Nutcracker 2017: Never Old

In December 2014, Pacific Northwest Ballet rolled out its new Nutcracker – Balanchine’s version, complete with animated films. This new Nutcracker was four years in planning for PNB, and it boasts the familiar (Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, lots of stellar dancing, lots of small children, Act II variations) and the new (an adult-only Clara, new costumes…

Ballet in Cuba

Alicia Alonso’s Ballet Nacional de Cuba in performance is one of the must-sees in any Havana tour. I attended a conference in Cuba in November, which allowed me to see not only her company at the magnificent Gran Teatro de La Habana, but also that of Roberto Chorens and her daughter Laura’s Ballet “Laura Alonso,”…

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Her-Story

November typically brings a mixed bill for the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It is also when the dancers graciously donate their salary from the opening night performance to Second Stage, PNB’s career transition support program for the company. The previous year, the mixed program featured Twyla Tharp’s Brief Fling, performed to live music, Jiri Kylian’s haunting…

A New Season for Pacific Northwest Ballet

Pacific Northwest Ballet opened its 2017-2018 season with the full production of George Balanchine’s Jewels. To celebrate the new season and this ballet (which first premiered 50 years earlier, on April 13, 1967), Jerome Kaplan produced new costumes (with newly-fashioned tiaras) and scenic design (for example, for Diamonds, the chandelier is replaced by an upstage…

Roberto Bolle and Friends

Italian ballet superstar Roberto Bolle is a global sensation, as evidenced by his “Roberto Bolle and Friends” at the Florence Opera House this summer. Those friends included Taras Domitro of the San Francisco Ballet, Melissa Hamilton of the Royal Ballet in London, Misa Kuranaga of the Boston Ballet, Danil Simkin of American Ballet Theatre, Polina…

Brava! Bravissima! PNB’s sparkling Jessika Anspach

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Jessika Anspach took her final bow on the Seattle Opera House stage last June. The longtime PNB dancer enjoyed 12 years in the Company, and 14 years in the School before then. I first encountered Jessika during the writing of the second edition of Finding Balance. The book features images of a teenage…

Whim W’Him/IN-spired

Whim W’Him/IN-spired/January, 2016/Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center There’s much about Whim W’Him’s winter program, besides the name, that is In-spired. The choreographers, the choreography, the dancers’ intriguing ensemble of five men (Kyle Johnson, Jim Kent, Patrick Kilbane, Thomas Phelan, Justin Reiter) and two women (Mia Monteabaro and Tory Peil), the artistic director, the performing space,…

The exquisite Jean-Christophe Maillot Romeo et Juliette

Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo et Juliette offers roles that challenge even the most brilliant of dancers. In PNB’s winter program, featured dancers Noelani Pantastico, Lesley Rausch and Jerome Tisserand, Laura Tisserand, Seth Orza, Jonathan Porretta, Margeret Mullin, others – met that challenge. Could they be transcendent? (Yes, is the short answer. Read on.) So powerful in…