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  • Urban Nutcracker

    We are sharing this fun post from Dustin Todd Rennells that talks about creating all new costumes for Tony Williams', Urban Nutcracker.  Enjoy!

    by Dustin Todd Rennells

    Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography

    This was one of my favorite overall projects to do for Urban Nutcracker. This tutu came to us at a great price from Class Act Tutu when I begged for a good price for our amazing show. It came naked just wine and black. Through the help of numerous volunteers all the gold window panes and sequined borders were sewn on and tacked down. First is Katrina Gould as Sugar with her backup of Sugar Plum Attendants in several beautiful images by RavenWolfe Photography. Next is my original drawing of the piece that I had envisioned. This is most likely the closest to my original idea. Lastly is the tutu we had used for 6+ years. Definitely a new concept here! Sugar embodies the city of Boston, wine/brick red like the buildings with glowing lights of a city during the holidays. Thanks to Anita Handy-Velasquez, Amanda Lapham, Yara Figueroa, Molly Mclaughlin-Drubin and Judith Alvarez for their additional work to this costume and headpiece. Based on original drawings by Rebecca Cross.

    Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography
    Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker    Photo: RavenWolfe Photography

     

    Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker    Photo: RavenWolfe Photography

     

    Concept for Urban Nutcracker's Sugarplum by Dustin Todd Rennells. Concept for Urban Nutcracker's Sugarplum by Dustin Todd Rennells.
  • Reset

    We are so thrilled with how this custom costume turned out. This leotard/saucer tutu was created for Reset. Reset was choreographed by Justin Allen for a contemporary solo by Sarah Lapointe at the 2015  YoungArts Miami performance.

    Sarah is a student at The Rock School for Dance Education.  All Photos, ©Vikki Sloviter Photography.

    Sarah Lapointe, ©Vikki Sloviter Photography Sarah Lapointe, ©Vikki Sloviter Photography

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet's 'Jewels' Shines Brighter Than Ever

    Friday night's opening of Pacific Northwest Ballet's 'Jewels' can be best summed up in two words: Hot DAYYUMM!

    With its yummy port de bras and insane amount of bourrées, Emeralds did not disappoint! I loved every moment of this piece, from Elizabeth Murphy's gorgeous lines to Lindsi Dec's stunning pointe work. (I honestly don't think she was on flat for more than 45 seconds...or so it seemed. *Amazing*)

    For all the serenity Emeralds brought me, PNB shot my happy factor through the roof with Rubies. Seriously folks...that number was to die for! Leta Biasucci, Laura Tisserand and Jonathan Porretta were nothing short of phenomenal. My cheeks hurt from smiling *this big* the whole time, and my hands felt nearly raw from all the applause. Mr. Porretta never (ever) fails to impress, and the promoted-to-soloist-just-before-curtain Biasucci was a petite force of nature. I loved the chemistry between these two. They looked as though they were having the time of their lives up there. The ever-gorgeous Tisserand - with legs to her chin and sassy "come hither" stare - completely dominated the stage as the "Tall Girl". (Can I see more of these three, Mr. Boal? Thanks!)

    Diamonds provided the glittering cherry atop this brilliantly decadent feast. Carla Korbes and Batkhurel Bold danced with all the poise and benevolence of royalty. (Side note: You could've heard a pin drop the second they entered the stage! It was as if the audience knew they were about to witness something magical.) Their dancing nearly brought me to tears - it was THAT beautiful, folks. As we all know, Carla is known for her delicate phrasing and supreme presence. This woman commands and holds your attention like no other! But when paired together with Batkhurel Bold's quiet strength - yes. Magic indeed.

    The standing ovation that night was very much deserved. Bravo, PNB...bravo!

    For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit PNB.org

     

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty Returns Better Than Ever

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Kaori Nakamura as Princess Aurora in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty. Nakamura is one of four dancers performing the lead role in PNB’s presentation of the classic story ballet, running January 31 – February 9, 2014. Photo © Angela Sterling.

    Pacific

    Lavish storybook sets, decadent costumes and gorgeous dancing provide the stunning backdrop to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’.

    Kaori Nakamura and Seth Orza brought the house to its feet in a standing ovation during Friday’s opening as Princess Aurora and her beloved Prince Florimund. Their technique was amazing, and the way they looked at each other? Hello! Talk about your fairytale romances! I loved how the two of them can take a character, even one as well known as Aurora and Florimund, and make them their own. Orza is just one of those dancers you love to watch…over ‘n over again. I’ve yet to see an “off” performance from him or one where I wasn’t fully enraptured with his character. He *IS* the Prince…every time, all the time.

    I was also highly impressed by how quickly Nakamura went from bubby teenage Princess in Act I, to delicately composed bride in Act III. While this electrifying ballerina recently announced her plans to retire at the end of the season, her performance proved that she still has what it takes to rock the ballet world for many years to come.

    Jonathan Poretta provided a breath of comedy (as well as a serious hint of creepy!) as the wicked fairy, Carabosse. I loved how he’d peek out from under his “hag hoodie” and how the strobe lights would “flash” whenever he (she?) flew through the air. (Mmmwwa ha ha haaa!) In fact, I was almost sad when he died at Florimund’s hand (just before that glorious kiss), but as we all know, good always triumphs over evil especially in fairy tales.

    Laura Tisserand’s Lilac Fairy was one of the best I’ve ever seen. The depth of her storytelling ability seems every bit as endless and beautiful as her extension (which is really saying something, folks!). Everything she does is just incredible.

    The king and queen (Otto Neubert and Maria Chapman) plead with the wicked fairy Carabosse (Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Jonathan Porretta) in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty. Photo © Angela Sterling.

    The

    And speaking of incredible, Act III’s Gold and Silver Pas de Trois (featuring Lindsi Dec, Andrew Bartee and Jerome Tisserand) was nothing short of jaw-dropping. Bartee has really come into his own as an artist (can’t wait to see more from him!), while Tisserand almost oozes with delicious charisma. Dec’s thousand-watt smile and clean technique shined brighter than any diamond, easily re-solidifying her place as an audience favorite.

    Just before the show, Artistic Director Peter Boal announced five (!!) well deserved company promotions: Elizabeth Murphy, Margaret Mullin and William Lin-Yee were officially recognized as soloists, while Lindsi Dec and Laura Tisserand were bestowed the title of Principal. Talk about putting a big, luscious cherry on top of a fantastic opening night!

    The Sleeping Beauty runs through February 9th. Tickets available at PNB.org.

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet's Apollo & Carmina Burana is Heaven on Earth

    Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Sarah Ricard Orza and principal dancer Batkhurel Bold in Apollo, choreographed by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific

    On Saturday evening, Pacific Northwest Ballet pulled out all the stops and delivered one of their most riveting double-features this season.

    Balanchine's Apollo featured principal dancer, Batkhurel Bold in the title role. As the curtain rose on the handsome deity (poised ever so gallantly with his lyre, eyes cast toward heaven), Bold exuded an air of quiet confidence. His dancing felt reflective, deliberate, even dare I say? – more mature than other Apollos I’ve seen. But let’s not confuse maturity with boring. While Bold certainly lacked the open arrogance that so often permeates this role, he could not be accused of lacking the necessary charisma to bring the character to fruition. His interpretation left a fresh stamp of ingenuity to what could have easily been seen as, “the same ol’ Apollo”.

    Dancing alongside the young god were the three beautiful muses, Terpsichore (Sarah Ricard Orza), Calliope (Maria Chapman), and Polyhymnia (Lesley Rausch). While both Chapman and Rausch were dazzling to look upon and almost threatened to steal the show right out from under our dear Apollo, the beguiling Sarah Ricard Orza actually managed to do just that – in spades. Her interpretation of Terpsichore was so moving, so genuine, so gorgeous…it gave me chills. (It’s no wonder Apollo was already so mature from the get-go with a breathtaking muse like that to impress!)

    But for all of Apollo’s strengths – which were many, they paled just slightly next to the colossal masterpiece known as Carmina Burana.

    In this dramatic second act, the combination of sight and sound was fantastic. Ming Cho Lee’s gigantic golden Wheel of Fortune acts as an impressive - albeit slightly imposing – canopy, suspended high above the menagerie of dancers. In Primo Vere, peasant girl Kaori Nakamura burst from the wings like a dazzling sunbeam, while her gallant partner, James Moore was equally dynamic with his radiant smile and tireless energy.

    Cour d’Amour featuring Maria Chapman and Karel Cruz was filled with all the lovely nuances that make ballet great. Their sweeping lyrical movements were a perfect mix of grace, technical prowess, and bridled strength. I especially loved how Cruz seemed to hang in the air with each jump and turn, while Chapman used her innate charm to draw all eyes toward herself like a beloved queen.

    Acclaimed set designer Ming Cho Lee's colossal twenty-six-foot golden wheel shares the stage with the Seattle Choral Company and Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Kent Stowell’s Carmina Burana. Photo © Angela Sterling

    Acclaimed

    Yet for all the beauty of these two movements, the real show stopper was In Taberna featuring Lindsi Dec, and she.was.phenomenal! Dressed in a fiery Arabian-esque ensemble, she was the embodiment of lust and temptation. As she sashayed across the stage, this gorgeous vixen used the beauty God gave her (with the devil’s design) to her advantage at every turn. Her dancing was electrifying, commanding and straight-up awesome.

    One of Dec’s unwitting admirers (victims?) was Benjamin Griffiths. His portrayal of a tortured soul caught between heaven’s forgiveness and hell’s fury was beyond awesome. Not only can this man jump like it’s no one’s business, but he can cultivate a character that has more facets and depth than I ever thought possible. Bravo!

    The spectacular vocal backdrop provided by the Seattle Choral Company, along with the solo tenor (Marcus Shelton), baritone (Michael Anthony McGee) and soprano (Christina Siemens), rivaled the angels themselves. Their pitch-perfect delivery carried the performance along from start to glorious finish.

    Get your tickets to Pacific Northwest Ballet's Apollo and Carmina Burana at PNB.org or by calling 206-441-2424.

  • ABT's Paloma Herrera on Fox News

    palomaherrera"A-list" ballerina, Paloma Herrera shares what it truly takes to be a top ballerina - sans Hollywood myth and drama!

    “It’s not just a performance and that’s it, there’s a lot behind it, and you’ll see that if you come to rehearsal and see the dancers in performance clothes. Also, we are completely normal people – but there’s the combination of being completely normal people and all the dedication that goes into it, all of the effort, all of the hours, and all of the time – since we were very little,” she explains.

    Read more here.

  • (and not to be outdone) Another Ballet Record Is Shattered!

    Photo credit: Jon Budeker / Orlando Sentinel

    Photo

    On Sunday, 245 dancers broke last year's world record for the most dancers en pointe! Last year, 230 dancers made headlines in New York's Central Park; this year's attempt took place at Florida's Orange County Convention Center.

    "One, two, three…UP!," an announcer told the group. For next one minute, a silenced crowd watched as the group, made up of mostly girls and women, with a few guys sprinkled in, kept their legs moving to sustain balance." - Orlando Sentinel Check out the video clip, folks! It's awesome! ;)

  • Ethan Stiefel & Gillian Murphy to Wed

    Photo credit: James Whitehill

    Photo

    Okay, ladies...get ready to swoon! During American Ballet Theatre's gala this past Monday evening, Ethan Stiefel got down on bended knee and proposed to his long-time lady love, Gillian Murphy! {Psst... she said YES!}

    We think this photo says it all, don't you? ;) Congratulations, you two crazy love birds!

  • Bunheads Shatter World's Largest Ballet Class Record

    balletclassrecordA total of 1,359 ballet dancers invaded the State Library of Queensland to challenge the Guinness World Record for the largest ballet class! The previous record was set in Hannover, Germany by 1,055 dancers. The event was organized by Queensland Ballet Company and is awaiting official verification from the "powers that be". ;) But take a look at the photos - they are quite impressive!

    Read all about this incredible feat here.

  • Ceremony Honors America's 1st "Little Known" Giselle

    lee-mary-ann-headstone-mcdevWith all the hubbub surrounding Pacific Northwest Ballet's upcoming production of Giselle, we found this next story extremely apropos! Check this out...

    "It took more than a hundred years, but “America’s first ballerina” now has a gravestone. A ceremony was held today at Laurel Hill Cemetery, in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, honoring Mary Ann Lee. Her legacy dances on today, but not too many people know who Mary Ann Lee was, or the important role she had in the arts dating back to the 1840s. She was born and raised in Philadelphia, performed as a ballerina in Paris, and brought three ballets to America — the most famous being “Giselle.” Click here to read the remainder of the article. To learn more about Mary Ann Lee, click here. :)

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