Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Season Opener: Director’s Choice

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Lucien Postlewaite with soloist Rachel Foster in Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort, presented as part of DIRECTOR’S CHOICE, Sept. 24 – Oct. 3, 2010.  Photo © Angela Sterling

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Lucien Postlewaite with soloist Rachel Foster in Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort, presented as part of DIRECTOR’S CHOICE, Sept. 24 – Oct. 3, 2010. Photo © Angela Sterling

Under the artistic direction of Peter Boal, the Pacific Northwest Ballet opened its 2010/11 season with an exhilarating ‘Director’s Choice’ program consisting of four remarkable compositions.  The evening began with two spectacular performances of modern/contemporary works from internationally recognized choreographer Jiri Kylian, Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze (Six Dances.) Following was Jardí Tancat, a spellbinding first work from Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato.  The incredible evening concluded with Glass Pieces, a masterpiece designed by world-renowned artist, Jerome Robbins.

As the lights dimmed, the red curtain rose, the audience silenced and became still.  Six men flawlessly positioned across the stage began to move with fencing foils producing melodic sounds throughout the theatre. Six women stood in the backdrop awaiting their cue. Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort is transcendental as the dancers display powerful lines with a taste of sensuality. Its sleek and sexy combinations of movement suspend the audience in breath-taking partner lifts and angular shapes.  Six couples move with perfect synchronicity creating a surreal sensation while two melancholy movements of Mozart’s piano concertos penetrate the walls of McCaw Hall.  Jiri Kylian described his piece as, “a world where nothing is sacred, where brutality and arbitrariness are commonplace.”  Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers interpreted this effortlessly and with as much passion as the choreographer exemplifies.

Jiri Kylian witty and extravagant piece Sechs Tänze (Six Dances) brings into play the music of Mozart.  This piece displays the humor in both choreographer and composer, alike.  The performance was mischievous and theatrical.  With a Shakespearian quality, the dancers became players, taking the audience back to 18th century where powdered faces, hair wigs and black exaggerated ball gowns commanded the stage.  Widely favored, PNB’s premiere of Sechs Tänze was entertainingly delicious.

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Ariana Lallone in Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat, presented as part of DIRECTOR’S CHOICE, Sept. 24 – Oct. 3, 2010.  Photo © Angela Sterling

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Ariana Lallone in Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat, presented as part of DIRECTOR’S CHOICE, Sept. 24 – Oct. 3, 2010. Photo © Angela Sterling

Passionate, powerful, and painfully poignant are just a few words to describe Jardí Tancat, a work of genius by Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato.  The soulful voice and composition of musical artist Maria Del Mar Bonet enthralls both audience and dancer to an unmitigated submission.  Three couples move with raw intensity exuding a sorrowful and deeply rooted exclamation of emotion, leaving nothing to secret.  Captivating and unrestricted, Nacho Duato’s choreography expresses the uniqueness and vulnerability of his heritage and personal identity, to which six extraordinary PNB dancers represent in an honest and incredibly commendable performance.

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s debut of Jerome Robbins’s Glass Pieces made its impressive and unprecedented mark for the season. Set to three musical scores by Phillip Glass, one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century, PNB’s company of dancers take the audience on a journey of poetic intrusion.  The rhythmic and structural pattern of choreography metaphorically translates the disposition of modern times.  From the colorful display of costumes, along with a backdrop of grid lines, the production delivers an electric and innovative presentation.  Eccentric yet penetrating, Glass Pieces captures the true essence of New York appealing to the Seattle stage.

Once again, Peter Boal demonstrates his brilliant direction embodied through the PNB dancers. From beginning to end, the execution of movement is impeccable, while the choreography is admirable and stunning to watch.  Pacific Northwest Ballet’s ‘Directors Choice’ program highlights some of the finest artistic creations to date.  Opening its season with such compelling performances, it is with great anticipation we embark on this classic yet modern expedition into the world of Ballet.

Review By: Amanda Calderon

Class Act Tutu Associate

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Pacific Northwest Ballet.

PNB’s Director’s Choice runs September 24-October 3, 2010.

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