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Tag Archives: Angela Sterling

  • 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.

  • In a Relationship!

    Huffington Post has an in-depth interview with Pacific Northwest Ballet's Artistic Director, Peter Boal and Principal Dancers, James Moore & Kaori Nakamura about Jean-Christophe Maillot's version of Roméo et Juliette.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancers James Moore & Kaori Nakamua in Jean-Christophe Maillot's Roméo et Juliette.       Photos: Angela Sterling

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  • Valentine’s Day with Seth Orza & Sarah Ricard Orza

    Seth Orza, Soloist and Sarah Ricard Orza, Corps de Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet.  Shown here in "Petit Mort".

    Seth

    Ah, Valentine’s Day! It’s the time of year when we shower our true love with tokens of affection, whether they be in the form of a box of chocolates, a gushy card, or a dozen roses (or all of the above!).

    In the dance world, Valentine’s Day can be especially wonderful as couples not only live, but oftentimes work, together. We decided to get an inside look at the blessings of Valentine’s Day through the eyes of the dancers themselves. First up is Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza of Pacific Northwest Ballet!

    Class Act: “How did you two meet?”
    Seth: “We met in New York at the School of American Ballet’s when we were both 13.”
    Sarah: “We met at the summer course. Then we got together and started dating seriously when we were both at the School of American Ballet for their year round program when we were 17. And we’ve been pretty much together ever since then. We’ve been together now for 12 years and married for 2 ½ years.”

    Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza shown here at SAB Summer Course, 1995 (Age 14). Seth & Sarah met at age 13.
    Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza shown here at SAB Summer Course, 1995 (Age 14). Seth & Sarah met at age 13.

    Class Act: “Congratulations, that’s wonderful! So what’s the best thing about being married to a fellow dancer?”
    Sarah: “Well, I think that the dance world is just so small and intimate; sometimes it’s hard to explain or even relate to people who aren’t in the world on a daily basis—what’s going on, or what the daily ups and downs are like. So, if I’m having a bad day, Seth already knows why and that’s good.”
    Seth: “We try to help each other out along the way through the pressures of ballet, performing, and all that.”
    Sarah: “Oh, and travelling. If we tour, it’s great. It’s really nice to have your loved one with you when you’re going to all those places.”

    Class Act: “How do you two plan to make this Valentine’s Day special?”
    Seth: “Well…” he says with a sly tone, “it’s kind of a surprise.”
    Class Act:(Laughing) “Oops! I don’t want to ruin anything!”
    Seth: “We try to do something special every Valentines day, but it’s hard after twelve years to do something different every time.”
    Sarah: “There was one year when I had the genius idea of getting chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva. So I got a dozen chocolate strawberries only to find that in the fridge at home, Seth had also gotten a dozen Godiva strawberries!” she laughs.
    Seth: “We had a lot of chocolate strawberries!” he chuckles.
    Class Act:“Great minds think alike! So, do you have any last words of advice for fellow dancers out there?”
    Seth: “It’s nice being in a relationship with a co-worker—or a dancer—and it does work out.”
    Sarah: “It’s definitely a balance, though. I mean, we’re together at work all the time and then at home all the time. So sometimes there’s days when one of us has to step back and take some space—be it at work or at home. You just find that balance with spending all of your time together.”

    Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza on their Wedding Day

    Seth

    Class Act: “Do you ever have a day when you really don’t want to be with the other person but you still have to work with them?”
    Seth/Sarah: “Oh no, never!” they laugh in unison.
    Seth: “Of course, but I think that happens in any relationship.”
    Sarah: “We have partnered together a lot, and that has challenges…”
    Seth: “Yeah, working together professionally…I mean, if she’s just around it’s one thing, but if we’re working together, it’s kind of hard sometimes.”
    Class Act:“Well thank you both so very much! I really appreciate you taking the time to do this and I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!”
    Sarah: “Thank you! You have a happy Valentines Day, too!”

    by Denise Opper, Media Relations Class Act Tutu & Vala Dancewear

    This post first appeared for Valentine's Day, 2010.

  • Angela Sterling: Ballet Photographer

    Leslie Rauch, Principal Pacific Northwest Ballet and Angela Sterling.  Lesilie is wearing Class Act's V Neck Bodice and Classical Tutu Skirt

    Leslie

    Check out this great video featuring dance photographer, Angela Sterling! Pay close attention to the clip because at approx. 3 mins, 50 seconds, you'll see Leslie Rausch, Principal Dancer, Pacific Northwest Ballet, wearing Class Act Tutu's V-Neck Tutu Bodice and Classical Tutu Skirt.

    And as a little side note, Angela provided the gorgeous photos you see here on Class Act Tutu as well as Vala Dancewear. {Pretty awesome, huh? ;) }

    Thank you, Angela for sharing your talents with the dance world!

  • Sightings: Behind the Scenes at PNB's photo shoot for Giselle

    Photo shoot for Pacific Northwest Ballet's Giselle

    Behind the scenes at PNB's Giselle photo shoot.  Photographer:  Angela Sterling.  Dancer/Model:  Amanda Clark.  Photo ©Phil Thompson.

    Behind

    Our timeless white Romantic Tutu skirt was used in this photo shoot done by Angela Sterling for Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Giselle.    Pacific Northwest Ballet's, Giselle runs June 3-12, 2011.

    Based entirely on the original material from 1841 coupled with all new staging by artistic director Peter Boal, PNB's Giselle is being heralded as a major World Premiere event.  Just think--for the first time ever, American audiences will experience this hauntingly beautiful tale in its original splendor! {How fabulous is that?!} Everyone here at Class Act Tutu is really looking forward to it.

    While its June Premiere is still several months away, we thought we would treat you with these lovely behind-the-scenes photos for PNB's Giselle.  Enjoy!

    Photographer:  Angela Sterling.  Dancer/Model:  Amanda Clark.  All photos ©Phil Thompson.

  • Review: Pacific Northwest Ballet's Coppelia

    Pacific Northwest Ballet's Coppélia  All photos © Angela Sterling

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    Pacific Northwest Ballet pulled out all the stops with their latest production of George Balanchine's, Coppelia.  This fantastic production features all new lavishly designed (read: gorgeous!) sets, to die for costumes, and of course the high-caliber artistry that PNB is world-famous for.

    Swanilda/Coppélia

    Saturday's matinee featured Lesley Rausch as Swanilda/Coppelia, Jerome Tisserand as Franz, and Olivier Wevers as Dr. Coppelius.  Right off the bat, I have to give serious applause to Rausch for her outstanding interpretation. She not only delighted everyone in the audience with her arrogance and saucy attitude, but she transported us into the heart of her character. Sure, Swanilda isn't the nicest of young ladies, but her love for Franz is evident, even when faced with the sting of rejection.
     

    Franz

    Jerome Tisserand's Franz was perfectly executed. Like Rausch, he had a way drawing me in, making me feel almost as fed up with Swanilda's antics as he was. His attitude was a perfect blend of inflated ego meets young playboy looking for love.  After discovering that his love interest is only a doll, one would expect Franz to act a bit more sheepish over his foolish behavior. (I mean, seriously!) However, Tisserand remains true to character and Franz casually glosses over that "minor faux pas" with a sudden profession of love for Swanilda, which of course, she accepts.

    Dr. Coppelius

     
    Olivier Wevers deserved the standing ovation he received for his performance as the highly eccentric, slightly creepy, Dr. Coppelius. How it is Wevers can pull such multi-faceted characters out of his back pocket is beyond me! His Dr. Coppelius was a thrilling "yin and yang"; an absent-minded and lonely old man, whose walking stick doubles as a handy weapon against "the wild hooligans" of the town. But underneath that "grumpy old man" veneer lurks a borderline-fiendish soul.

    Honorable Mentions

     
    Act three's splendid cast also deserves special mention. I was most impressed by Carrie Imler's "Dawn" and Sarah Ricard Orza's "Prayer". These dancers gave equally passionate and exquisite performances. Imler was a vision of dazzling sunlight--bright, confident and striking.  Ricard Orza danced "Like a fairy tale princess!" (to quote the little one sitting next to me) with her flowing port de bras and delicate phrasing. The action-packed "Discord and War" featured Batkhurel Bold and Lindsi Dec entering the stage like wild flashes of lightning dressed in silvery armor. As always, the power behind these two striking  dancers takes your breath away. Their amazing turns and leaps were all done whilst holding long spears--none of which whacked anyone else nor made kabobs out of their thighs. (An acrobatic feat of epic proportions, especially when you consider how clumsy the rest of is--read: yours truly!--would be in the same situation.)PNB's Coppelia is filled with good natured humor, an outstanding cast, and delicious imagery. If you haven't yet made your way to McCaw Hall to catch the "Happiest Ballet on Earth!", I would highly suggest that you do so. Like...today!

    Coppelia runs from June 3rd-13th. Tickets are available by visiting PNB.org.

     

    For those of you unable to attend, please enjoy our gallery of  Pacific Northwest Ballet's premiere production of Coppélia: Choreography by Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust (after Marius Petipa).

    All Photos © Angela Sterling

    For more stunning dance photos, visit  Angela Sterling Photography.


    By Denise Opper

  • Review: Pacific Northwest Ballet - All Balanchine

    The curtain rises on a formation of lithe ballerinas dressed in gauzy, icy blue. Silence fills the stage. Then suddenly the first notes of the orchestra begin and the dancers move in unison. As their right feet tendu out to second then close fifth, my heart skipped a beat and tears sprang to my eyes. This is Balanchine's Serenade. This is what ballet is all about.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Serenade, choreographed by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Angela Sterling

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    The crystalline nymphs (Laura Gilbreath, Ariana Lallone, Lesley Rausch) and their dashing suitors (Karel Cruz, William Lin-Yee) moved as if ushered along the wings of heaven itself. It was a truly magnificent display!

    While Serenade made me sigh in dreamy pleasure, act two's Square Dance left me grinning from ear to ear. This lively, kick-up-your-heels variation showcased the tantalizing partnership of dancers Rachel Foster and Benjamin Griffiths to perfection. Their artistic brilliance combined with their wide, infectious smiles was a hit with everyone in the audience.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Carrie Imler and Lucien Postlewaite with company dancers in Square Dance, choreographed by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Angela Sterling

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    Last but not least, was the third performance of the afternoon; The Four Temperaments. Now this was the one that left everyone cheering.

    The cast of dancers were absolutely amazing: Jordan Pacitti and Kylee Kitchens were riveting, and their exit was spectacular!

    Jonathan Poretta never ceases to amaze or gain new fans. The way he pulled out all the stops during his Melancholic variation left me craving for more.

    Then there was Seth Orza and Lesley Rausch's Sanguine Variation. As we all know, Seth's commanding presence is so captivating, it would be easy for him to unintentionally outshine his partner. Let's face it; he's that freaking good. But Rausch held her ground and gave an outstanding performance of her own. Bravo!

    Olivier Wevers and his fellow "Phlegmatics" were carefree, charming and delightful. I loved the look of the bent wrists, and how they took on a playful "primping Egyptian" feel.  Yet the real show-stopper was the fourth and final variation: Lindsi Dec's "Choleric". This young soloist attacked her role with such fervor and precision that it left me breathless. She shot out of the wings like a supernova, lighting up the stage like it was nobody's business. Her lines--those quintessential Balanchine lines--were nothing short of gorgeous.  It felt as if everything else had been purposely leading up to her entrance; the grandest of grand finales.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet corps de ballet dancers Laura Gilbreath and William Lin-Yee in The Four Temperaments, choreographed by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Angela Sterling

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    Throughout the entire performance, the dancer's faces were radiant with joy. Their bodies propelled and guided by a consuming inner fire; a fire that burns hottest when a dancer is in his/her element. Indeed, Balanchine is that element.

    Don't miss your chance to see Pacific Northwest Ballet's All Balanchine. Tickets available by visiting PNB.org.

  • Review: Pacific Northwest Ballet's 3 By Dove

    My first "Dove" experience this past Saturday greatly exceeded all my expectations. (And when it comes to Pacific Northwest Ballet, those expectations are already high!)

    Not only was the dancing superb but the energy, the emotion, the raw edgy element that pulsated throughout the entire performance was, in a word, spectacular.

    In 3 By Dove (+ 1 By Quijada), PNB takes on three unique works by the late Ulysses S. Dove--Vespers, Red Angels, and Serious Pleasures; plus a commissioned piece created by Victor Quijada titled, Suspension of Disbelief. The result is a fiery, hypnotic blend of movement coupled with elegant lines and feverish energy.

    Vespers

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Carrie Imler and soloist Lindsi Dec in Ulysses Dove’s Vespers.  Photo © Angela Sterling.

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    In Vespers, Dove pays homage to his grandmother and the small wooden building where she met with other ladies to pray. The cast is comprised of six female dancers dressed in long black skirts. The dancers alternately sit and stand on, step off, and whirl around a row of wooden chairs with punctuated staccato rhythm and dizzying pace. While a necessary prop, the chairs also seem to provide a visual anchor for these "praying ladies", keeping them earthbound amidst their heavenly communion.

    Red Angels

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Ariana Lallone and Olivier Wevers in Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels. Photo © Angela Sterling.

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    While Vespers provided a good first inning, Red Angels knocked the proverbial ball out of the park. The talented quartet of dancers: Laura Gilbreath, Carrie Imler, Seth Orza and Jordan Pacitti paired with electric violinist extraordinaire, Mary Rowell grabbed the audience's attention and held onto it like a vice grip.

    The dancers clad in gleaming red unitards, performed with a fierce inner fire. These "celestial beings" exuded all the athleticism, drama and sauciness I've come to expect from the likes of PNB.

    Gilbreath's performance was vivacious and filled with a contagious exuberance. Imler's interpretation was clean, deliberate--perfect. But when it comes to articulating the bridled power exhibited by both Orza and Pacitti...well, let's just say there aren't enough adjectives to describe its splendor! The pair was nothing short of outstanding.  (In fact, I'm still in awe over Pacitti's balance in arabesque!)

    Suspension of Disbelief

     

     

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Jonathan Porretta in Victor Quijada’s Suspension of Disbelief.  Photo © Angela Sterling.

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    Suspension of Disbelief is a heady mix of intense, slow motion hip hop-esque moves melting into a balletic fondue. Eleven dancers rise and fall against one another; pushing, pulling, catching, falling, bouncing, rolling. The piece felt hauntingly reminiscent of sea foam as it rises and breaks along the waves of the ocean. Notable mentions include Lucien Postlewaite's gorgeous fluidity combined with Olivier Wevers' commanding strength in a poetic pas de deux; Lindsi Dec's leggy extensions and impeccable control; to finally Chalnessa Eames' stubborn, sexy quality wrapped up in a petite package.

    Serious Pleasures

    Last but not least was Serious Pleasures. Now this is the work everyone will be talking about for many seasons to come! Set against a backdrop of what resembled a barely lit department store changing room with mounted sets of parallel bars in between each shuttered door, Serious Pleasures is wrought with carnal satisfaction and devastation. Each of the nine dancers--Jonathan Porretta, Chalnessa Eames, Rachel Foster, Kylee Kitchens, Sarah Ricard Orza, Barry Kerollis, Jermome Tisserand, Benjamin Griffiths and Seth Orza--showcased their talents in a steamy, uninhibited performance filled with plenty of hair tossing and pulsating hip action.

    I found the lighting to be especially impressive, as the majority of the piece was cast in gorgeous silhouette. Later, the lighting provided a provocative adult nightclub effect as the women danced erotically behind their closed "changing room" doors. Additional performance highlights include an exquisite candle lit pas de deux between Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza, and Jonathan Porretta's portrayal of a man torn between craving what is morally right vs. succumbing to the gutturally instinctual.

    With 3 By Dove (+1 by Quijada), Pacific Northwest Ballet has successfully raised the bar of artistic excellence and cultural relevance. Somewhere in the heavens above, Mr. Dove is looking down and smiling...

    by Denise Opper, Media Relations Class Act Tutu & Vala Dancewear

    All photos © Angela Sterling.

    3 by Dove continues March 25-28 at McCaw Hall, Seattle.  Tickets Pacific Northwest Ballet.

     

     

     

  • Love, Passion and Dedication: Olivier Wevers & Lucien Postlewaite

    Just like Valentine's Day, the dance world is all about love, passion and dedication. From the gorgeous costumes to the sumptuous sets, to the swelling orchestral music to the supreme dedication to one's craft, everything is cloaked and bejeweled in love.

    In our first Valentine's Day segment, we chatted with the talented Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza of Pacific Northwest Ballet. Next up in our special Valentine's Day feature, we'll chat with PNB principal dancer (and Whim W'him Artistic Director), Olivier Wevers about his marriage to fellow PNB principal, Lucien Postlewaite.

    Olivier and Lucien met while working at PNB. The couple later tied the knot in Santa Cruz, CA on November 2nd, 2008.

    Lucien Postlewaite & Olivier Wevers  Wedding Day, November 2, 2008

    Lucien

    Like other dance marriages, this handsome couple doesn't have to deal with the stress of trying to balance a career with spending quality time with their spouse. "Our schedule is pretty similar, which helps with spending time together," says Olivier.

    Additionally, Wevers cherishes the many emotional benefits a relationship with a fellow dancer brings. "We understand and support each other, and know when the other needs a little support or criticism. It {the dance world} is a very mental world...it plays with your insecurities and your mind. Having a spouse that deals with similar issues really helps. Also, we push each other as artists. We have both the same set of values, and help each other identify what our priorities are!"

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Olivier Wevers as the evil Carabosse, and principal dancer Carla Körbes as the Lilac Fairy in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty.  Photo © Angela Sterling.

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    This Valentine's Day, Olivier will be up to his eyebrows in "Work, work, work!" However, the pair does have a quiet, relaxing getaway planned. "On Sunday, I will be performing a Duke in the Sleeping Beauty with PNB at 1pm, and then driving like a mad man to get to Bellevue. FRAGMENTS is being performed at 3pm at the Meydenbauer center. {This is for Whim W'him, Olivier's new company.} Then after that, I am meeting with a videographer to get the DVD ready from the 3Seasons to send to presenters, Directors, etc. So quite a busy day, but finishing with packing for beach, sun and margaritas! (We're) leaving for Mexico for a week without a computer or cell phone!"

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Lucien Postlewaite and Kaori Nakamura as Prince Florimund and Princess Aurora in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty.  Photo © Angela Sterling.

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    Now that sounds like my kind of holiday!

    You can catch Olivier and Lucien performing at McCaw Hall this week in Pacific Northwest Ballet's, The Sleeping Beauty . More information about upcoming encore performances for Whim W'him can be found by visiting WhimW'Him's website.

  • Review: Pacific Northwest Ballet's Sleeping Beauty

    What a gorgeous evening! There are simply not enough adjectives to describe the splendor of Pacific Northwest Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty.  This outstanding company of dancers whisks its audience deep into the heart of this beloved fairy tale, thrilling and delighting both young and old alike.
    The scenery and costumes  designed by Peter Docherty are lush, vibrant and visually delicious. Enchanted foliage moves to ensconce the royal castle. Costumes shimmer and sparkle with life of their own. Aurora's bower is delicately ornate and enveloped in a golden beam of light.

    The Christening

    The opening Christening Scene exceeded all expectations. Otto Neubert (King Florimund) and Victoria McFall (the Queen) are poised experts of their craft. Their characterization is well-established and believable.
    The seven enchanted fairies and their cavaliers were dazzlingly  in sync. The Cavaliers, with their impressive turns and jumps, were thrilling to watch. The fairies were perfectly cast, each bringing their own unique style and interpretation to the role. Most memorable solos include Lindsi Dec's (Fairy of Wit) spunky finger pointing and skillful pointe work, and Chalnessa Eames' (Fairy of Generosity) charming, slightly coquettish performance.

    The Lilac Fairy

    Carrie Imler's  interpretation was not only masterful, but exhibited a profound sense of strength under control. I got the distinct impression that Lilac could've really given old Carabosse a swift kick in the skirt, but chose not to because that wouldn't be very ladylike. Their relationship seems tethered by a delicate wisp of a truce; "I will only allow you to go so far," Lilac's penetrating gaze warns.
    Imler's port de bras were gorgeous and fluid; her grace extending all the way through her fingertips. Her expressions were soft but commanding; her movement precise yet poetic. Imler's Lilac seemed to care deeply about all those within her domain, and their allegiance to her was not without cause.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Carla Körbes as the Lilac Fairy with her attendants, puts the kingdom under a sleeping spell in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty.  Photo © Angela Sterling.

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    Carabosse

    Jonathan Poretta's portrayal of this devilish fairy was dramatic, powerful and just plain fun. Everything from his grand, swooping entrance accompanied by the sound of crashing cymbals and stark flashes of light, to the fiendish ways in which he lashes out over not being invited to the celebration was absolutely superb! Carabosse may be profoundly wicked, but she is still no match for the Lilac Fairy's power. One moment, Carabosse is whirling feverishly about, her cackling laughter almost audible. The next, she is cowering on the floor under Lilac's quietly dominating presence.  I was almost sorry she was stabbed to death by the heroic Prince in the end.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Olivier Wevers as the evil Carabosse, and principal dancer Carla Körbes as the Lilac Fairy in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty.  Photo © Angela Sterling.

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    Princess Aurora

    With her delicate phrasing and uncanny ability to channel the emotions of a sixteen year old Princess, Mara Vinson has secured her place as a legendary ballerina. During the famous Rose Adagio, Vinson was unfathomably brilliant. Her balance was spot-on as she greeted each of the four Dukes; her supple back hinted of the beautiful woman our heroine is to become, and her developpes unfurled toward the sky. Last but not least, those fantastic poissons (fish dives)with the Dukes and later, the Prince, were nothing short of extraordinary. Indeed, Vinson's performance left many viewers gasping with excitement.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Mara Vinson as Aurora, with company dancers in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty.  Photo © Angela Sterling.

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    The Prince

    Yet where would our lovely heroine be without her handsome Prince? Seth Orza proved his mettle by meeting the challenges of this highly demanding ballet. Orza starts out as a dashing, slightly aloof young man who quickly becomes enraptured by the girl of his dreams (literally). He begs the Lilac Fairy to show him where she can be found, a request which the benevolent fairy is only too happy to oblige. Orza's characterization is rich and articulate; his strength and power--sheer bliss. When he finally kills the wicked Carabosse then leans in to kiss his beloved Aurora, you have to literally stop yourself from cheering.

    The Wedding

    The third act of this ballet is filled with some of the most well-known and cherished variations. The Gold and Silver Pas de Trois, featuring Lindsi Dec, Andrew Bartee and Lucien Postlewaite was refreshing, effortless and commanding. I was duly impressed with how well Dec's strength and beautiful lines held their own against Bartee's and Postlewaite's esteemed technical prowess and bold execution.
    The Bluebirds (Rachel Foster and Benjamin Griffiths) were absolutely stunning.  Griffiths shined with his jaw-dropping leaps and jumps, while Foster's fluttering movements provided a sense of harmony and balance.
    Red Riding Hood and the Wolf (Abby Relic and Jerome Tisserand) was mildly sinister yet extremely charming. I heard more than a few giggles emanating from the children in attendance.
    However, it was the humorous dance between Puss in Boots (Jordan Pacitti) and the White Cat (Sarah Ricard Orza) that really got the audience's attention.  This talented duo made the most convincing pair of sparring felines imaginable. Pacitti was the ever-determined suitor vying for Ricard Orza's finicky feline affections; Ricard Orza transformed herself into the most feisty little kitty cat, holding Pacitti at arm's--or claw's--length. After multiple strikeouts, Pacitti finally decides to give Ricard Orza the gift no kitty in her right mind can resist; a tasty mouse!

    Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Seth Orza and principal dancer Mara Vinson as Prince Florimund and Princess Aurora in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty.  Photo © Angela Sterling

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    Conclusion

    By taking on this technically demanding ballet and performing with aplomb, Pacific Northwest Ballet has once again proven itself worthy of the highest of accolades. The dancers enamored the audience with their incandescent performance and spawned a new generation of wistful Auroras!

    by Denise Opper, Media Relations Class Act Tutu & Vala Dancewear

    All photos © Angela Sterling

    Pacific Northwest Ballet performs Ronal Hynd's The Sleeping Beauty

    February 4 - 14, 2010

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