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Karel Cruz retirement/Encore program June 10; More Dancers Leaving the Company

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(filling in momentarily for Helene, hope I get this right...)

Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancer Karel Cruz to Retire at End of 2017-18 Season.


Career to be Celebrated at Season Encore Performance, June 10, 2018.



SEATTLE, WA — Pacific Northwest Ballet Artistic Director Peter Boal has announced that principal dancer Karel Cruz will retire at the end of PNB’s Paris tour. A much-respected and admired member of the Company since 2002, Mr. Cruz will devote his post-PNB career to further developing Solu, the professional dancewear line created with his wife, PNB principal dancer Lindsi Dec. He will also continue coaching and giving private lessons to aspiring dancers. Mr. Cruz’s acclaimed career will be celebrated at PNB’s Season Encore Performance on Sunday, June 10, 2018, during which he and Ms. Dec will perform the pas de deux from Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote. (Tickets are on sale now through the PNB Box Office: See “Ticket Information,” below.)

“Karel Cruz is the epitome of chivalry,” said Mr. Boal in his announcement. “His thoughtful care of his partners and fellow performers is evident in every role he performs. Though more willing to make sure others shine in the spotlight, when Karel steps forward for his variation, impeccable classical technique and thrilling bravura emerge. Karel has been a mainstay of Pacific Northwest Ballet for many years; Audiences are aware of his tremendous strengths, but they may not know how he helps and mentors fellow dancers and students in the studio. From the roles he dances to the role model he is, Karel is an inspiration. We are so grateful for all he has given us.”

Karel Cruz is from Holguin, Cuba, and received his training at Cuba’s Escuela Nacional de Artes. He joined Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1996 and left in 1998 to join Ballet Clasico de Camara in Venezuela. From 1999 to 2000, he danced with Teatro Teresa Carreno, also in Venezuela. After coming to the United States, Mr. Cruz spent a year at The Rock School for Dance Education (Philadelphia, PA) before joining Pacific Northwest Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2002. He was promoted to soloist in 2007 and principal in 2009.

“I never thought my career would end up the way that it has,” said Mr. Cruz. “I have gotten to dance such beautiful ballets I never dreamt I would do growing up in Cuba. I am incredibly grateful and fulfilled with my career at PNB and have appreciated the love and support from our organization, the dancers, our audience, and especially my wife, who has been here with me every moment.”

Solu was created by Ms. Dec and Mr. Cruz to give dancers a confident and positive mindset with what they wear. “Being dancers ourselves, staring in the mirror for hours, what we wore to rehearsals made a difference with how we danced – garments that followed the fluidity of our movements and catered to the versatility of jumping, turning, and partnering – were forefront. We wanted to create a line of dancewear for every type of dancer — to provide a unique, edgy yet elegant look to which dancers could relate. We started off with a few different style leotards and have now added men’s tights, and a convertible rehearsal shirt and warmup romper, with many more new products coming in the future. We are proud that our products are made in the USA and we are so grateful for our Solu team that has helped us in spreading the word to wear Solu.” For more information, visit WearSolu.com or on Facebook or Instagram at @wearsolu.

Seed money for Solu came from Second Stage, PNB’s career transition program for its company dancers. Conceived in 1999, Second Stage supports PNB dancers in achieving their goals following a career in dance. Its resources allow dancers to take classes, access mentors and vocation counseling, and receive grants. At its inception, only a handful of dancers actively planned for their career after dance. Since that time, Second Stage has provided nearly $950,000 in grants to nearly 200 dancers. For more information, visit PNB.org/aboutPNB, and click on “Second Stage.”




Audiences will have several opportunities to catch Mr. Cruz in performances before the end of PNB’s 2017-18 season. He is currently cast in Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux, Benjamin Millepied’s Appassionata and Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit in LOVE & BALLET, June 1 – 10.

PNB’s Season Encore Performance will be presented one night only, Sunday, June 10 at 6:30 pm. The performance will include a special tribute to Karel Cruz. Additionally, he will be dancing in several works during the company’s upcoming tour to Les Étés de la Danse in Paris, France, June 25 – July 7.

Tickets to LOVE & BALLET and the Season Encore Performance may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org. (Schedule, programming and casting are subject to change. For up-to-date casting information, check performance details on PNB.org.)





Karel Cruz has danced leading roles in George Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, Concerto Barocco, Coppélia (Discord and War), Diamonds, Emeralds, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® (Cavalier), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Divertissement pas de deux, Theseus, Cavalier), Prodigal Son, Serenade, Symphony in C, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and La Valse; Peter Boal’s Giselle (Albrecht); Val Caniparoli’s The Bridge; David Dawson’s Empire Noir; Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven and Serious Pleasures; Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat; William Forsythe’s Artifact II, Slingerland Duet and New Suite; Paul Gibson’s The Piano Dance and Sense of Doubt; Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow and The Sleeping Beauty (Prince Florimund, Gold and Silver pas de trois); Jiri Kylian’s Forgotten Land and Petite Mort; Edwaard Laing’s Für Alina; Stacy Lowenberg’s Rushed Goodbye; Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette (Friar Laurence); Benjamin Millepied’s Appassionata; Mark Morris’ Pacific; Margaret Mullin’s Lost in Light; Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Cylindrical Shadows; Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit; Toni Pimble’s Two’s Company; Crystal Pite’s Emergence and Plot Point; Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU (Samurai); Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH, Don Quixote (Basilio, Espada), and Pictures at an Exhibition; Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, Glass Pieces, In the Night, and West Side Story Suite (Bernardo); Kent Stowell’s Carmina Burana, Cinderella (Prince),  Firebird, Nutcracker (Prince), Swan Lake (Prince Siegfried), and The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (Tybalt); Richard Tanner’s Ancient Airs and Dances; Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Mercury; Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, Opus 111, and Waterbaby Bagatelles; and Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux and Polyphonia. He originated leading roles in Val Caniparoli’s The Seasons, Kiyon Gaines’ M-Pulse and Sum Stravinsky, Paul Gibson’s Mozart Pieces, and Price Suddarth’s Signature.

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Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2017-2018 season is proudly sponsored by ArtsFund and Microsoft. Special thanks also to 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, The Shubert Foundation, and The Wallace Foundation.

Programming subject to change. For further information, please visit: PNB.org.





301 Mercer Street

Seattle, WA 98109



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PNB just announced that Matthew Renko, Nicole Rizzitano, and Carli Samuelson will also be leaving PNB at the end of this season and the Encores program.  Here is the press release:


Season Encore Performance

Celebrating the career of principal dancer Karel Cruz.

Featuring the world-famous PNB Orchestra.


Sunday, June 10, 2018 – 6:30 pm

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109

SEATTLE, WA – The curtain comes down on Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2017-2018 season with its annual Season Encore Performance, a crowd-pleasing reprise of some of PNB’s greatest hits.  The evening celebrates the career of PNB’s retiringprincipal dancer Karel Cruz. The program will feature PNB’s entire Company, along with the world-famous PNB Orchestra under the baton of Music Director/Principal Conductor Emil de Cou. Highlights of the evening will include Mr. Cruz dancing the pas de deux from Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote with his wife, principal dancer Lindsi Dec; and with the full Company in an excerpt from George Balanchine’s Diamonds. Other selections for the evening include excerpts from Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, and Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite, among others.

“Season Encore is always a performance to remember,” said PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal. “All of us look forward to this unique one-night-only celebration of our season, our dancers, and our Company. Season Encore feels like family night at the ballet: The connection between audience, orchestra, and stage seems just a little closer. We hear dancers applauding for each other from backstage, while performers savor the heartfelt appreciation given from the house.” 

In addition to the previously-announced retirement of Mr. Cruz, the Season Encore performance will be the audience’s opportunity to offer fond farewells to other company members who will be leaving PNB at the end of the season: soloist Matthew Renko and corps de ballet dancers Nicole Rizzitano and Carli Samuelson.

The Season Encore Performance will be presented one night only, Sunday, June 10 at 6:30 pm at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center.  Tickets may be purchased exclusively through the PNB Box Office (206.441.2424, online at PNB.org, or in person at 301 Mercer Street at Seattle Center.) 

The line-up for the 2017-18 Season Encore Performance includes:

Swan Lake (White Swan pas de deux)

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky          

Choreography: Kent Stowell (after Lev Ivanov)


West Side Story Suite (“America”)

Music: Leonard Bernstein

Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

Choreography: Jerome Robbins


George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® (Pas de deux)

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust


Don Quixote (Pas de deux)

Music: Ludwig Minkus

Choreography: Marius Petipa & Alexander Gorsky, staged by Alexei Ratmansky


After the Rain pas de deux

Music: Arvo Pärt

Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon



Music: Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust


Diamonds (Pas de deux & Polonaise)

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust



Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Season Encore Performance will be performed one night only, Sunday, June 10 at 6:30 pm at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center.

Tickets range in price from $40 to $190 (PNB subscribers receive 20% off) and may be purchased exclusively through the PNB Box Office:

·         Phone - 206.441.2424*

·         In Person - 301 Mercer Street at Seattle Center*

·         Online - PNB.org (24/7)

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

*For Box Office hours, visit PNB.org/Contact 

TeenTix members may purchase day-of-show tickets, subject to availability, for $5. There are no TeenTix companion tickets available for this performance. For more information, 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.

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We haven't seen anything official yet, and there may be something printed in the Season Encores program this Sunday, but news of Samuelson leaving PNB breaks my heart.  She worked so hard to come back after long injury(ies?), and she was dancing more beautifully than ever after coming back.  While she's danced more featured roles in her career and notably, she was absolutely gorgeous in the corps of "La Source" last year. 

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22 hours ago, Helene said:

We haven't seen anything official yet, and there may be something printed in the Season Encores program this Sunday, but news of Samuelson leaving PNB breaks my heart.  She worked so hard to come back after long injury(ies?), and she was dancing more beautifully than ever after coming back.  While she's danced more featured roles in her career and notably, she was absolutely gorgeous in the corps of "La Source" last year. 

Thanks for letting me know that.  I do hope she continues.  She, Leta, Noelani, Carrie - all those from CPYB - are beautiful to watch.

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Phillipa Kiraly reviewed Season Encores for "The Sun Break," and she posted news about next steps for Carli Samuelson and Nicole Rizzitano:


Both Samuelson and Rizzitano received career-transition education funding through PNB’s Second Stage program. Samuelson will intern this summer with former PNB dancer Kari Brunson, who now owns two food businesses (Juicebox and Frankie & Jo’s), and then will be attending culinary school this fall; Rizzitano is completing her Pilates instructor certification.

This is great news for them both!

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