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Love & Ballet: June 1-2, 7-10

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From the press release:



June 1 – 10, 2018

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109

Seven Performances Only!

June 1 at 7:30 pm

June 2 at 2:00 and 7:30 pm

June 7 – 9 at 7:30 pm

June 10 at 1:00 pm

SEATTLE, WA  Pacific Northwest Ballet bids adieu to its 45th season – well, not counting the Season Encore performance, the NEXT STEP choreographers’ showcase, and the tour to Paris’s Les Étés de la Danse festival – with LOVE & BALLET. From apparent to abstract, love reveals its diverse faces in this four-pack of contemporary hits. Water is thematic in Christopher Wheeldon’s undulating Tide Harmonic, as well as his divine After the Rain pas de deux. Appassionata, Benjamin Millepied’s tempestuous and tender work for three couples, makes a welcome return, as does Justin Peck’s delightful Year of the Rabbit, an exhilarating rush to the music of Sufjan Stevens. LOVE & BALLET runs for seven performances only, June 1 through 10 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $37. For more information, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org.

The line-up for LOVE & BALLET will include:

Tide Harmonic

Music: Joby Talbot (Tide Harmonic, 2009; arr. 2013)
Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon
Costume Design: Holly Hynes
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Running Time: 18 minutes
Premiere: May 31, 2013; Pacific Northwest Ballet (40th Anniversary Season) 

The 2013 world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic was generously underwritten in part by Jeffrey & Susan Brotman.

Christopher Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic was his first creation for Pacific Northwest Ballet and the fifth Wheeldon ballet to enter the Company’s repertory. Choreographed for four couples, Tide Harmonic is set to a score of the same name by British composer Joby Talbot. Conceived as a dance work, the score has been specially arranged for Wheeldon’s ballet. Talbot describes the music as “…a kind of water symphony that, rather than constructing a poetic or narrative programme inspired by man’s relationship with water, instead focuses on the substance itself, the forces that act upon it, and the energy that flows through and from it.”

Tide Harmonic is the culmination of a long relationship between the choreographer and the artists of Pacific Northwest Ballet. “Having Chris Wheeldon create a ballet for PNB has been a dream of mine since arriving in Seattle,” said Artistic Director Peter Boal. “He has known and admired many of our dancers since his early days choreographing for the students of the School of American Ballet. As a choreographer, his sense of musicality and invention coupled with his knowledge of tradition and design are unparalleled. This was a true highlight of our 40th Anniversary Season.” [Notes by Doug Fullington.]


After the Rain pas de deux©

Music: Arvo Pärt (Spiegel im Spiegel, 1978)
Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon

Staging: Damian Smith
Costume Design: Holly Hynes
Lighting Design: Mark Stanley
Running Time: 8 minutes
Premiere: January 22, 2005; New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: September 20, 2008

The 2008 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux was generously underwritten by Ernest & Diane Burgess.

Christopher Wheeldon’s pas de deux from After the Rain is the second half of a two-part work, the first of which features an ensemble of three couples dancing to Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa. The following pas de deux is performed to Pärt’s spare and tender duet for piano and violin, Spiegel im Spiegel. The ballerina is dressed in pink and her partner is bare-chested. In a series of unfolding partnering movements, the dancers explore the shifting emotions of their relationship. [Notes compiled by Doug Fullington.]



Music: Ludwig van Beethoven (Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata,” c. 1804-1806)

Choreography: Benjamin Millepied

Staging: Sebastien Marcovici and Janie Taylor

Scenic and Lighting Design: Lucy Carter

Costume Design: Alessandro Sartori

Lighting Supervision: Emma Jones

Running Time: 24 minutes

Premiere: February 5, 2016; Paris Opera Ballet (originally titled La nuit s’achève)

PNB Premiere: September 23, 2016 (renamed Appassionata)

The 2016 PNB premiere of Benjamin Millepied’s Appassionata was generously underwritten by Jeffrey & Susan Brotman.

Benjamin Millepied’s Appassionata was choreographed for Paris Opera Ballet and premiered in February 2016 with the title La nuit s’achève (“The night ends”). For Pacific Northwest Ballet’s staging, Millepied has renamed the ballet in reference to Beethoven’s iconic, late-classical piano sonata to which the dance for three couples is set. Sonata No. 23 in F minor is one of three celebrated sonatas from Beethoven’s middle period. The music is some of his most technically challenging and the mood is tempestuous; the sonata was composed just after he came to terms with his inevitable hearing loss in 1803. The title “Appassionata” (meaning “passionate” in Italian) was not given to the work during Beethoven’s lifetime, but rather was a label added by the publisher of a four-hand arrangement in 1838. 

Appassionata is the second work by Benjamin Millepied to enter Pacific Northwest Ballet’s repertory. [Notes by Doug Fullington.]


Year of the Rabbit

Music: Sufjan Stevens (Enjoy Your Rabbit, 2002), orchestration by Michael P. Atkinson

Choreography: Justin Peck

Staging: Craig Hall and Janie Taylor

Costume Design: Justin Peck

Lighting Design: Brandon Stirling Baker

Running Time: 30 minutes

Premiere: October 5, 2012; New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: March 18, 2016

Principal support for the 2016 PNB premiere of Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit was provided by Marcella McCaffray and Bob Benson, with additional support from Gilla Kaplan.

Justin Peck’s acclaimed Year of the Rabbit is a collaboration with American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens and is set to Stevens’ Enjoy Your Rabbit, an electronica album and song cycle based on the Chinese zodiac. The ballet features a new orchestration of the score by Michael Atkinson that was created specifically for the ballet. Year of the Rabbit is an elaboration of Peck’s Tales of a Chinese Zodiac, which was created in 2010 for the New York Choreographic Institute. [Notes courtesy of New York City Ballet.]

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Part II:


BALLET 101: Ballet Basics – Terminology and Partnering

Saturday, May 12, 3:00 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer St., Seattle

Learn advanced ballet terminology through demonstrations, followed by a discussion and further demonstration of the art of partnering, with PNB Company dancers. This is the fourth of a four-part series exploring a range of topics, from ballet terminology, steps and partnering, to casting, contemporary works, and the business of ballet. Tickets are $25 per session. For more information, visit PNB.org. 


Thursday, May 31

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join PNB Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington in conversation with PNB principal dancer Karel Cruz, during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. The conversation begins at 6:00 pm, followed by the dress rehearsal at 7:00 pm. Tickets ($30) 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. FREEfor ticketholders.


Friday, June 8, 2018, 7:30 pm 
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 info, visit PNB.org/YPC.


June 19, 20, and 21; 4:30 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer St., Seattle

At the conclusion of the 2017-2018 season, PNB is off to Paris with nine ballets to perform in Les Étés de la Danse festival. Join us in the studio for exclusive previews of our Paris repertory. Tickets are $25 each for the June 19 and 20 sessions, $35 for the June 21 session, or $75 subscription when purchasing all three: Call the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424.



Christopher Wheeldon trained at the Royal Ballet School and joined the Royal Ballet in 1991. In 1993, he joined New York City Ballet (NYCB) and was promoted to soloist in 1998. He served as NYCB’s first-ever artist in residence (2000-2001) and was named the company’s first Resident Choreographer in 2001. In 2007, he founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company and was appointed an associate artist for London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre. In 2011, Mr. Wheeldon premiered his full-length ballet Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, featuring a new score by Joby Talbot, at the Royal Ballet (jointly commissioned with National Ballet of Canada.) In 2014, he directed and choreographed the musical An American in Paris, which premiered at Paris’ Chatelet Theatre and on Broadway at the Palace Theatre in 2015. The production went on to win Mr. Wheeldon the 2015 Tony Award for Best Choreography and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography and Direction. His other awards include the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center, the American Choreography Award, a Dance Magazine Award, and the London Critics Circle Award for Polyphonia. In 2013, his Cinderella and The Winter’s Tale won the Benois De La Danse. In 2016, Mr. Wheeldon was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, and also premiered his new production of Nutcracker with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago.

 Benjamin Millepied is a world-renowned choreographer, dancer, and rising filmmaker. His ballets are in the repertory of major dance companies around the world, including New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Mariinsky Ballet, Ballet de Geneve, Lyon Opera Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, among others. His collaborators include composers and artists such as Nico Muhly, David Lang, Christopher Wool, Barbara Kruger, Paul Cox, Rodarte, Theirry Escaich, and Santiago Calatrava. In 2010, Mr. Millepied was made Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture, and choreographed and starred in the award-winning film Black Swan. During the same year that he co-founded The Amoveo Company, 2012, he also founded the Los Angeles Dance Project. Since then, he has directed a number of short films in collaboration with various artists, including Mark Bradford, Philip Glass, IO Echo, Lil Buck, Zeds Dead, Forest Swords, and others. In January 2013, the Paris Opera Ballet announced Mr. Millepied’s appointment as its new director. In February 2016, he resigned from his position to embark on new projects.

 Justin Peck has been hailed as an important new voice in 21st-century choreography. He is currently a soloist and the resident choreographer of New York City Ballet. Mr. Peck, originally from San Diego, California, moved to New York at the age of 15 to attend the School of American Ballet. In 2006, he was invited by ballet master-in-chief Peter Martins to become a member of NYCB. Mr. Peck had his choreographic debut in 2009 and has been fervently creating since then. He has been commissioned by NYCB, the New York Choreographic Institute, the School of American Ballet, Miami City Ballet, the New World Symphony, L.A. Dance Project, New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival, The Guggenheim Museum, and more. He has collaborated with the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Shepard Fairey, Bryce Dessner, Prabal Gurung, Sterling Ruby, Mary Katrantzou, and Karl Jensen. In 2014, Mr. Peck was appointed Resident Choreographer of NYCB, making him the second choreographer in the history of the institution to hold this position (following Mr. Wheeldon). Mr. Peck choreographed the 2018 Broadway revival of Carousel, directed by Jack O’Brien. He is currently serving as a member of the four-person interim leadership team for New York City Ballet. Debonair, created in 2014, was Mr. Peck’s first work for Pacific Northwest Ballet.


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It's first intermission, and Steven Loch just made a splendid debut in Wheeldon's "Tide Harmonic", as did Christian Popped and Cecilia Iliesiu last weekend; both reprised their roles tonight.


After a pause, Lesley Rausch and Karel Cruz danced "After the Rain Pas de Deux." Last weekend was Rausch's debut, and it wasn't just the sheer beauty of her shapes, the musicality of her phrasing, and the flow of her seamless transitions: she's at the point in her career where she can dance a new role and own it immediately.  She and Cruz danced it as if they were breathing as one, as if their performance was inevitable.

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Last weekend was Rausch's debut, and it wasn't just the sheer beauty of her shapes, the musicality of her phrasing, and the flow of her seamless transitions: she's at the point in her career where she can dance a new role and own it immediately.  She and Cruz danced it as if they were breathing as one, as if their performance was inevitable.

I couldn't agree more......especially the "the musicality of her phrasing" part. Leslie isn't just a dancer, but an artist.

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