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The Seasons' Canon: Balanchine/Pite/Rhoden, Nov 4-5 and 10-13, with Digital Stream Nov 17-21

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Here's the first part of the press release:


Pacific Northwest Ballet continues its 50th Anniversary Season with an epic American premiere from Crystal Pite, a Balanchine classic, and a world premiere by Dwight Rhoden.




Seven Performances: November 4 – 13, 2022

November 4 at 7:30 PM

November 5 at 2:00 and 7:30 PM

November 10 – 12 at 7:30 PM

November 13 at 1:00 PM

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center

Seattle, Washington

 Streaming Digitally November 17 – 21

 SEATTLE, WA – Pacific Northwest Ballet continues its 50th Anniversary Season with THE SEASONS’ CANON, a program of works featuring the American premiere of the eponymous The Seasons’ Canon from dance innovator Crystal Pite (Emergence, Plot Point.) The Seasons’ Canon will be performed on a triple-bill with Catching Feelings, a world premiere by choreographer and artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Dwight Rhoden; and George Balanchine’s Duo Concertant. In his playbill comments, PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal notes that the three works span the lifetime of PNB: “George Balanchine’s Duo Concertant, one of 34 offerings in a landmark New York City Ballet Stravinsky Festival in 1972, is 50; Crystal Pite’s The Seasons’ Canon is six, and Dwight Rhoden’s new creation is either newborn or in its first ten days of existence, depending on which show you attend!”

 THE SEASONS’ CANON runs for seven performances, November 4 through 13 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at just $37. The program will also stream digitally from November 17 through 21. Tickets for the digital access are $35. For tickets and additional information, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online 24/7 at PNB.org.

 The program line-up includes:

 Catching Feelings (World Premiere)

Music: Works for Strings by J.S. Bach; Peter Greyson and Johan Ullén after J.S. Bach

Choreography: Dwight Rhoden

Assistant to the Choreographer: Clifford Williams

Costume Design: Christine Darch

Lighting Design: Joey Walls

Running Time: 33 minutes

The world premiere of Dwight Rhoden’s Catching Feelings is principally supported by the Jane Lang Davis New Works Fund, and Bob Benson. 

 Dwight Rhoden has established a remarkably wide-ranging career, earning distinction from The New York Times as “one of the most sought-out choreographers of the day.” A native of Dayton, Ohio who began dancing at 17, Rhoden has performed with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballet Jazz De Montreal and as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 1994, Rhoden and legendary dancer Desmond Richardson founded Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Under his direction, Complexions has been presented on five continents and in over 20 countries including the US, Canada, South America, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, The Baltic Region, Egypt, Israel, and the Middle East.

 “Musicality, innovation, purpose, consistency, a brilliant use of stage space and the ability to tell a story -- all these qualities make him one of today's elect choreographers (Los Angeles Times).” Rhoden has created over 80 ballets for Complexions, as well as other companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Arizona Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, BalletMet, Dance Theater of Harlem, The Joffrey, Miami City Ballet, New York City Ballet/Diamond Project, Philadanco, Mariinsky Ballet (Kirov), Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, The Washington Ballet, and Zenon Dance Company, among many others.  Rhoden has directed and choreographed for TV, film, theater, and live performances and has worked with, and/or created works for such high-profile artists as Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Kelly Clarkson, ELEW, David Rozenblatt, Nicholas Payton, The Drifters, Paul Simon, Billy Strayhorn, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, U2, and Patrick Swayze. He has worked with, coached, and created for some of the most diverse artists spanning the worlds of ballet and contemporary dance including Carmen De Lavallade, Wendy Whelan, Maria Kowroski, Diana Vishneva, Sandra Brown, Jodie Gates, and Gus Solomons Jr. Rhoden has lectured, taught, created works for, and served as Artist in Residence at universities around the United States including New York University, Juilliard, UC Irvine, Skidmore College, and The University of Mississippi where his Racial Reconciliation Project was credited as a catalyst for dialogue in an historically divided community. He is a recipient of various honors and awards including the New York Foundation for the Arts Award, The Choo San Goh Award for Choreography, and The Ailey School’s Apex Award in recognition of his extensive contributions to the field of dance. [Excerpted from DwightRhoden.com and ComplexionsDance.org.]


Duo Concertant

Music: Igor Stravinsky (Duo Concertant for violin and piano, 1939)

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Staging: Peter Boal

Costume Design: Holly Hynes

Lighting Design: Ronald Bates, recreated by Perry Silvey

Running Time: 17 minutes

Premiere: June 22, 1972, New York City Ballet (Stravinsky Festival)

PNB Premiere: September 17, 2005

Duo Concertant and the works of George Balanchine performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet are made possible in part by The Louise Nadeau Endowed Fund.

 Balanchine long admired Duo Concertant and finally choreographed the score as a pas de deux for New York City Ballet’s historic 1972 Stravinsky Festival. Nancy Reynolds, Director of Research for The George Balanchine Foundation, writes, “Duo Concertant was seen as the essence of what the festival was all about: it was not only a close union of dance with music, dancers with musicians (pianist and violinist were on the stage); here, the music actually penetrated the dancing, and did not merely accompany it: the dancers stood still at times and visibly listened. And in its intimacy, the ballet recalled the very personal nature of the fifty-year collaboration that the festival both celebrated and prolonged.”

 The ballet was made on NYCB principal dancers Kay Mazzo and Peter Martins. Mazzo has written: “Lincoln Kirstein called Duo Concertant ‘a little jewel,’ and Jerome Robbins said at the premiere that he was amazed Mr. B had the nerve to have the dancers just listen to the music for the whole first movement. Mr. B said, ‘Aha, dear, that’s the point of all dancing. You must first listen to the music and really hear, and then you will understand it and appreciate it. You see the music in the steps, but first you must hear the music!’ I believe Mr. B was very proud of this beautiful ballet and felt he was really delivering the message that he firmly believed.” [Notes compiled by Doug Fullington.]


The Seasons’ Canon (North American Premiere)

Music: Max Richter (Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, 2012)

Choreography: Crystal Pite

Staging: Eric Beauchesne and Anna Herrmann

Scenic Design and Reflected Light Concept: Jay Gower Taylor

Reflected Light Backdrop Design: Jay Gower Taylor and Tom Visser

Costume Design: Nancy Bryant

Lighting Design: Tom Visser, staged by Douwe Beerink

Running Time: 32 minutes

Premiere: September 26, 2016, Paris Opera Ballet

The PNB premiere of Crystal Pite’s The Seasons’ Canon is principally supported by Susan Brotman and Dan & Pam Baty.

 The Seasons’ Canon is the third work of Crystal Pite’s to enter Pacific Northwest Ballet’s repertoire after Emergence and Plot Point.

“…I consider nature’s facts – its beautiful and grotesque forms and events – in terms of the import to thought and their impetus to the spirit. In nature I find grace tangled in a rapture with violence; I find an intricate landscape whose forms are fringed in death; I find mystery, newness, and a kind of exuberant, spendthrift energy.” –Annie Dillard

“Creation for me is like looking through a lens. It’s a way to see the world in greater detail and clarity; it’s a magnified experience. It is the act of making that sharpens my awareness and connects me most deeply to the natural world and all the brutality and beauty it contains. The Seasons’ Canon is a gesture, an offering. It is as much my way of coping with the vastness and complexity of the natural world as it is a way of giving thanks for it.” –Crystal Pite


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Part 2:



Thursday, November 3, 5:30 pm

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Artistic Director Peter Boal, in conversation with choreographer Crystal Pite. PNB Conversations offers in-depth interviews with artists involved in putting our repertory on stage. Attend the Conversations event only or stay for the dress rehearsal of THE SEASONS’ CANON. Tickets ($35) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office.



Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join dance historian 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. FREE for ticketholders.



Tickets to PNB’s live and/or digital performances may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

·         Phone - 206.441.2424

·         In Person - 301 Mercer Street at Seattle Center

·         Online 24/7 - PNB.org


(Tickets are also available – subject to availability – 90 minutes prior to each performance at McCaw Hall. In-person ticket sales at the McCaw Hall Box Office are subject to day-of-show increases. Advance tickets through the PNB Box Office are strongly suggested for best prices and greatest availability.)

Tickets for the live performances of THE SEASONS’ CANON are $37 - $195. Groups of ten or more may enjoy discounts up to 20% off regular prices: Contact Group Sales Manager Julie Jamieson at 206.441.2416 or JulieJ@PNB.org for ticketing assistance. (Group discounts are not valid on lowest-priced tickets and may not be combined with other offers.) 

Tickets for PNB’s digital-only presentation of THE SEASONS’ CANON (November 17 – 21) are $35.

For information about special ticket offers including group discounts, The Pointe, Pay-What-You-Can, Beer and Ballet night, rush tickets and more, visit PNB.org/offers.

Health & Safety: PNB will continue to follow the advice of our local health authorities in partnership with our labor groups to create our masking and vaccine policies. At this time, masks are strongly encouraged but not required as part of the PNB audience experience. For details and current information regarding PNB’s current health and safety policies, visit PNB.org/Health.

The show must go on: Pacific Northwest Ballet is committed to honoring its performance calendar. Performances will not be cancelled for snow, smoke, or Seattle traffic. In the unlikely event that the status of a performance does change, an announcement will be posted on PNB.org

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It was sooooooo good!

I thought the Rhoden was interesting with some lovely moments. I do think that some of the dancers really embraced the movement style, particularly in the use of hips, and others did not as much. When the performance was there it was very good but at other moments it was a bit bland. 

duo concertante was itself. Great violin playing by Michael Jinsoo Lim! Which was quite a feat given that every piece on the program was a violin solo (just brutal programming from a musician’s perspective). I saw it with Christopher d’Ariano in the man’s role. I love his dancing!

The Pite was really the highlight. It’s such beautiful and unusual choreography. She focuses on the corps moving as one body, not in unison or counterpoint a la Balanchine, not as a machine a la Peck, but more like a living organism. I’d be interested to know if she looked into things like ant colonies or cellular organization, because it was constructed so that each person moved similarly but in their own slightly different times and ways, so the whole group looked like an organically moving body. There were great projections as well to match the season themes. I can’t wait to catch this one in the digital version.

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On 11/15/2022 at 8:04 PM, tutu said:

Any reports?  Especially curious to hear about the Pite.

I loved the whole program!  I saw the dress rehearsal and three shows.  I highly recommend the digital stream with the opening night cast.  It has been released already this morning.

I thought the Dwight Rhoden piece was really great, even better than "Let's Begin at the End" which he made for SFB.  It was such a great blend of music, choreography, use of dancers, super sleek and individualized costumed and lighting.  There's a lot to see and doesn't really repeat.  It really showcases the dancers well - the principals in the duets but also I was happy to see Zsilas Hughes finally in a beefy role.  He was also singled out in the Stranger review, I believe.

I had not seen Duo Concertant before, it was fun and I really loved the ending when the stage goes dark.  The music undergoes a key change and the last movement starts with a spotlight on the woman's face and grows to incorporate her arms and then to include her partner.  Such a beautiful ending.

To answer Swanhilda8's questions, in some of the Meet the Artist sessions the dancers spoke about how Pite was inspired by Octupus mothers (Amanda Morgan) and bucks fighting (after Kyle Davis solo) and other natural occurences.  The lighting is not a video or a projection is a live light show, if you listen to the podcast of the lecture before the dress rehearsal Pite explains how it was done.  It was amazing to see so many dancers on stage (54) and the trafficking and patterning was pretty incredible.  It was not a matter of simple symmetry.  For the dress rehearsal we are not allowed to sit in the orchestra level but that actually works out best for Seasons Canon as it is such a large piece.  The duets are also incredible - Angelica Generosa & James Yoichi Moore start out slow but then with tempo change it almost looks like they are sparring.  James Kirby Rogers and Sarah Ryan also have a high enery almost martial arts style duet, and then Lucien Postelwaite and Leah Terada have a more flowing, smooth duet.  Check out all the videos on FB or IG. 

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I saw it twice. "Saw" isn't the right word.....more like "experienced" or "felt" or "swam in". My head exploded. Crystal Pite is a goddess of dance. I'd bet no company has done it better too (love to ask Crystal that -- one on one 😉)......the PNB dancers nailed it. All my life I've been a lover of nature and have, at times, immersed myself in it for months at a time. I never expected my 2 loves -- nature and ballet -- to join....but that's what Crystal does, lives, breathes. I'm buying the digital version today, and will likely watch it every night for the next 5 days!

Edited by SandyMcKean
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Wow, the Pite really was spectacular, monumental, moving.

What a feeling it must to have been to see it live.  

Edited to add one more thought:  I’ve watched a few times, and I just keep seeing Clara Ruf-Maldonado as Persephone and Amanda Morgan as Demeter.

Edited by tutu
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Who could forget Rachel Foster in the opening of Pite's Emergence when she was the larvae (or whatever) slowly and jerkily breaking out its chrysalis (or whatever).

Tutu, you're right!  I saw it twice in person and so far twice via streaming. Given the low level of lighting; subtly of parts of the music; Crystal's clear use of 3 dimensional space; and the energy in the audience, in person was magical. But never fear, they did a great job making the video too (and so nice that it was from opening night and not from the dress rehearsal).  BTW, at the Q&A after one of the performances I saw, one of the dancers (an apprentice) said that the entire company was so committed , and so working as a team, they KNEW they were going to "nail it". And they did!

P.S. My guess is that this performance was a break-out role for Amanda Morgen. She was more or less almost the only true solo part in the piece (literally for brief periods), and in those moments she created such drama and feeling it gave me shivers. She dominated the stage in a way I wonder if she has ever felt before (speculation on my part). I'd bet that in a few years when she gets her next promotion, this will be one of the roles mentioned.

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30 minutes ago, SandyMcKean said:

BTW, at the Q&A after one of the performances I saw, one of the dancers (an apprentice) said that the entire company was so committed , and so working as a team, they KNEW they were going to "nail it". And they did!

One of the things that struck me about the performance was that it seemed like a number of the principals were part of the organism, not performing solos or pas de deux, but were so wholly committed.  I’m not sure how many companies I can think of where that would be the case, so I’m struck by the level of teamwork and camaraderie at PNB — kudos to the leadership team for fostering that culture.

Edited by tutu
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On 11/21/2022 at 12:29 PM, tutu said:

One of the things that struck me about the performance was that it seemed like a number of the principals were part of the organism, not performing solos or pas de deux, but were so wholly committed.  I’m not sure how many companies I can think of where that would be the case, so I’m struck by the level of teamwork and camaraderie at PNB — kudos to the leadership team for fostering that culture.

And considering that it was first made for the Paris Opera Ballet, which is much more hierarchical in nature than many other companies, I find that sense of the group dynamic even more astonishing.

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