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Rep 2: Beyond Ballet (Nov 5-7, 2021 Live, Nov 18-22 Digitally)

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From the press release;





Featuring works by Ulysses Dove, Alonzo King, and Jessica Lang. 

November 5 – 7, 2021

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109

Four Performances Onstage!

November 5 at 7:30 PM

November 6 at 2:00 and 7:30 PM

November 7 at 1:00 PM

Streaming Digitally November 18 – 22

SEATTLE, WA – Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2021-22 season continues with BEYOND BALLET, a triple-bill of dance works by three acclaimed choreographers: the combination of Ulysses Dove’s mournful Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, Jessica Lang’s haunting Ghost Variations, and the PNB premiere of Alonzo King’s The Personal Element promises unmatched emotion, expression, and musicality. BEYOND BALLET runs for four performances only, November 5 through 7 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $30. The program will then stream digitally from November 18 through 22. Tickets for the digital access are $35. For more information, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org.

“The work of Ulysses Dove burns with passion,” said PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal, in his program notes. “Ulysses boldly addressed issues of the time—real issues from real life. Ulysses dug into untold stories with raw emotion. Taking a broad view of Ulysses’ works is like reading his memoir, written through movement, choreography, light, and sound. Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, created in 1993, addresses death. Ulysses spoke of having lost 13 people, including his father, the year before. Ulysses recalled of his own inability to process such profound loss. We can’t help but feel painful parallels between the devastation felt during the AIDS crisis and what we are experiencing today. Sadly, Ulysses, lost his own battle against AIDS in 1996. 

“I have long admired Alonzo King’s choreography,” continued Boal. “He infuses a zest for movement in his work. Dancers stretch beyond their own expectations, slicing air with limbs, and carving space with authority. The Personal Element was created for Vail International Dance Festival as a hybrid project involving four dancers from Alonzo King LINES and four from New York City Ballet. Pianist/composer Jason Moran’s alluring score serves as a point of inspiration for this work.

“Jessica Lang was the first choreographer to attempt the creation of a new piece for our 2020-21 Digital Season. Our dialogue leading up to her arrival was almost laughable, as we navigated ever-changing CDC guidelines, paired with PNB health and safety protocols. Jessica was undeterred and completely willing to make art against all odds. Her efforts and optimism were shared by all who recognized the importance of continuity and creation in a dark time. Ghost Variations emerged like a first spring bloom after a long harrowing winter. What a thrill to now present it for a live audience.”

The BEYOND BALLET line-up includes:

Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven: Odes to Love and Loss

Music: Arvo Pärt (Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, 1977)

Choreography: Ulysses Dove     

Staging: Eva Safström

Scenic and Costume Design: Jorge Gallardo

Original Lighting: Björn Nilsson

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

Running Time: 24 minutes

Premiere: April 29, 1993, Royal Swedish Ballet

PNB Premiere: November 2, 2006; restaged August 19, 2009 (Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival) 

Set for three couples in white unitards and subtitled Odes to Love and LossDancing on the Front Porch of Heaven was choreographed for the Royal Swedish Ballet in 1993 and received its U.S. premiere in 1996 at the For the Love of Dove benefit in New York. According to New York Times dance critic Jennifer Dunning, Dove “suggests a broken flow of relationships by placing his solos and duets in a chain of white spotlights.” Dove himself explained, “To me, Arvo Pärt’s music can send souls to heaven. I want to tell an experience in movement, a story without words, and create a poetic monument over people I loved.” The musical score, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, is the same used by Susan Marshall for her aerial pas de deux, Kiss. [Notes by Doug Fullington.]

Ghost Variations

Music: Clara Schumann (Three Romances, Op. 11, 1839, I. Andante; Scherzo No. 2 in C minor, Op. 14, after 1840) and Robert Schumann (Ghost Variations, 1854, Theme, Variations II & V; Lierderkreis, Op., 39, No. 5 “Mondnacht”, 1840, arranged by Clara Schumann, 1872–1874)          

Choreography: Jessica Lang

Creative Associate: Kanji Segawa

Costume Design: Jillian Lewis

Lighting Design: Reed Nakayama

Running Time: 21 minutes

Premiere: November 12, 2020, Pacific Northwest Ballet (digital release)

Ghost Variations was composed by Robert Schumann in 1854, the last work he ever wrote, just prior to being committed to an asylum for insanity. Schumann believed he was being haunted by composers from the grave who were dictating the theme to him—forgetting he had already written it himself. The work was dedicated to his wife Clara, who guarded this final score and would not allow the theme and five variations to be published until finally they appeared in 1939. This ballet to the same title weaves Robert Schumann’s “ghost” theme and two of the variations with Clara Schumann’s own piano compositions: her Andante movement from Three Romances and her Scherzo No. 2 in C Minor. The final movement of the ballet is a lieder entitled Mondnacht, written by Robert and arranged for solo piano by Clara, marking their indelible collaboration of life, love, and music.

 Ghost Variations was created in August 2020 during the global pandemic. Keeping to the protocols of two pods of four dancers, donned in masks, physically distanced, and never touching (unless cohabitating), sometimes behind plexiglass, with covers on Zoom in other studios, this is a ballet created for the stage with costumes and theatrical lighting. It was my intention to create a ballet for the stage that was filmed and broadcast as opposed to making a “dance film.” Even though our only way to experience the world premiere was on a screen, now Ghost Variations seamlessly transfers to the stage for live performance as we finally gather in theaters again. [Program notes by Jessica Lang.]

The Personal Element  PNB Premiere

Music: Jason Moran

Choreography: Alonzo King

Staging: Meredith Webster

Costume Design: Robert Rosenwasser

Lighting Design: Jim French

Running Time: 21 minutes

Premiere: August 5, 2019, Vail Dance Festival

 Set to a piano score by Jason Moran, The Personal Element is a piece that allows the viewer to marvel at the movements and the choreography. In a sober and elegant setting, eight dancers give pride of place to this poetic invitation, letting the spectators establish a personal connection with the piece. [Notes courtesy of Alonzo King LINES Ballet.]



Tickets to the live performances of BEYOND BALLET ($30-$190) are available through the PNB Box Office:

·         Phone - 206.441.2424

·         In Person - 301 Mercer Street at Seattle Center

·         Online - PNB.org

In accordance with King County regulations, PNB patrons must be able to show proof that they are fully vaccinated at the time of their entry into the theatre and will also need a valid ticket to the performance and photo ID upon entering McCaw Hall. All patrons must be masked. For more information, please visit PNB.org/Health.

Please note: Rush tickets, TodayTix, and TeenTix are not available for BEYOND BALLET performances at this time.

Tickets for the digital-only presentation of BEYOND BALLET are $35, and viewing access for the program is November 18 – 22.


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On 10/29/2021 at 11:55 AM, Helene said:

Casting is up on this page:


Here is the downloadable spreadsheet:

REP 2 2021 10 29.xlsx 9.62 kB · 3 downloads

Two casts for Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven (It looks like "tall" and "https://www.pnb.org/season/casting/short") and Ghost Variations, and one for The Personal Element.


I'm getting really excited for opening night!  I just discovered the website has been updated to name the dancers for the Meet the Artist post-performance discussions.  I don't recall seeing this information posted on the website before.  Usually you have to wait until inside the theater and look at that particular evening's program.  Also, I see the piano soloists for Ghost Variations named here.


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For those who are full season's ticket holders or who purchased online access as a full/partial subscription or a one time digital ticket, Beyond Ballet is available until Monday, November 22.  

It was remarkable to see Lesley Rausch in the Dove and King works, after a career mostly spent in classical and neoclassical roles.  I'm sad that her partnership with Jerome Tisserand ended with his departure to Europe, but I look forward to seeing her with different partners this season.  

It was great to see Cecilia Iliesiu paired with Dylan Wald: they are dynamite together.  

Not that it comes as any surprise, but Elle Macy is a Superhero.  And so is Christina Siemens:  her playing in the Schumanns' music for Lang's Ghost Variations was sublime, and the women in the piece, especially, were just so lovely.

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I'm not very active on this forum (former PNB student and lifelong PNB fan!) nor am I about to say anything groundbreaking...But MY GOODNESS Dylan Wald is a treasure! Every time I watch him I'm stunned by the purity of his movement and his emotional connection with others onstage. He brought Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven to a whole new level. I also loved getting to see Amanda Morgan featured. The way her limbs sliced through space was mesmerizing.

This rep struck a pleasant balance of intimacy and camaraderie, both between the dancers and the audience. There were moments of introspection and expansiveness. I only wish that one of the pieces had slightly more colorful costumes to break up some of the visual neutrals! (obviously, Nutcracker will provide that contrast in spades).

Is anyone else starting to think of their dream casts for R&J? Obviously Noe and James have been incredible in the past. After seeing this contemporary rep, I'm excited to see some of the newer dancers tackle dramatic roles!

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