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2020-21 Season Announced

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I received the subscriber email this morning announcing the 2020-21 season.  Here is the press release:

Pacific Northwest Ballet Announces 2020-2021 Season Line-Up.

48th season to include the return of audience favorites Jewels, Roméo et Juliette, and Coppélia; world premieres from Jessica Lang and Alejandro Cerrudo; the PNB premiere of works by Penny Saunders, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon; and works by George Balanchine, Crystal Pite, and Alexei Ratmansky. (And, of course, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®.)

PNB Box Office is now taking orders for renewals and new full-season subscriptions. Season packages start at $130; Full-season subscriptions start at $190. Nutcracker and season single tickets to go on sale July 20.

September 2020 – June 2021

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center

Seattle, Washington

March 10, 2020, SEATTLE, WA— Artistic Director Peter Boal has announced the line-up for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 48th season, running from September, 2020 to June, 2021. Highlights include George Balanchine’s dazzling Jewels, and Crystal Pite’s remarkable Emergence; world premieres by Jessica Lang and Alejandro Cerrudo; the return of the popular story ballets Roméo et Juliette and Coppélia; and the PNB premieres of works by Penny Saunders, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon. The line-up concludes with a triple-bill of hits by Balanchine, Cerrudo, and Alexei Ratmansky. For family audiences, PNB is also presenting its all-matinee production of Snow White (performed by students of the Pacific Northwest Ballet School) and of course, just in time for holiday season, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®.

PNB is currently accepting season subscription renewals and new full-season subscription orders, and subscribers will have access to purchase additional tickets before they go on sale to the general public; single tickets to the season, and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, go on sale to the public on Monday, July 20. For further information, contact the PNB Box Office by phone at 206.441.2424, online at PNB.org, or in person at 301 Mercer Street. Discounted subscription rates are available for senior citizens and students with ID. All programming and dates are subject to change. For more information, visit PNB.org.

2020-2021 SEASON LINE-UP (programming subject to change):

Rep 1 – George Balanchine’s JEWELS

September 25 – October 4, 2020

Opening the season with sparkling élan, George Balanchine’s Jewels is a perfect primer of the iconic choreographer’s style: Emeralds whispers of grace, courtesy, and French perfume; Rubies sizzles with American sass; and Diamonds conjures the magnificence of old St. Petersburg.

 Music: Gabriel Fauré, Igor Stravinsky, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Scenic and Costume Design: Jérôme Kaplan

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

Premiere: April 13, 1967; New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: June 1, 2006 (Rubies premiere: February 3, 1988); New production, September 22, 2017



November 6 – 15, 2020

ALL PREMIERE celebrates a lineage of powerful female choreographers from Twyla Tharp, to Jessica Lang, to up-and-comer Penny Saunders, each with their own bright and arresting perspective 

So to Speak (PNB Premiere)

Music: Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Dustin O’Halloran, and Armand Amar

Choreography: Penny Saunders

Staging: Nick Schultz

Scenic and Lighting Design: Andrew Lees                   

Costume Design: Dona Jefferis

Premiere: August 17, 2018; Royal New Zealand Ballet

Sweet Fields (PNB Premiere)

Music: William Billings, William Walker, Abraham Wood, and Jeremiah Ingalls

Choreography: Twyla Tharp

Staging: Stacy Caddell

Original Costume Design: Norma Kamali

Original Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton

Premiere: September 20, 1996; Tharp! (Berkeley, CA) 

Stabat Mater (World Premiere)

Music: Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

Choreography and Scenic Design: Jessica Lang

Costume Design: Jillian Lewis

Lighting Design: Reed Nakayama 


George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®

November 27 – December 27, 2020

(Not part of PNB’s subscription season. Tickets go on sale July 20.) 

The Northwest’s favorite holiday tradition! PNB’s production of the iconic Balanchine ballet features sets and costumes designed by children’s author and illustrator Ian Falconer (Olivia the Pig). 

Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Staging: Judith Fugate, with Peter Boal and Garielle Whittle

 Scenic & Costume Design: Ian Falconer

Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls

Original Lev Ivanov Production Premiere: December 6, 1892, Imperial Ballet, St. Petersburg

Balanchine Production Premiere: February 2, 1954, New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: November 27, 2015


Rep 3  Roméo et Juliette

February 5 – 14, 2021

"One of the most beautiful ballets adapted from Shakespeare's masterpiece that can be seen today." (Scènes Magazine) Jean-Christophe Maillot infuses Shakespeare’s tragic tale of star-crossed lovers with intoxicating emotion and heart-rending beauty. 

Music: Sergei Prokofiev

Choreography: Jean-Christophe Maillot

Staging: Gaby Baars, Bernice Coppieters, and Giovanna Lorenzoni

Scenic Design: Ernest Pignon-Ernest

Costume Design: Jérôme Kaplan

Lighting Design: Dominique Drillot

Premiere: December 23, 1996; Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

PNB Premiere: January 31, 2008 



March 19 – 28, 2021 

Contemporary masters explore life in our increasingly complicated world in this year’s DIRECTOR’S CHOICE line-up. Crystal Pite’s riveting audience favorite, Emergence, will share the stage with Bound To, Christopher Wheeldon’s essay on disconnectedness in these tech-obsessed times, and a world premiere by PNB resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo (One Thousand Pieces, Little mortal jump) completes the triple-bill. 

Bound To (PNB Premiere)

Music: Keaton Henson

Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon

Scenic and Costume Design: Jean-Marc Puissant

Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls

Premiere: April 20, 2018; San Francisco Ballet 

World Premiere

Choreography: Alejandro Cerrudo


Music: Owen Belton

Choreography: Crystal Pite

Staging: Hope Muir

Scenic Design: Jay Gower Taylor

Costume Design: Linda Chow

Lighting Design: Andrew Brodie

Premiere: March 4, 2009; National Ballet of Canada

PNB Premiere: November 8, 2013 


Snow White

March 21 – 28, 2020 (Part of PNB’s “Family Matinees” series. Call the PNB Box Office for details.)

Featuring students of Pacific Northwest Ballet School.

Who’s the fairest of them all? Snow White, of course! Danced by the students of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, this hour-long narrated matinee version of the treasured classic was designed for younger audience members. 

Music: Jules Massenet

Concept and Choreography: Bruce Wells

 Staging: Michele Curtis

Scenic Design and Properties: Edie Whitsett

Costume Design: Pacific Northwest Ballet Costume Shop

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli 


Rep 5  Coppélia

April 16 – 25, 2021

The return of the happiest ballet on earth! A hilarious and charming tale of mistaken identity, Coppélia promises bravura classical ballet, exquisite scenery and costumes, and pristine choreography for the PNB company plus 24 tiny dancers from the PNB School.

Music: Léo Delibes

Book: Charles Nuitter, after ETA Hoffman

Choreography: Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust (after Petipa)

Staging: Judith Fugate and Garielle Whittle

Scenic and Costume Design: Roberta Guidi di Bagno

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

Original Production Premiere: May 25, 1870; Paris Opera Ballet

Petipa Production Premiere: November 25, 1884, Imperial Ballet (St. Petersburg)

Balanchine Production Premiere: July 17, 1974; New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: June 3, 2010



June 4 – 13, 2021

This collection of works pays homage to ballet’s past while ushering the art form into the future. The program spans nearly a century of modern American ballet, from the intensely theatrical Pictures at an Exhibition by Alexei Ratmansky, to the hypnotic flow of Alejandro Cerrudo’s Silent Ghost, to the fountainhead of contemporary classicism – George Balanchine’s Apollo


Music: Igor Stravinsky

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Staging: Peter Boal

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

Premiere: June 12, 1928; Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes (Paris)

PNB Premiere: February 23, 1993; restaged April 13, 2012

Silent Ghost

Music: Dustin Hamman, King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, Ólafur Arnalds, and Nils Frahm

Choreography: Alejandro Cerrudo

Staging: Pablo Piantino

Costume Design: Branimira Ivanova

Lighting Design: Michael Korsch

Premiere: July 10, 2015; Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

PNB Premiere: November 2, 2018

Pictures at an Exhibition

Music: Modest Mussorgsky

Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky

Staging: Wendy Whelan

Costume Design: Adeline André

Lighting Design: Mark Stanley

Projection Design; Wendall K. Harrington (after Wassily Kandinsky)

Premiere: October 2, 2014; New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: June 2, 2017 



Sunday, June 13, 2021

(Not part of PNB’s subscription season. Tickets to this event go on sale in 2021.)


NEXT STEP: Outside/In Choreographers’ Showcase

Friday, June 18, 2021

(Not part of PNB’s subscription season. Tickets to this event go on sale in 2021.)


40th Annual PNB School Performances

Saturday, June 19, 2021

(Not part of PNB’s subscription season. Tickets to this event go on sale in 2021.)

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A few comments:

When Twyla Tharp spent her year (or so) with PNB, she staged "Sweet Fields" for the Professional Division students, and they were stellar in it.  Stacey Caddell is listed as the stager for the PNB company premiere.  I'm sure many New Yorkers remember her dancing in NYCB.  

"Snow White" is a wonderful work.  Bruce Wells created a beautiful forest divertissement to open the ballet and a plethora of roles across ages and levels.

"So to Speak" was originally commissioned for Royal New Zealand Ballet by former PNB star Patricia Barker.  (It's a bit scary to realize that she's been retired for long enough that some of the younger audiences only know her dancing from the Nutcracker and Balanchine Celebration videos, since Barker that Nutcracker movie was the reason I had no culture-based trepidations about leaving NYC for Seattle.)

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Wheeldon's "Bound to" was originally created for San Francisco Ballet, and the Company toured it.  Casting shows it has five women, five men. Here are a few mentions from the San Francisco Ballet forum:

pherank wrote


The Wheeldon is abstract and yet very topical (that's right, it's about people's obsession with smart phones/social media). Yuan Yuan Tan was a nominee for the Best Dancer (ballerina) category at this year's Prix Benois de la Danse for her role in Wheeldon's Bound To.

meunier fan wrote,


[Angelo Greco's Lonnie Weeks'] closing solo in Wheeldon's gloriously telling Bound To was so affectionately searing in its compassion so as to render this treatise unforgettable.  The audience sat - as a whole - agog at its wallop.

The Travelling Ballerina wrote


I really appreciate how Wheeldon's choreographic range is so broad. Having worked with him and danced two of his earlier pieces, I could see elements in Bound To - like the ebb and flow of dancers on and off the stage and the interesting, fluid partnering - that instantly made it recognizable as his. But I also loved seeing how he has experimented in making more theatrical works with the cool use of lighting and scenery.

YouOverThere wrote,


Wheeldon Bound To: A+   Beautiful and totally full of emotion.



Wheeldon Bound To: A+   I absolutely loved this one. Varied choreography (with a stellar solo for a man), a coherent theme, and interesting music. 


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It was Lonnie Weeks who danced the closing solo in Wheeldon's Bound To, and who is actually referenced in meunierfan's post from  June 10, 2019, cited above. Greco did not dance the closing solo;  Jaime Castillo was the alternate for that solo. 

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

Eight weeks of self-quarantine and no gatherings of 50+ people washes right over Giselle, scheduled to open in less than a month :(

I hope PNB will consider swapping out Coppelia for next April and presenting Giselle instead.

I like that idea! I was so disappointed that my (normal) schedule this spring made it impossible to get to PNB's Giselle. This is something I'd definitely fly to Seattle for if they can reschedule to next season.

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My vote is to replace Jewels with Giselle.  That would be such a great way to kick off the season and I don't want to wait until next spring for Giselle.  Also since R&J is the story ballet after Nutcracker, they need Coppelia for the little kids.

I'm super bummed about missing Empire Noir, One Thousand Pieces, and probably Giselle, but I don't feel so sorry for myself compared to the dancers and all the PNB staff.  I thought that was so sad that Marcie Sillman wrote that some dancers wiped away tears during the bows at Thursday's dress rehearsal.  I'm also thankful my livelihood does not depend on performances and studios being open.  I'm just not quite as happy and have to create more basic activities to look forward to.

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No, not Jewels.  I would rather they replace one of the triple bills with Giselle, especially since they are going to need revenue after this year's losses, and full-lengths, according to conventional wisdom, do better financially.

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