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Spring 2021 Update on PNB's Digital Season


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From today's press release -- 

Part 1:

Dance Happens Everywhere: PNB’s 2020/2021 Digital Season

Filmed at the Seattle Center Studios at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall.

Viewable in the comfort and convenience of your own home.

SEATTLE, WA— Pacific Northwest Ballet had no idea how an all-digital season would be received when it launched its 2020/2021 Dance Happens Everywhere line-up, but with three repertory programs and a Nutcracker under our belts, it is safe to say that the response has been resounding. Patrons from all 50 states and 35 countries outside of the United States have purchased virtual tickets to performances, and critics have lauded the “full meal deal” packaging of ballet works with generous ancillary content, praising “the whole auxiliary experience – you’re tempted to spend a whole day lost in this PNB world coming at you through your computer” (Rachel Howard, Fjord Review).

Learning a new “normal” SOP has not been without the occasional hiccough, and programming previously announced has been tweaked to accommodate the unplanned vicissitudes of pandemic protocol permutations: Under current COVID conditions, the company is unable to stage Christopher Wheeldon’s Bound To, so Mr. Wheeldon has graciously agreed to create a new work for the PNB dancers: His world premiere has been moved to the final slot of the season, trading places with the archival presentation of Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Also in Rep 6, the archival recording of Alejandro Cerrudo’s Silent Ghost has been replaced with a new performance of his PACOPEPEPLUTO.

 The company has also found ways to incorporate new new works into the line-up: As we reach the midway point in the season, what better time for an intermission – or, rather, The Intermission Project, a new work conceived and created by Price Suddarth (Signature, Silent Resonance), and featuring 20 company dancers. The Intermission Project will be offered free of charge for two weeks beginning March 8. Elsewhere in the second half of the season, PNB is also offering Las Estrellas, a new work by Kyle Davis (Sylvia, A Dark and Lonely Space); as well as a commission by PNB School Professional Division student Margarita Armas, a rising young choreographer who has previously created new works for Miami City Ballet and for Dance Lab New York in partnership with the Joyce Theater Foundation.

“We are discovering so many silver linings during this strange year,” stated PNB artistic director Peter Boal. “Our audiences have sustained and inspired us this season, and we hope we can return the favor.”

All works are newly-filmed performances unless otherwise noted. Most programs are streamable for five days (see details and exceptions below.) Tickets to Reps 4, 5 and 6 are $29, or $39 for Digital Performance Plus. (Season subscribers and patrons of the Digital Performance Plus receive access to additional videos and bonus content. See below, for details.) Tickets may be purchased by contacting the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424 or online at PNB.org. As always, everything is subject to change.

 

THE MARCH-JUNE LINE-UP INCLUDES

NEW! The Intermission Project – March 8 – 21, 2021 World Premiere

Music: Alfonso Peduto, Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds, Carly Comando, Dustin O’Halloran, Goldmund

                Conception, Choreography and Videography: Price Suddarth

                Costume Design: Elizabeth Murphy

                Lighting Design: Reed Nakamura 

“Intermission” implies a period of time spent between. In 2021, most artists find themselves frozen in isolation, caught in between—between what their normal was, the lights, the curtain, the stage and the audience; and what their post-COVID 19 “normal” will look like. A nine-part film project presented in three acts, The Intermission Project aims to capture the emotional and cerebral journey we have found ourselves on this past year. The work was designed to be viewed at one’s own pace—a 4-minute piece here or there, a slightly longer 12-minute act, or the full 35 minutes in one sitting. The Intermission Project leans into the questions of this state of “in between” we find ourselves in, until the intermission ends and we can see what our next act will hold. [Excerpted from notes by Emma Love Suddarth.] This work is being offered free of charge to PNB supporters.

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Rep 4 April 1 – 5, 2021

 And the sky is not cloudy all day – World Premiere

Music: John Adams

Choreography: Donald Byrd

 Pictures at an Exhibition (Archival recording)

Music: Modest Mussorgsky

Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky

World Premiere

Choreography: Alejandro Cerrudo

Bonus content for season subscribers and Digital Performance Plus ticketholders includes the debut of a new work by Margarita Armas featuring PNB company dancers and PNB Company Pianist Christina Siemens, and an interview with Mr. Cerrudo and PNB School New Voices students.

 

NEW! Fanfare – April 13 – 17, 2021 (Archival recording)

                Music: Benjamin Britten, performed by Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra

                Choreography: Jerome Robbins

                Featuring: Students of Pacific Northwest Ballet School

This work is being offered free of charge to PNB supporters.    

 

NEW! Las Estrellas – Dates to be announced. World Premiere

                Music: Pablo de Sarasate, Carmen Fantasy performed by PNB Orchestra Concertmaster Michael Jinsoo Lim, and PNB Company Pianist Christina Siemens

                Choreography: Kyle Davis

                Costume Design: Elizabeth Murphy

                Lighting Design: Reed Nakayama

                Featuring: Leta Biasucci, Angelica Generosa, Noelani Pantastico, Lesley Rausch and Laura Tisserand 

Las Estrellas is a showcase of virtuosity and expression, and a display of the principal women of PNB’s ability to interpret the phrasing, characterization, texture, and heart of the choreographed steps – skills these artists have shown mastery of time and time again which has set them apart and proven they are stars. This work is being offered free of charge to PNB supporters.

 

REP 5 Coppélia – May 6 – 10, 2021 (Archival recording)

Music: Léo Delibes

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

Bonus content for season subscribers and Digital Performance Plus ticketholders includes introduction by former PNB principal dancer Carla Körbes, an interview with Alexandra Danilova by Edward Villella (“Live from Lincoln Center,” 1978), and Kyle Davis’s Sylvia Pas de Deux.

 

REP 6 – June 10 – 14, 2021

Curious Kingdom – World Premiere

Music: Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie, and songs performed by Edith Piaf

Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon

PACOPEPEPLUTO (Replaces the previously-announced Silent Ghost)

Music: Songs by various composers, sung by Dean Martin and Joe Scalissi

Choreography: Alejandro Cerrudo

Featuring: Christopher D’Ariano, James Moore, and Lucien Postlewaite

This work contains partial nudity.

World Premiere

Music: Oliver Davis

Choreography: Edwaard Liang

Costume Design: Mark Zappone

Lighting Design: Reed Nakayama

 

Bonus content for season subscribers and Digital Performance Plus ticketholders include an archival release of Edwaard Liang’s Distant Cries.

 

TICKET INFORMATION

TICKET INFO:

Tickets to Reps 4, 5 and 6 of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s digital season ($29 - $39 per performance) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office, 206.441.2424 or online 24/7 at PNB.org.

Ticket-buyers will receive an email prior to the program with a link and password, as well as helpful information to assist in viewing the digital content. Performance and bonus content can only be viewed during the allotted time period; No extensions or exceptions will be granted. For additional information, please contact the PNB Box Office.

In addition to the performances, all patrons of PNB’s basic Digital Performance ticket ($29) will also receive*:

·         Five Minute Call – A peek backstage at the artists, musicians, and crew preparing for the performances.

·         Ballet Talk – Doug Fullington’s informative introduction to the performance, discussing choreography, music, history, and design.

·         Meet the Artist – Peter Boal with company dancers in a lively conversation about the work.

(*Does not include The Intermission Project, Fanfare, or Las Estrellas.)

 

Season subscribers and patrons of the Digital Performance Plus ($39) will also receive access to additional content (performances and interviews) as indicated in the schedule line-up above.

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Update on Rep 4, from the press release:

 

Pacific Northwest Ballet to debut two more world premieres in fourth program of all-digital season.

Rep 4 to feature new works by Donald Byrd and Alejandro Cerrudo, plus an archival performance of Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. 

Rep 4: Streaming for five days only!

April 1 – 5, 2021

Dance Happens Everywhere: PNB’s 2020/2021 Digital Season

Filmed at the Seattle Center Studios at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall.

Viewable in the comfort, convenience and safety of your own home.

 

SEATTLE, WA – Pandemic protocols have not stopped Pacific Northwest Ballet from producing new dance works, and an international internet audience has responded, with ticket-buyers tuning in from all 50 states and 36 countries. Following the fall premieres from choreographers Jessica Lang and Penny Saunders, the company is back with brand-new creations from Spectrum Dance Theater artistic director (and Doris Duke Artist Award-winner) Donald Byrd, and PNB resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo. Joining the Rep 4 program line-up is an encore presentation of Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. PNB’s Rep 4 launches on Thursday, April 1 (no foolin’), and the program is streamable for five days, through April 5. Digital performance tickets are $29, or $39 for Digital Performance Plus. The latter provides access to additional videos including a new work by Margarita Armas, a rising young choreographer who has previously created works for Miami City Ballet and for Dance Lab New York in partnership with the Joyce Theater Foundation. (See “Ticket Information and Bonus Content” below.) For more information, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424 or online at PNB.org.

And the sky is not cloudy all day (World Premiere)

Music: John Adams (“Rag the Bone”, “Judah to Ocean”, “Toot Nipple”, “Dogjam”, and “Pavane: She’s so Fine” from John’s Book of Alleged Dances, 1994)

Choreography: Donald Byrd

Costume Design: Doris Black

Lighting Design: Reed Nakayama

 

Little boys of my generation played “Cowboys and Indians.” Because of what I saw on TV and in movies, I wanted to be like the men depicted in those visual narratives. For many boys, I think, the West and the Western Frontier, as myth, pulled at and subsumed all notions of boyhood and masculinity. I wanted to live in and be the hero of a John Ford or Audie Murphy movie. As a boy, the racial implications of that want had not dawned on me.

In 1893 Frederick Jackson Turner, in his essay “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” used the term “frontier” as a model for understanding American culture. Turner thought of the frontier as “the meeting point between savagery and civilization,” and argued that this point was the foundation for American identity and politics. Americans’ notions of nationalism, democracy, and individualism, as well as a rejection of European ideals, Turner believed, were a result of the frontier. Thus he concluded that America was only unique because of its interaction with the frontier (and the West as it expanded) and therefore “to the frontier the American intellect owes its striking characteristics.”

But I think it was the manifestations in popular culture of these notions of the West and the frontier that promulgated the myth of the West. Beginning with Western novels of Zane Grey and the works of painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer Frederic Sackrider Remington, American men and boys became increasingly captivated and enthralled by these images of the West. But perhaps the most potent influence was Hollywood and its machinery of dream and myth-making. Through movies, in particular the early films of John Ford and his Stagecoach (1939), and later in television shows (Zane Grey Theater, Rawhide, Wagon Train) the myth of the West was solidified and indelibly inscribed the images of a strong and rugged Western (White) man in the imagination of the boys and men of the late-nineteenth and early- and mid-twentieth centuries.  

My new work for Pacific Northwest Ballet, And the sky is not cloudy all day, with its John Adams score so reminiscent of Aaron Copland’s dance scores for Martha Graham, Eugene Loring, and Agnes de Mille is a kind of “nostalgia” for something that never was. But it is also a boyhood dream, a boy’s playtime. Ultimately, however, it does ask us to consider the myth of the West and its unreality… Yet if only for one brief moment, it also allows us to accept its contradictions. [Donald Byrd, March 2021]

 

Pictures at an Exhibition

Music: Modest Mussorgsky (1874)
Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky
Staging: Wendy Whelan
Costume Design: Adeline André
Lighting Design: Mark Stanley
Projection Design: Wendall K. Harrington, using Wassily Kandinsky’s Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles (1913)

Piano Soloist: Allan Dameron
Premiere: October 2, 2014, New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: June 2, 2017
Running Time: 35 minutes

PNB’s digital performance of Pictures at an Exhibition is an archival recording from 2017.

Writing in The New York Times after the ballet’s premiere, critic Alastair Macaulay stated, “Pictures at an Exhibition is surely the most casually diverse work Mr. Ratmansky has created, but it gathers unstoppable momentum. The 10 dancers started out in informal home-theater mood, almost as if they were playing charades. Some dances, including the first solo, had a wild, improvisatory, part-stumbling, part-inspired quality. (The tailor-made nature of the ballet’s solos reflects one of Mr. Ratmansky’s greatest gifts: Dancers are vividly, individually, intimately revealed.) In certain numbers the dancers—here on all fours, there gesturing—seemed to enact or refer to private stories. Other sections shifted toward a classicism of long lines and academic steps. Some ensembles were largely about camaraderie; others about geometry, harmony, meter.

Dance writer Michael Popkin, in danceviewtimes, wrote: “Not just a rendition in dance of Mussorgsky’s famous work of the same name, the ballet was also functionally a tribute and apotheosis for NYCB’s retiring star, Wendy Whelan.” (Pictures at PNB marked Whelan’s first project as a répétiteur, or stager, the individual who teaches an existing ballet to a new cast. In addition to Whelan, Ratmansky’s team of collaborators includes renowned projection designer Wendall K. Harrington, whose visual musings on Wassily Kandinsky’s watercolor, Color Study. Squares with Concentric Circles, provide animated counterpoint to the dancers’ moves. Fashion designer Adeline André’s costumes echo Kandinsky’s colors and shapes, while Mark Stanley’s lighting joins all of these components to create a unified whole.)

 

Popkin continued: “The ballet tracks the score’s scenario, its action unfolding as a suite of dances before vibrantly colored backdrops. In this 1874 composition, Mussorgsky commemorates the premature death of a friend, the painter Viktor Hartmann, in a tone poem depicting a stroll through a gallery of his pictures. The music, in 16 short sections, alternates tone pictures of some canvasses with a repeating march—labeled ‘Promenade’—that recurs in different musical meters and lets you imagine that you’re strolling from picture to picture. As the promenades segue from conventional to elevated over the course of the entire piece, the composer’s emotion becomes evident: The work is increasingly shot through with his love for his friend and the artistic resolution of his grief.” [Excerpted notes by Doug Fullington.]

 

World Premiere (title TBA)

Choreography: Alejandro Cerrudo

Additional credits to come. 

Alejandro Cerrudo is a Chicago based choreographer born in Madrid, Spain. His professional career includes work with Czech National Ballet, Victor Ullate Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC). Cerrudo became HSDCʼs first-ever Resident Choreographer in 2008 and held that position until 2018. His body of work has been performed by more than 20 professional dance companies around the world. In March 2012, upon receiving the Joyce Theater Foundationʼs second Rudolf Nureyev Prize for New Dance, Cerrudo was invited by Pacific Northwest Ballet to choreograph his first work for the company, Memory Glow. Additional honors include an award from the Boomerang Fund for Artists (2011) and the Prince Prize for Commissioning Original Work from the Prince Charitable Trusts (2012) for his acclaimed major work, One Thousand Pieces. In 2014, he was awarded the USA Donnelley Fellowship by United States Artists. Mr. Cerrudo was one of four choreographers invited by Wendy Whelan to create and perform original duets for her program Restless Creature. In 2017, Cerrudo was invited by Daniil Simkin to choreograph a site-specific performance for the Guggenheim Rotunda, a Works & Process Rotunda Project commission featuring Simkin, with original costumes by Dior. Cerrudoʼs Sleeping Beauty, created for Ballet Theater Basel in 2016, was nominated as Production of the Year in Switzerland by Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

This new work is the fifth Cerrudo ballet to enter PNB’s repertory – following Memory Glow (world premiere 2014), Little mortal jump (PNB premiere 2016), Silent Ghost (PNB premiere 2018), and One Thousand Pieces, which was only performed once for a small but supportive audience at its March 2020 dress rehearsal, before PNB was temporarily shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, Artistic Director Peter Boal announced that Mr. Cerrudo had been appointed as PNB’s first Resident Choreographer

TICKET INFO and BONUS CONTENT

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s digital presentation of Rep 4 runs April 1 – 5. Tickets to Rep 4 and the rest of PNB’s digital season may be purchased through the PNB Box Office, 206.441.2424 or online at PNB.org

Ticket-buyers will receive an email prior to the program with a link and password, as well as helpful information to assist in viewing the digital content. Rep 4 and bonus content will be available for a five-day viewing window beginning at 10am (Pacific) on Thursday, April 1. Digital content can only be viewed during the allotted time period; No extensions or exceptions will be granted. For additional information, please contact the PNB Box Office.

All patrons of PNB’s basic Digital Performance ($29) will also receive, in addition to the Rep 4 program line-up:

·         Five Minute Call – A peek backstage at the artists, musicians, and crew preparing for the performances.

·         Ballet Talk – Doug Fullington’s informative introduction to the performance, discussing choreography, music, history, and design.

·         Meet the Artist – Peter Boal with company dancers in a lively conversation about the work.

Additionally, season subscribers and patrons of the Digital Performance Plus ($39) will receive access to the debut of a new work by Margarita Armas featuring PNB company dancers and PNB Company Pianist Christina Siemens, and a conversation with Mr. Cerrudo and PNB School New Voices students.

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Casting is up on the PNB website for the new Byrd and Pictures:  https://www.pnb.org/season/rep4/

I have been waiting and waiting to see Pictures casting knowing the archive would be from a few years ago.  So excited to see beloved retired dancers:  Rachel Foster, Carrie Imler, Sara Ricard Orza, Karel Cruz, and Jonathon Porretta!!!

Out of the dancers on the current roster, it seems like we have seen Noelani Pantastico dance the least, so I am really excited to see her on the list! 

I am so excited for Pictures!  Every day there was a show, I went during the last run.  I will watch at least once every day this time around!!!

Pictures at an Exhibition

Rachel Foster
Carrie Imler
Elizabeth Murphy
Sarah Ricard Orza
Noelani Pantastico

Karel Cruz
Kyle Davis
Seth Orza
Jonathan Porretta
Jerome Tisserand

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54 minutes ago, seattle_dancer said:

Casting is up on the PNB website for the new Byrd and Pictures:  https://www.pnb.org/season/rep4/

I have been waiting and waiting to see Pictures casting knowing the archive would be from a few years ago.  So excited to see beloved retired dancers:  Rachel Foster, Carrie Imler, Sara Ricard Orza, Karel Cruz, and Jonathon Porretta!!!

Out of the dancers on the current roster, it seems like we have seen Noelani Pantastico dance the least, so I am really excited to see her on the list! 

I am so excited for Pictures!  Every day there was a show, I went during the last run.  I will watch at least once every day this time around!!!

Yes, good cast - thanks for letting us know.

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25 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I loved Pictures at an Exhibition. 

So did I! It was one of the main selling points for the PNB digital subscription for me. I wish they'd keep this on-line a little longer, but okay.

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I really liked this program, and I am especially glad that Margarita Armas' kawsay was included.  (It was a separate video, filmed in a studio.)  I was really happy to see a featured role in it for Amanda Morgan, who has created exceptional work for her own peers, but it was wonderful to see all five dancers in it -- Morgan, Clara Ruf Maldonado, Cecilia Iliesiu, Abby-Jayne DeAngelo, and Guillaume Basso -- and to hear the Chopin played so beautifully by Christina Siemens.

I'd love to see the Byrd in the theater, with the energy in the room.  I loved the Adams music.

Pictures was emotional to watch, with half the cast -- Imler, Porretta, Cruz, Foster, and Ricard Orza -- now retired, along with pianist Allan Dameron.

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I loved Pictures at an Exhibition!  It great to see everybody dance, but especially all the retired dancers.  I found Rachel Foster especially charming, and I had forgotten that Sarah Ricard Orza and her husband Seth dance together so that was a big bonus!

kaysay was really well done, with all the choreography suited to each of the dancers.  I loved the narration and global feel, it reminded  me a bit of Alonzo King's work.  Although I liked the pdd a lot, and I love that Chopin music, I felt like it would have been better as a separate piece as I didn't see how it related to the three preceding solos.

The other two pieces were interesting but not exactly my cup of tea.  But I'm glad to see so many positive comments on PNB's FB.  It's good to have a program that has something for everyone, and to grow the audience base.

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Before I forget...

The first two pieces were not my cup of tea, so I feel like I shouldn't say too much about those, but...

Donald Byrd’s And the sky is not cloudy all day just wasn't appealing to me in terms of choreography, thematics, costumes and stagings. Some of the music choices were fine but I wasn't consistently interested in the choices or arrangements. The dancers looked to be committed to the project, but de Mille's Rodeo is enough of an evocation of the Old West for me.

Byrd: "There is a tension created by what we know happened and this confection. It is my boyhood dream, a boy from the past’s playtime"

> The concept is perhaps more interesting than the results. I wasn't particularly moved by the choreography. No more thigh slapping, please.

"In these games nobody wanted to be the Indians because we knew the outcome if not the implication. We played the cowboys and we killed the Indians."

> Funny thing is, when I was a boy, we all wanted to be the Indians, not the cowboys - and most of the kids in that neighborhood happened to be White. My school (north of Chicago) was much more racially mixed. But the Native Americans were held in more esteem by us kids than some might guess. I was good at drawing and was often asked to do drawings of an Indian for the other boys. Nobody was requesting cowboy pictures.

Leah Terada and Miles Pertl were quite mesmerizing in Future Memory. But like perhaps a lot of people, I kept wondering, is this really dance? Or "body crafting"? Body sculpture in motion?
Partly the music choices were to blame as they just didn't strike me as dance music, nor was any of the music particularly memorable, for me. The ballet struck me as form fitted for those particular dancers (especially Terada and Perti), but it never seemed to develop emotionally/dramatically and was rather enervating as it went on.

Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, on the other hand, was exuberantly performed. And the company showed the necessary levels of stamina(!) for sustained allegro movements. I particularly liked Elizabeth Murphy in this ballet, but it was great to see many excellent dancers again (since retired). It's a shame that the archival video resolution was low - we really needed to be able to see this performance clearly and in great detail. Now the companies have a reason to pay for better quality archival films.  😉

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