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Next Step: Outside/In -- June 15 & School Performances

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The press release, part 1:  very exciting news!  (And Roll OK Please is my favorite food truck in Seattle, yummmmmmmm)


New and Improved!

Pacific Northwest Ballet and PNB School present


Start your summer right: PNB’s annual choreographic showcase busts out of the auditorium and takes on a new look with its 2018 outing, featuring free performances on the Seattle Center campus!

One Night Only!

Friday, June 15, 2018

6:00 – 7:30 pm: Free

7:30 – 11:30 pm: All seats $25
In and around Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109

SEATTLE, WA — NEXT STEP, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s annual choreographers showcase, gets a shake-up this year, as original danceworks spill off of the McCaw Hall stage and out onto the grounds of Seattle Center! The newly-named NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE/INwill feature a cornucopia of new choreography created in collaboration with the Seattle dance community in addition to the traditional premieres of works produced by PNB company dancers and set on the Professional Division students of PNB School.

The evening begins outside at 6:00 pm with free, rotating performances of three danceworks: New works include a solo dance created by Donald Byrd and performed by PNB company dancer Christopher D’Ariano, and a major extravaganza in the Kreielsheimer Promenade fountain choreographed by Miles Pertl and performed by over 40 dance students from PNB School. NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE will also feature an encore performance of Noelani Pantastico’s Picnic, which premiered in the summer of 2017 at the Olympic Sculpture Park. Food trucks and carts from Frankie & Jo’s, Lumpia World, and Roll OK Please will add to the festivities.

The shindig then moves inside at 7:30 for the NEXT STEP: IN portion of the night, with six premieres by PNB choreographers Guillaume Basso, Nancy Casciano, Christopher D’Ariano, Cecilia Iliesiu, Amanda Morgan, and Dylan Wald. Select works in NEXT STEP: IN will be accompanied by Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Conductor and SYSO Music Director Stephen Rogers Radcliffe. The inside portion of the evening also includes a “surprise” piece choreographed by Bruno Roque and danced by Cornish College of the Arts students, and pop-up performances by Purple Lemonade Collective.

NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE/IN will be presented one night only, Friday, June 15 inside and around Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street. Admission to the “IN” part of the evening is bargain-priced at only $25 and includes admittance to the onstage performances, a Q&A with the choreographers, a post-show dance party for all ticketbuyers, and surprise pop-up performances around the hall. Tickets may be purchased through the PNB Box Office, 206.441.2424 or PNB.org.

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Part 2:


NEXT STEP, PNB’s choreographic showcase, is a vehicle for emerging dance talent. Managed by former PNB soloist and current PNB School faculty member, stager, and choreographer Kiyon Ross, the NEXT STEP performance is a one-night-only event where company dancers rise as choreographers, and PNB School’s Professional Division students take center stage in an all-premiere line-up of new works. It was originally conceived by PNB Artistic Director and PNB School Director Peter Boal as a strategy to develop emerging choreographic talent, and as a channel for Professional Division students – talented young artists one step away from their professional careers – to participate in the creative process. “I feel an obligation as an Artistic Director to offer opportunities to up-and-coming choreographers so that they can practice their craft,” says Mr. Boal. “How else do you develop the next Balanchine, the next Twyla Tharp, the next Christopher Wheeldon or Crystal Pite?  Without that opportunity, the art form doesn’t continue to renew itself.” 

This year PNB is taking the collaborative performance even further, and expanding NEXT STEP into an indoor/outdoor event that combines free performances and a festival atmosphere in addition to the traditional paid performance. NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE/IN will feature collaborations within the Seattle dance community, performances by student dancers, new opportunities for emerging artists, and possible surprises around every corner, both within and outside McCaw Hall. A post-performance dance party for ticketholders will extend the evening. It’s an ideal way to kick off the weekend!

NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE/IN is a Community Created Event sponsored by Seattle Center Productions, and made possible with generous support from The Wallace Foundation. Special thanks to media sponsor The Evergrey, and event partners Talking Rain and Pacific Science Center.


All NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE pieces will be performed twice beginning at 6:00 pm. The NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE line-up will include: 


New work – title TBA

Choreography by Donald Byrd

Danced by Christopher D’Ariano

Performed in the McCaw Hall lobby



Music by The Routers

Choreography by Noelani Pantastico

Danced by Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers

Performed on the Boeing Green (lawn behind PNB’s Phelps Center)



Music by Deep Throat Choir

Choreography by Miles Pertl

Danced by PNB School Level IV students

Performed in the Kreielsheimer Promenade fountain


NEXT STEP: IN begins at 7:30 pm. The NEXT STEP: IN line-up will include:


New work – title TBA

Choreography by Bruno Roque

Danced by Cornish College of the Arts dance students


Looking Through Wonderland

Music by Avi Lasser and Garrett Overcash, performed by SYSO

Choreography by Guillaume Basso

Danced by PNB School Professional Division students


We Were Little

Music by Olafur Arnalds, Michael Torke

Choreography by Nancy Casciano

Danced by PNB School Professional Division students



Music by Thomas Nickell and Fiona Stocks-Lyons

Choreography by Christopher D’Ariano

Danced by PNB School Professional Division students


A Meditation

Music by Jules Massenet, performed by SYSO

Choreography by Cecilia Iliesiu

Danced by PNB School Professional Division students



Music by Ben Lukas Boysen and Sebastian Plano

Choreography by Amanda Morgan

Danced by PNB School Professional Division students


For Now

Music by Osvaldo Golijov, performed by SYSO

Choreography by Dylan Wald

Danced by PNB School Professional Division students


The evening will also include pop-up performances by The Purple Lemonade Collective, a post-show Q&A with the choreographers in the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, and will conclude with a dance party in the Grand Lobby, featuring DJ Famous.


NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE/IN will be presented one night only, on Friday, June 15. All events take place in or around Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center.

Event timeline:

  • 6:00 pm - FREE public performances on Kreielsheimer Promenade, Boeing Green, and inside McCaw Hall main lobby
  • 7:30 pm - NEXT STEP performance inside McCaw Hall, with additional performances at intermission**
  • 9:30 pm - Post-performance Q&A with choreographers in the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall**
  • 10:00 pm - Post-performance dance party in McCaw Hall lobby**

**Admission required


Tickets to the “IN” portion of NEXT STEP: OUTSIDE/IN are a steal at just $25. Admission includes the six onstage performances, additional pop-up performances around the hall, and admittance to the post-performance Q&A and dance party with DJ Famous.

Tickets may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

·         Phone - 206.441.2424

·         In Person - 301 Mercer Street, Seattle

·         Online - https://www.pnb.org/season/17-18/next-step/

Subject to availability, tickets are also available 90 minutes prior to show time at McCaw Hall. There will be no student or senior rush tickets sold for NEXT STEP.


TeenTix members ages 13-19 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.

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Part 3:


Guillaume Basso is from Dijon, France. He trained with Sylvain Boniface at the Conservatory of Dijon and with Bernard Boucher at the Paris Opera Ballet School, and he attended a summer course at Houston Ballet School. Mr. Basso joined Houston Ballet II in 2010 and the Joffrey Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2012 before joining PNB as a member of the corps de ballet in 2015. Mr. Basso was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Prix de Lausanne and 2014 Jackson International Ballet Competition. He also has performed as a guest artist with the Grand Theatre of Dijon.

Donald Byrd has served as the artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater since 2002. He has created over 100 modern and contemporary dance works for his own groups as well as for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Philadelphia Dance Company (Philidanco), Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Aterballetto, MaggioDanza diFirenze, and Oregon Ballet Theater. He is a Tony-nominated choreographer for his work on The Color Purple, and his many awards and prizes include a Masters of Choreography Award from The Kennedy Center, a Fellowship at The American Academy of Jerusalem, a James Baldwin Fellow of United States Artists, and a Mayor’s Arts Award for his sustained contributions to the City of Seattle.

Nancy Casciano is from Atlanta, Georgia. She studied at the School of American Ballet and PNB School, and she attended summer courses at PNB School, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell. Ms. Casciano joined PNB as an apprentice in 2014 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2015. 

The Cornish College of the Arts BFA Dance program is a professional dance education proven to prepare its students for the life of a dancer. The Dance Department’s holistic approach and broad professional training prepare its students for successful livelihoods as performers, choreographers, and teachers in the dance profession. Dance Department graduates and former students have performed with such companies as Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Group, Isadora Duncan Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispanico, Zoe Scofield, and many, many more.

Christopher D’Ariano is from Yonkers, New York. He studied at Ballet Tech, the School of American Ballet, and PNB School, and he attended summer courses at Ballet Tech, Boston Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, and PNB School. He was the recipient of the School of American Ballet Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise. Mr. D’Ariano joined PNB as an apprentice in 2017. He has also danced with Lunge Dance Collective, and he has choreographed for the Seattle International Dance Festival.

Cecilia Iliesiu is from New York City. She studied at the School of American Ballet and also with Francois Perron and Deborah Wingert at Studio Maestro. She attended summer courses at Boston Ballet School, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Chautauqua Institute, San Francisco Ballet School, and William Forsythe’s ART of workshop under Kathryn Bennetts. Ms. Iliesiu joined Carolina Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2009 and was promoted to soloist in 2014. She joined PNB as a member of the corps de ballet in 2015.

Amanda Morgan is from Tacoma, Washington. She studied at Dance Theatre Northwest and PNB School, and attended summer courses at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Boston Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet. She participated in PNB School’s exchange with the Palucca University of Dance in Dresden, where she also performed with Dresden Semperoper Ballett. Ms. Morgan joined PNB as an apprentice in 2016 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2017.

Noelani Pantastico trained at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and attended summer courses at PNB School from 1994 to 1996. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 1997. She was promoted to corps de ballet in 1998, soloist in 2001, and principal in 2004. In 2008 she left PNB to join Les Ballets de Monte Carlo as a soloist and was promoted to first soloist in 2009. In 2015, Ms. Pantastico returned to PNB as a principal dancer. Picnic is her first choreographic effort.

Founded in 1972, Pacific Northwest Ballet is one of the largest and most highly regarded ballet companies in the United States. Led by Peter Boal since 2005, the company of nearly 50 dancers presents more than 100 performances of full-length and mixed repertory ballets each year at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center, and on tour. Founded in 1974, PNB School is recognized as one of the top ballet training institutions in the United States. Under the direction of Peter Boal, the School offers a complete, professional curriculum to more than 1,000 students. The School’s Open Program attracts 600 teens and adults who wish to pursue recreational dance instruction in a supportive and encouraging setting.

Miles Pertl is from Seattle, Washington. He trained at PNB School, International Ballet Academy in Kirkland, Washington, and the John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, and he attended summer courses at San Francisco Ballet School. Mr. Pertl joined Stuttgart Ballet as an apprentice in 2010 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2011. He next joined Het Nationale Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2012 before joining PNB as a member of the corps de ballet in 2015. In 2007, Mr. Pertl won the Youth America Grand Prix Semi-Finals in San Francisco and Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York. He also has performed as a guest artist for gala performances in England, Italy, Moscow, and New York. He has choreographed works for PNB's NEXT STEP and PNB School's annual School Performance as well as the Noverre Society in Stuttgart, Danza Estate in Gubbio, Italy, and New Moves in Amsterdam.

The Purple Lemonade Collective is an artist group based out of Seattle. The Collective’s objective is to create art that educates, inspires, and entertains. The PLC includes choreographers, dancers, models, stylists, graphic designers, videographers, and music producers working together to make art accessible to our communities, whether across the street or around the globe. In addition to their individual creative projects, the PLC is also a fully functioning multimedia company, with the resources to fulfill most production needs. For more information, visit thepurplelemonade.com.

Stephen Rodgers Radcliffe (Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra Conductor & SYSO Music Director) has conducted orchestras on four continents, produced CD recordings of operatic, orchestral, and chamber music works, and has fostered the development of audiences through innovative educational and artistic programs. An Assistant Conductor of the Boston Lyric Opera, Radcliffe was Founder and Music Director of the New York Chamber Ensemble, performing for over a decade at Lincoln Center, Artistic Director of the Cape May Music Festival, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Hungarian Virtuosi. Mr. Radcliffe served as Director of Orchestral and Operatic Activities at the University of Massachusetts and Music Director of the Five College Opera Project. Mr. Radcliffe holds a degree in Music Education from the New England Conservatory and has led youth orchestra programs throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

Bruno Roque was born in Lisbon and studied at the National Conservatory in Portugal. After graduation, he trained on scholarship at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia. In 1996 he was offered a contract with the National Ballet of Portugal. In 2001 he joined the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Antwerp, and from 2004 to 2016 was a first soloist with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, where he has choreographed numerous pieces for the company. Since 2015 he has been responsible for a project, supported by Ballets de Monte Carlo and the Monegasque Ministry of Culture, involving 100+ children from Monaco schools acting, singing and dancing, giving them the opportunity to experience the demands of creating and performing. He most recently choreographed for Whim W’Him at their 2017 Choreographic Shindig.

Led by Conductor Stephen Radcliffe and comprised of talented young musicians in the Puget Sound region, the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra is SYSO’s flagship orchestra and one of the premier youth orchestras in the United States. Repertoire includes a variety of styles from early music to world premieres. The orchestra performs three regular season concerts in Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony, and regularly partners with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera, regional Broadway musical theater organizations, local choruses, and internationally acclaimed guest artists and conductors 

Dylan Wald is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He studied at Minnesota Dance Theatre & the Dance Institute, where he became an apprentice in 2012, and PNB School. He attended summer courses at PNB School, the School of American Ballet, The Juilliard School, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Mr. Wald joined PNB as an apprentice in 2014 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2015. In 2017, he participated in the Nederlands Dans Theater Summer Intensive.

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I've added the School Performances to the thread: there was a lot of cross-casting in "Season Encores" and the evening School Performance.  I think they split at least some of the major roles danced by PD students if they repeat works, this year, "Song" -- Titania's dance with her attendants -- and "Scherzo" from Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Robbins' "Fanfare," which really sings when danced by students.  I saw the evening performance, which also included a modern work by Eva Stone for the Level VIII's, the high school track for women, and the Men's Division.  Unfortunately, the levels are listed in the big program in alpha order, so I don't know who the featured woman was, but she was fantastic!  Two of my favorite dancers of all time are Mary Corcoran (RIP) and Lauren Grant, and, like them, she was short in stature and huge in musicality. (She may be one of the Level VIII graduates, but they don't caption the photos.) There was also a young man on the shortish side in the ensemble who kept catching my eye.

The Level VIII's are always my bittersweet favorites.  Bittersweet because there's so much talent there that I wish had a place in professional dance, although, while in the past, one or two might go on to the PD, like Claire Curran this year, but most headed to college, this year, of the 11 Level VIII and one Men's Division graduate, two are going to summer intensives, one into a trainee program, one into PNB's PD, and two are pursing degrees with a focus in dance.  Between the "A Midsummer Night's Dream" excerpts and "Fanfare," the Level VIII's performed a sweet piece to Faure choreographed by faculty member Nancy Crowley, who came from Ballet Arizona, where she danced and then was faculty. At the end, they split into two groups, who I'm assuming were the graduates and the ones still in high school, waving to each other.

I'll try to get a better photo tomorrow in daylight, but, for the time being, I've attached a placeholder which lists the graduating PD's and Level VIII's.  Four PD's will become apprentices at PNB next year:

  • Abby Jane DeAngelo
  • Luther DeMyer
  • Yuki Takahashi
  • Juliet Prine

pd (1).jpg

In the Q&A after "Next Step," moderated by Kiyon Ross (nee Gaines), someone asked Dylan Wald if he had to hold back with his choreographic asks, and he replied that he remembered when he was a PD (four years before) and how he liked stepping up to the challenge, and also said that he picked very talented dancers for his piece.  (They choose their dancers early in the process; rehearsals generally start in October.)  Two of the quartet, Luther DeMyer and Juliet Prine, will be PNB apprentices next season, Mackenzie Moser danced beautifully for Wald and was a wonderful Clarinet (with Andre Alabastro) in "Fanfare," and Hayley Majernik, who hasn't yet graduated, was the fourth: she was featured as Titania in the "Song" excerpt from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Harp in "Fanfare," so, he certainly did pick well!  He also chose a lovely piece of music, Osvaldo Golijov's "Tenebrae (version II for string quartet)", played by Luisa Rodriguez, Jessica Na (violins), Anna Soper (viola), and Tanner Rodriquez (cello).  Luisa Rodriguez also played wonderfully in the violin solo in Massanet's "Meditation" for Cecilia Illiesiu's pas de deux for Grace Rookstool and Wojciech Ogloza.

Christopher D'Ariano said that his featured dancer in "Youthquake," Marie Millard, was his partner at SAB when he was 14, and she was his muse.  She was also chosen by Amanda Morgan, who gave Millard a meaty role.  

Joshua Schwartz danced the "Scherzo," and had a lot of presence and authority as Oberon.  He got great air on his beats.

Ross choreographed two pieces, one to Saint Saens "Danse Macabre" for the Level VII's, a great piece of music for movement, and then a pas de deux to Max Richter's "Infra 8" for Naizrah Taylor and William Sheriff Jr., and he made them look like stars, contrasting her long lines with his fluidity.  Taylor and Sheriff were standouts in "Fanfare," too, Taylor as a First Violin and Sheriff as a Trumpet, and, bittersweet, because he's going to be an Apprentice with Alberta Ballet, and her plans are listed as "Academic Pursuits."

I'm still mulling over Next Step.  It transitioned from two outdoor works, a reprise of Pantastico's "Picnic" and Miles Pertl's "Wake," performed in the Kreielsheimer Fountain between the Phelps Center and McCaw Hall, to the McCaw Hall lobby, to inside the Hall, but in the aisles between the orchestra pit and the audience and then up the two aisles of the orchestra for a work by Bruno Roque performed by Cornish College students, to the six pieces on the main stage.  

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I'm sorry to have missed the school show this year (too much other dance happening in town in June), and especially sorry to have missed Ross's work -- he's really developing skills at showing young dancers to their best advantage.

Like you, I'm mulling over Next Step.  My first response is that it was just too much stuff -- between the outdoor works, and the multiple works in the theater, it's hard to keep things sorted out in my head.  But there was some wonderful stuff going on in all these places, and I can't tell you what I would be willing to lose, so there it is.  In the post-show Q/A, Ross was asked the inevitable question about what's next for the program.  He said that he'd like to extend the project to a two-evening run, but I'm wondering if it would be possible to create two different evenings, rather than one marathon program.

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Two of the pieces that premiered at Next Step were performed again as part of the "Spotlight on Contemporary Ballet" program last night at the Seattle International Dance Festival, which was founded in 2006 by choreographer Cyrus Khambatta:

  • Donald Byrd's solo for Christopher D'Ariano, "Wake The Neighbor" to music by Kris Bowers, performed at Next Step on a small stage in the lobby of McCaw Hall, and here at Broadway Performance Hall, a theater with a regular proscenium
  • Guillaume Basso's "Looking Through Wonderland," which was, unsurprisingly, more intimate in the smaller theater than on the McCaw Hall main stage.  During the performance, Kaylani Parks, who was dancing Catepillar, was injured during the performance.  Last night, happily there was none of that kind of adrenaline:  Ainsley Montemayor danced the role last night, and Adrian Pasten danced in place of Adam Phillips.  I really like this piece in each theater: it was inventive, musical, theatrical, and had a bunch of zing.  The score was a collaboration between Basso and Avi Lasser and Garrett Overcash, their second collaboration with Next Step.  In the Q&A after Next Step, they spoke about the process, from idea inception to coming up with a structure, composition, rendition on violin and piano, and then orchestration, and they wanted the choreographer to understand the entire process.

In addition, graduating PD Andre Alabastro performed his own choreography called "Headspace" to Mother Nutrient's music.  Partway through, someone brought him a microphone, he went into the audience, and he asked a man in the first row some questions.  I couldn't hear the exchange, but after it, he completed his dance.  He's going to the Lines Ballet Trainee Program, and it looks like a great fit for him.

PNB Faculty member Eva Stone, who teach modern dance and composition, as well as choreographing extensively, made a three-part work for Kyle Davis, Angelica Generosa, Christian Poppe, and Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan.  (Because you can't be too busy, between the last rep of the season, SIDF, and preparing for the Paris tour.)  The music was by Ezio Bosso, John Cage, and Forest Swords.  The dancers looked fantastic in it: what a gift to them.

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