Yumiko Takeshima
Running Time: 25 minutes
Premiere: February 25, 2012, Dresden Semperoper Ballet

PNB Premiere: March 13, 2015

Rosyln Sulcas writes: “The fact that the first work choreographed by Forsythe was a duo and that he was always interested in the duo as a form—Herman Schmermann or Of Any If And, The The, Duo, and Approximate Sonata, just to name a few of the most obvious examples—tells us a lot about the very human element in his work. Forsythe may not be interested in emotional contents in the narrative sense, but he is definitely interested in the relationships and emotions that are created through physical interaction.”


New Suite is made up of a series of pas de deux, which William Forsythe has rearranged or created for the Dresden Semperoper Ballett and in 2015, with some differences from the Dresden version, for Pacific Northwest Ballet. All underlying works were created around the nineties for Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt. The Handel is from a 1995 Forsythe choreography with the promising, absurd title, Invisible Film. The Bach, in turn, uses material that was developed forKammer/Kammer—a largely performative piece that premiered in 2000 in the Bockenheimer Depot, Frankfurt. Finally, the Berio is based on the first part of Workwithinwork (1998). [Notes courtesy of Forsythe Productions. Used by permission.]


The 2015 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of William Forsythe’s New Suite was generously underwritten by Jeffrey & Susan Brotman.


Her Door to the Sky (Seattle Premiere)

Music: Benjamin Britten (Simple Symphony, Op. 4, 1933-1934)      
Choreography: Jessica Lang
Scenic Design: Jessica Lang
Costume Design: Bradon McDonald
Lighting Design: Nicole Pearce

Assistant to the Choreographer: Clifton Brown
Running Time: 21 minutes
Premiere: August 24, 2016, PNB at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, Massachusetts

2017 marks the centennial celebration of legendary American painter Georgia O’Keeffe’s first solo exhibition in New York. Her Door to the Sky is inspired by O’Keeffe’s Patio Door series that she painted between 1946 and 1956.


Her Door to the Sky was commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and Pacific Northwest Ballet. It premiered at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival on August 24, 2016. Major support for the Seattle premiere is provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, with additional support from Aya Stark Hamilton, Deidra Wager, and Leslie & Tachi Yamada.

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Part 3



Tickets ($30-$187) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

·         Phone - 206.441.2424 (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm*)

·         In Person - 301 Mercer Street, Seattle (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm*)

·         Online - PNB.org (24/7)

Subject to availability, tickets are also available 90 minutes prior to show times at McCaw Hall.

*On Saturday performance days, the box office and phones are open 10am – 6pm.



Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For group tickets for your family, friends, and coworkers, please call Group Sales Manager Julie Jamieson at 206.441.2416, email JulieJ@PNB.org or use PNB’s online contact form at PNB.org/Season/Group-Tickets.



The Pointe is PNB’s exclusive mailing list for ballet fans between the ages of 20 and 40. Members of The Pointe receive information about special events and flash sales just for them. Born between 1977 and 1997? Visit PNB.org/ThePointe for more information and to sign up.



PNB is a proud participant of TeenTix. Founded by Seattle Center, TeenTix’s members (13 to 19 years old) can purchase tickets to PNB and other music, dance, theater and arts events for only $5. To join TeenTix or view a list of participating organizations, visit TeenTix.org.



Subject to availability, half-price rush tickets for students and senior citizens (65+) may be purchased in-person with ID, from 90 minutes prior to show time at the McCaw Hall box office.





Friday, March 10, 5:00 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer St., Seattle

PNB’s popular Friday Previews are hour-long studio rehearsals hosted by Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB artistic staff, featuring Company dancers rehearsing excerpts from upcoming ballets. Tickets are $15. (Note: These events usually sell out in advance.)  Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.



Thursday, March 16

Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall

Join Artistic Director Peter Boal in conversation with Her Door to the Sky choreographer Jessica Lang during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal, discussing the creative process involved in the development of a new ballet. Attend the lecture only or stay for the rehearsal. Tickets are $15 for the lecture only, or $30 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased through the PNB Box Office.



Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing ballet to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders.



Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders.



Friday, March 24
Join members of PNB’s Young Patrons Circle (YPC) in an exclusive lounge for complimentary wine and coffee before the show and at intermission. YPC is PNB’s social and educational group for ballet patrons ages 21 through 39. YPC members save up to 40% off their tickets. For more information, visit PNB.org/YPC.



Thursday, March 9
PNB’s volunteer organization STARS presents Pointe to the Stars, an exclusive event to benefit PNB School Scholarships. The evening includes the premiere of Silent Resonance, an original work in virtual reality choreographed by Price Suddarth, directed by Scott Squires and produced by Pixvana with support from PNB. For more information, visit PNB.org/support/special-events.

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First week casting is up on the website (under the program notes):




One cast each for Dawson's "Empire Noir" and Lang's "Her Door to the Sky," and different casts in the Forsythe, with debuts in each performance.


Imler-Bold Watch:

*Bold is cast in the Dawson in all three performances


*Imler dances with Porretta in the closing Handel in the Forsythe, one of the highlights in the original run, on Friday, March 17.


Here's the link to the spreadsheet for download:


Rep 4 performance casting week 1.xlsx


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2 hours ago, Lynette H said:

Dawson must be a busy man right now. The Royal are reviving his recent The Human Seasons which is part of the triple bill opening on 16th March. 




I wonder how he manages to keep an eye on both PNB and the RB ? 


The Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse is also doing his Million Kisses to My Skin at the moment.

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8 hours ago, apollosmuse said:

Dawson seems to have been in Seattle this week: 



Ha ha, before the Space Needle is a photo of the Royal Opera House, and before that the letters are from Citizen Nowhere at Dutch National Ballet.  CN just premiered mid Feb and I caught the last show this past Saturday.  It is an amazing 27 minute solo for Edo Wijnen based on Le Petite Prince.  Edo was one of the original cast members of Empire Noir.


I hope PNB acquires another Dawson piece so we can see an all "All Dawson" rep!

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[Begin marketing geek rave]


The lead image in the most recent PNB "Director's Choice" program e-mail promo may be the best fine arts marketing image that I've seen in two years. (PNB's marketing is consistently better than other US dance companies, but all US dance marketing usually fades in comparison to opera companies or European dance companies.)


This image, though, succeeds on so many levels:  it's beautiful; its technically well-composed; and I can't think of another image that has so effectively conveyed an abstract ballet's meaning with such artistic economy. (The fact that it didn't cost the earth in set design probably didn't hurt either.)


Anyway, whoever art directed this (whether Lindsay Thomas herself or someone else) needs a pat on the back:  this is the sort of image that would push an art or design lover to click something.


[End marketing geek rave]

Edited by choriamb
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I've been having issues seeing the casting on Chrome on a PC or a Mac, although it shows up on my Android phone. Last week, I couldn't see Week 1.  Now, I can only see Week 1, but not Week 2.  Firefox to the rescue!


Debuts in Week 2 in Empire Noir are Elizabeth Murphy, Dylan Wald, Sarah Ricard Orza, Angelica Generosa, Kyle Davis, and Miles Pertl.  In New Suite, Calista Ruat and Guillaume Basso.



Link to downloadable spreadsheet:

Rep 4 performance casting weeks 1-2 03_14_17.xlsx

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13 hours ago, Helene said:

I've been having issues seeing the casting on Chrome on a PC or a Mac, although it shows up on my Android phone. Last week, I couldn't see Week 1.  Now, I can only see Week 1, but not Week 2.  Firefox to the rescue!


Debuts in Week 2 in Empire Noir are Elizabeth Murphy, Dylan Wald, Sarah Ricard Orza, Angelica Generosa, Kyle Davis, and Miles Pertl.  In New Suite, Calista Ruat and Guillaume Basso.



Link to downloadable spreadsheet:

Rep 4 performance casting weeks 1-2 03_14_17.xlsx

I'm sorry not to see Basso and Ruat in the second week -- I don't know their dancing very well yet.


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I'm so excited for this rep I keep checking PNB's social media accounts and I was rewarded!


On Instagram a video was just posted of Leta Biasucci in an Empire Noir stage rehearsal and you can hear David Dawson over the god mike.  It's amazing I could watch it over and over!


There's also a gorgeous photo of Elle and a beautiful one of Noe.  I just love the shapes David Dawson creates.


Going back to the casting, the second weekend it looks like Steven Loch debuts in Empire Noir but the asterisk is missing. I hate typos on the website!  Anyways, just wanted to give him some credit he has displayed so much range and talent this season and he totally cracked me up every time I saw Cendrillon!

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Just a heads up:  a few days before Opening Night, PNB sends out an email with the cast lists, program notes, and post-performance Q&A schedule attached.  I looked at the weekend two cast list, and it doesn't match the website, at least for the Sunday matinee.  I haven't done all of the checks, and I'm not sure which is correct.


Here's the post-performance Q&A schedule:


Rep 4
Lecture Hall (Wardrobe level)


Friday 17-Mar eve

  • Cecilia Iliesiu

Saturday 18-Mar mat

  • Sarah Ricard Orza
  • KUOW w/ Peter & Marcie Sillman

Saturday 18-Mar eve

  • Joshua Grant

Thursday 23-Mar eve

  • Calista Ruat
  • Guillaume Basso

Friday 24-Mar eve

  • Madison Taylor
  • Henry Cotton

Saturday 25-Mar eve

  • Angeli Mamon
  • Dammiel Cruz

Sunday 26-Mar mat

  • Lindsi Dec
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LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the program, especially Empire Noir!  EN and Her Door are very choreographically dense, so I'll be back next weekend as I still haven't taken it all in.  It's nice to have New Suite in the middle for a breather.  Also since we're familiar with it, it's less demanding to watch.  For NS I tried a new thing and didn't look at casting, and sometimes there's fun surprises like seeing Jonathon Poretta in the Berio 3, Leta came out twice, and seeing a new(er) face Sarah Ryan.


The rep trailer does not due EN justice.  In addition to the video of the Leta/Michaela solo, there's now a bit of Noe and also the entire cast featuring Ben Griffiths.  I loved the sweeping curvature and size of the set.  It matches the music well.  I heard some complaints that the music was too loud, but I didn't think so and it wasn't at all hurtful to my ears like Pas/Parts 2016.  The women's costumes are gorgeous!  It was so nice to see Lindsi and Karel back in full force.  Everyone was more than amazing, and I really hope Elle Macy did not kick her head too hard in her solo (kind of kidding but did look almost like she kicked her head in the Kitri-like jumps).  The partnering looks extremely difficult.  There's an overhead lift, then the gal spirals down somehow, and then I think she's spun asymmetrically just above or skimming the floor.  Like I said, I could not take it all in.


Again, I was rewarded by making all the social media rounds.  I found Doug Fullington's pre-show lecture recorded from opening night on Twitter.  I don't know if PNB posts those all the time, but I sure hope they continue to post it.

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"Empire Noir" is generally described as "dark," but I see intensity rather than darkness, and it's one of those rare ballets where the music, set, costumes, and choreography are so beautifully integrated, any missing piece would diminish the work.


Ice dancers around the world should be flocking to David Dawson's door to design their lifts for their exhibitions. 


Without "Slingerland Duet (which we'll see as a stand-alone next season), the progression of the music and choreography of "New Suite"' was so perfectly balanced and concise, it was almost Apollonian.  Handel 4, especially when danced by Imler and Porretta, brings the work full circle, informed by the pieces that come before. 


While the Dawson got the standing ovation, "New Suite" showed why Forsythe is the Master, and Dawson, in his boyish 40's, is still Grasshopper.


I much preferred seeing "Her Door to the Sky" from the Gallery Upper (on the border of the Dress Circle) to be able to see the patterns and tableaus.  I love Britten's "Simple Symphony," and I thought the work was strongest in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th movements.  I wasn't convinced that the choreography in the 3rd movement was up to the long, intense adagio, although Ricard Orza was beautiful in it, and it had some inspired moments.  Anything in which Iliesiu is featured is a giant plus for me -- lucky for us that she was the Friday night post-performance Q&A guest -- and Rachel Foster in the Saturday night cast looked radiant.


In one of the earlier post-performance Q&A's, Peter Boal said that Doug Fullington would record a version of his pre-performance lecture as a podcast for each program in which there was a lecture.  I especially enjoyed the live one from Saturday night.  And Josh Grant, after dancing in all three ballets in the evening and at least one in the matinee, was a delightful post-performance Q&A guest: you'd never have known that he had just completed the equivalent of the Boston Marathon.



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