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Tag Archives: Carla Korbes

  • The Romantic Tutu Skirt

    While ballet tutus can take on many forms, when most people hear the word “tutu” they envision the ethereal Romantic style tutu skirt.  In honor of its timeless beauty, we would like to take a moment and share a little bit about this classic tutu style.

    The Romantic Era of Ballet

    The Romantic Tutu made its debut during the early to mid-19th century, a time in which “romanticism” in art and literature held great influence over the creation of new ballets. By many historical accounts, the Romantic period is considered to have begun with the 1827 Paris debut of La Sylphide where the Romantic Tutu skirt was first worn by Marie Taglioni.

    Marie Taglioni, La Sylphide wearing the first Romantic Tutu Marie Taglioni, La Sylphide wearing the first Romantic Tutu

    Many of these Romantic Ballet stories told tales of conflict between man and nature, society and the supernatural.  This era put the ballerina center stage “floating” on the tip of a toe in the forms of sylphs (La Sylphide), wilis (Giselle), and other ghostly spirits—who enslaved the hearts and senses of mortal men.

    Carlotta Grisi, 1841 as Giselle Carlotta Grisi, 1841 as Giselle

    The Romantic Tutu Skirt

    Due to this marked supernatural influence, the second act of these Romantic ballets (representing the spirit realm) began to be called the “white act” or “ballet-blanc”.  The corresponding costume was an elegant white skirt made of layers upon layers of tulle (fine netting). This other-worldy white skirt was what we’ve come to know as the Romantic Tutu Skirt.  This ghostly vision was enhanced with new developments in theater effects such as gas lighting (that could be dimmed), posing en pointe, and the use of wires to make dancers “fly”.

    What is a Romantic Tutu Skirt?

    Romantic Tutus are long, floating and ethereal.  They are usually 3-5 layers of soft tulle.  These soft layers can begin at the waist (Romantic Tutu) or fall from the high hip for a dropped waist look (Romantic Tutu with Basque).

    At Class Act Tutu, we LOVE romantic tutu skirts.  From the famous classic white to today’s vivid, colorful layers, we have the skill and ingenuity to create the tutu of your dreams!  We encourage you to put one on and get busy enslaving hearts!

    From Vail International Dance Festival, International Festival of Dance II, Giselle, August 4, 2012.  From Vail International Dance Festival, International Festival of Dance II, Giselle, August 4, 2012.
  • Review: Pacific Northwest Ballet's All Wheeldon

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Carla Körbes and Seth Orza in Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance), presented as part of PNB’s season-opener, ALL WHEELDON, September 23 – October 2, 2011.  Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific

    Pacific Northwest Ballet opened its 2011-12 season with an outstanding production featuring four works from highly acclaimed dancer/choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon.

    I admit, I had high expectations for this production; first -  because I adore Wheeldon's work and second - I get a huge kick out of his accent. (Yes, I'm that superficial.) As always, the PNB dancers didn't let me down.

    The first piece of the night was Carousel (A Dance). Principal dancers, Seth Orza and Carla Korbes performed the lead pas de deux with stunning emotional intensity. Though not "in your face" passionate, their tender connection was undoubtedly arresting and satisfying.

    Not to be outdone, I also found soloist Benjamin Griffiths and corps de ballet members Kiyon Gaines and Ezra Thomson performances to be strong stand outs as well. Griffiths has such a beautiful quality to him (while his smile just lights up the stage);  Gaines' is big, powerful and yet moves with the grace of a sylph, and Thomson seems to be growing by leaps and bounds in terms of confidence, "voice" and artistic depth.

    After The Rain pas de deux featured soloist, James Moore with newly appointed principal, Rachel Foster, and is one of those pieces that you have to see to understand. It is beauty in its purest form. The fluidity, flexibility and extreme control executed by these two gorgeous dancers was just spectacular.

    While I've seen Moore perform numerous times, I was taken aback by just how "lovely" he is. His port de bras were amazing and the way he partnered the tiny Foster felt so protective, passionate and downright yummy. Foster was absolutely spellbinding as always. She's just one of those dancers I never tire of watching.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet soloists Rachel Foster and James Moore in Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux, presented as part of PNB’s season-opener, ALL WHEELDON, September 23 – October 2, 2011.  Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific

    The third piece of the night was Polyphonia which, I must admit, was the most difficult to enjoy. Not because of the dancers - oh no! - but rather because of some of the musical interludes, which were an assault to one's sense of order and balance.  Yet in spite of all this, Wheeldon (who must be part time super hero or something), managed to wrap this chaotic dervish in glittering paper and top it off with a shiny bow.

    Taking center stage again was soloist, Benjamin Griffiths along with principal dancer, Lucien Postlewaite in a dazzling pas de deux which smacked of male competitiveness with a hit of "coquettish" thrown in for spice, and soloist Sarah Ricard Orza and corps de ballet member, Jerome Tisserand in their own breathtaking pas de deux. These two have such a "quietly dynamic" sense of artistry that can, unfortunately, be overshadowed by their more dramatic peers. Therefore, it was great to see them paired together like that. Bravo!

    The final piece of the evening was Variations Serieuses, which is a laugh out loud parody of the dance world. The characters - prima (diva) ballerina, premiere danseur, pianist, stage manager, ballet master, conductor - are all played to the exaggerated, comedic hilt. Carrie Imler shined like a brilliant diamond as the spoiled, entirely-too-full-of-herself prima ballerina who is soon ousted out of the spotlight (due to injury) by the lovely ingénu, Sarah Ricard Orza, waiting sweetly in the wings.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Christopher Wheeldon’s Variations Sérieuses, presented as part of PNB’s season-opener, ALL WHEELDON, September 23 – October 2, 2011. Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific

    This piece was the perfect follow up to the previous more intense acts. Again, the PNB dancers surpassed all expectations and bestowed a fantastic treat upon the entire audience. Kiyon Gaines' performance as the Ballet Master was freaking hysterical as was soloist, Lindsi Dec's butt-scratching, soda (beer?) swigging Stage Manager.

    To sum things up - All Wheeldon is all class and sass! It's a must-see and a glorious beginning to what looks to be an extraordinary new season.

    This is the final weekend to catch All Wheeldon. For tickets, please visit PNB.org.

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Midsummer is a Dream Come True

    Attending Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will go down as one of the best experiences of my life. Up until that moment, I had only seen the company’s DVD version, which is wonderful by the way, but clearly not the same. And while I say this about nearly every PNB performance (I can’t help it; I’ve been a die-hard fan since I was a kid), I haven’t been this swept away by a ballet since PNB’s Romeo et Juliette.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet corps de ballet dancer Kiyon Gaines as Bottom and principal dancer Carrie Imler as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreographed by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Angela Sterling.

    Pacific

    The yummy, over-the-top scenery with its robust pink roses, a shimmering spider web (complete with a gigantic spider which—being the girly girl I am—could’ve done without) and an enormous green frog brought the mythical Athenian forest glade to life.

    Friday night’s cast featured Carrie Imler as the lovely and completely “duped” Titania, Jonathan Porretta as the arrogant Oberon, and Josh Spell as the deliciously mischievous Puck.

    Imler has such unique versatility, it’s insane. Her dancing was nothing short of diva worthy, while her displays of affection toward Bottom were most charming.

    And speaking of Bottom…kudos to Ezra Thomson! His performance as the bumbling buffoon turned donkey was so hilarious, I was wiping tears from my eyes. Thomson maintained a superb balance between smitten man (gazing down at Imler's bust -- ooh la la) and goofy animal (scratching at his fleas and continually trying to eat the small pile of greens on the ground) with aplomb.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet corps de ballet dancer Josh Spell as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreographed by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Angela Sterling.

    Pacific

    Josh Spell unleashed his inner actor as the wildly entertaining Puck. I must say, I’ve never witnessed as much charisma from Spell as I did that night. He truly *was* Puck! He completely captured the essence of his character, which I hope leads to more roles of this nature in the near future, whether in or outside of PNB.

    Next, I’ve got just two words for you: Jonathan Porretta. Need I say more? (No, of course not but I will for the sake of the review.) Whether he’s pulling out all the stops (did you see him as the Jester in Cinderella? Hello!), or holding himself back just a smidge as the slightly in need of anger management Oberon, Porretta delivers. It’s just that simple.

    Maria Chapman’s performance as the pining Helena was spot-on. I felt terrible for her as she chased after Lucien Postlewaite’s completely disinterested and downright disgusted Demetrius. (I mean, you can’t blame a girl for trying, right? Demetrius is quite a dish!) Chalnessa Eames and Olivier Wevers made for an adoring pair as Hermia and Lysander. Their tender glances and gentle embraces were nothing short of ahhh worthy. Especially enjoyable were the moments following Puck’s faux pas, as both Demetrius and Lysander fought for the affections of the completely baffled Helena, who in turn is doing everything she can to avoid being pummeled by the scorned Hermia. (Loved it!)

    Ariana Lallone gave a knockout performance as the gravity-defying Hippolyta. She wielded that golden bow like it was more of an extension of her arm versus an actual prop. And while I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; the stage will appear decidedly empty without her presence next season. (Sob!)

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Ariana Lallone as Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreographed by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Angela Sterling.

    Pacific

    Rachel Foster’s petite beauty was highlighted to perfection in her role as the Butterfly. Her dancing was energetic, inspiring and just freaking awesome.

    Last but certainly by no means least (you know what I’m getting at right?), is the Divertissement in Act II. I’ve got to be honest and say that Carla Korbes and Jeffrey Stanton brought the house down with their completely flawless, absolutely thrilling performance. I didn’t think it was humanly possible to extend one’s arms back, back, back like that, but obviously I was wrong. (Thank you for setting me straight, Carla. :)) The applause they received was nearly deafening, but extremely well deserved. Bravo!

    Pacific Northwest Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream runs through April 17th. Tickets are available by visiting PNB.org

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet's Contemporary 4 Thrills & Delights

    The stars were shining brightly during Pacific Northwest Ballet’s opening of Contemporary 4. The evening’s mixed program featured four outstanding displays of diversity, ingenuity and beautiful creativity.

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    Pacific

    Pacific featured both men and women dressed in swooshy, flowing skirts which looked just a wee bit prettier on the men than the women. Josh Spell and Benjamin Griffiths especially worked those skirts like it was nobody’s business, and I enjoyed the overall effect the costumes had on the performance. Another duo worth mentioning is Carla Korbes and Olivier Wevers. Their pas de deux was absolutely yummy! Lucien Postlewaite was as beautiful as always. (You know something, I often find it difficult to wrap my head around this man’s softness, his vulnerability. It’s just exquisite!) Then of course, there was the perfection known as Ariana Lallone. This lady continually brings a rich, new layer of magic to every performance, and I for one will miss her presence in the seasons to come.   

    The world premiere of Marco Goecke’s Place a Chill made me think, “Voguing on steroids”. That may not be the best way to describe it, but that’s immediately what came to mind. Lightening fast upper body moves were mixed with equally fast finger-flicking shivers made you wonder whether the dancers were trying to embrace—or fight off—the impending chill. It was absolutely incredible to watch! In this act, the stand-out performer award must go to both Jonathan Poretta and James Moore. Guys—you’re my heroes! Enough said.

    4Cont_0849

    Pacific

    The Piano Dance, choreographed by ballet master, Paul Gibson was just…(insert Italian kiss of the finger tips here) “Bellissima!” The stunning blood red costumes were to die for; the dancing was soulful, flirty and infectiously fun. Lesley Rausch and Seth Orza made for a most mesmerizing pair (but seriously, what do you expect from these two?), while Chalnessa Eames and Josh Spell were enthusiastically coquettish and spry. (The playful booty smack was most appreciated by all in attendance.) Rounding out the splendid cast was Margaret Mullin and Jerome Tisserand, who looked like “two happy young lovers”, and the spunky Rachel Foster and Benjamin Griffiths whose performance I felt was the icing on the cake. Quite honestly, I could watch The Piano Dance over and over again, and never get bored.

    The fourth and final piece was Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH. This highly anticipated piece did not fail to impress and delight the masses. The lighthearted romance was the perfect blend of strength and versatility due to the likes of Batkhurel Bold, Seth Orza, Karel Cruz, Carla Korbes and Carrie Imler. The male “power triangle” was counter-balanced by the softness and charm of the ladies, who could never be mistaken for shrinking violets! To the contrary, Imler's own breed of strength silently dared the boys to keep up with her, while Korbes' quiet air of authority demands utmost respect. Performance highlights include Bold’s freaking awesome lift and twirl of Mr. Orza (go ahead and read that twice, I’ll wait), and the fantastic chemistry between Cruz and Korbes.

    Contemporary 4 is one rep that is not to be missed. If you haven’t already done so, please visit pnb.org to purchase tickets. You will not be disappointed!

    ~Reviewed by Denise Opper, Class Act Tutu & Dancewear Media Liaison

  • How to Dance In a Tutu

    Laura Gilbreath, soloist Pacific Northwest Ballet wearing a Class Act Tutuphoto © Angela Sterling

    Laura

    Ah, tutus! There's nothing in the world quite like them. But as every dancer soon discovers, there's a certain level of skill required to wear one properly on stage.

    To help you achieve your best performance, this article from Dance Spirit Magazine provides solutions to the common tutu problems, including tulle bunching and tight bodices. As a special treat, answers are provided by principal dancers, Carla Körbes {Pacific Northwest Ballet} and Jennie Somogyi {New York City Ballet}. Enjoy!!

  • Review: Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker

    Snow on stage!  Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers in the Kent Stowell/Maurice Sendak Nutcracker.  Photo © Angela Sterling

    Snow

    For more than 50 years, Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” has been an American holiday tradition.  The Pacific Northwest Ballet continues to make their exclusive Stowell & Sendak Nutcracker production a warm and delightfully magical onset to our wintry festivities by exuding the finest artistry from the scenic and lighting design to the richly animated choreography, and of course, the musical compositions performed by sixty-five of the most talented musicians. Nevertheless, what made this story come to life were the dancers and their interpretation of ETA Hoffman’s characters. 

     

    The cast for the opening night of PNB’s Nutcracker included a number of the company’s finest dancers along with several of its own Pacific Northwest Ballet School students.  The audience reveled in watching the young students inherit the stage of McCaw Hall, some for the first time.  The innocent and uninhibited way they captured the essence of Hoffman’s characters was remarkable and enchanting. 

     

    Among the professional cast, Batkhurel Bold’s representation of the Prince is passionately strong and daringly dynamic. Perfectly paired with Bold was Carla Körbes.  She captivated our hearts with her exquisite and gentle adaptation of Clara.  Olivier Wevers delivered an outstanding performance as his magnetic personality encapsulated that of Drosselmeyer/Pasha. Ariana Lallone was brilliantly flawless in her transcendental presentation of the Peacock.  Carrie Imler was powerfully breathtaking in Waltz of the Flowers.  Her performance was an absolute treasure to behold.  PNB’s company of dancers executed each step with such vitality and sincerity, the evening concluded with a blissful aspiration for more.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Carla Körbes as Clara in PNB's Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker.  Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific

     

    Pacific Northwest Ballet’s vivid adaptation of this childhood storybook re-establishes a dreamlike imagination in audience members of all ages.  Performances will run from November 26th until December 27, 2010.  Come and enjoy the magic of Stowell & Sendak’s Nutcracker

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

     

    Review By: Amanda Calderon

    Class Act Tutu Associate

  • 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.

    Pacific

    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.

    Pacific

    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.

    Pacific

    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.

    Pacific

    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.

    Pacific

    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

    Pacific

    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

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet's "Director's Choice"

    From the theater staff to the attendees to the performers, the excitement of opening night was unmistakable.  Pacific Northwest Ballet’s introduction of two brand new pieces and a replay of two favorites translated into an evening to remember.

    Petite Mort

    Seth&SaraPetiteMort

    Pacific

    The night began with Petite Mort, (French for “The Little Death” and a metaphor for sexual climax), the first work by European choreographer Jiri Kylian to be acquired by Pacific Northwest Ballet.  With six men, six women, and six foils the piece has been described as exuding energy, silence, and sexuality.  It does just that.

    Petite Mort starts with six men facing upstage backing slowly toward the orchestra pit in silence.  The stillness is broken at first only by the sound of the swords cutting through the air.  The men partnering with their swords create a dangerous tension and excitement.  The choreography plays between the men, the swords, the women and dark, baroque style dresses.  These dresses, at times, appear to dance completely on their own.  There are some light hearted moments with the foils and the dresses that allowed the audience a laugh and provided a needed respite.

    A special treat in this performance included partnering between two of the company’s married couples:  Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza and Lindsi Dec and Karel Kruz.  In the sensual pas de deux, these real-life married couples, along with principal dancers Lucien Postlewaite and Kaori Nakamura, showcased both precision in movement as well as emotion.

    I look forward to more pieces from this brilliant choreographer.

    The music (Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major - Adagio and Piano Concerto in C Major – Andante) also warrants special mention.  With the resignation of Maestro Stewart Kershaw, Allan Dameron is acting Music Director and Conductor.  Dameron performed masterfully as both pianist and conductor for this piece.

    Mopey

    JamesMooreMopey3

    Pacific

    This 14-minute male solo of “adolescent meltdown” was first performed by PNB in 2005.  The cult classic, performed by soloist, James Moore was pure perfection.

    Moore’s fluidity of movement demonstrated both his raw strength and masculine grace.  The agony of the journey from boy to man with all of the temptations and mistakes made along the way was nothing short of mesmerizing.

    For three perspectives on Mopey, see seattledances blog interview with James Moore and two other dancers cast for this run, Soloist Benjamin Griffiths and Principal, Jonathan Poretta.

    The Seasons

    This was the world premiere of The Seasons, choreographed by Val Caniparoli.  The Seasons is a balletic allegory of the four seasons danced to the music of Alexander Glazunov (Op.67, 1899).  The Seasons is served up against a simple and very striking set and presented with innovative costume design.  Both set and costumes were designed by Sandra Woodall.  I cannot even begin to describe the brilliance in executing these costume design concepts.  Check out this video posted by PNB as a special thanks to the costume shop for a taste:  PNB's The Seasons Costume Preview.

    The Seasons opened in winter  and it appeared that it was snowing stars.  Thus the magical blend of contemporary and classical ballet began.  There were delightful gnomes lighting fires to melt the snow and change the scene to spring.  Kaori Nakamura as the Swallow truly took flight—both on her own and with the aid of the Zephyr, Lucien Postlewaite.  You could see the fun and frolic in Barry Kerolis as a faun.   With its cast of birds, satyrs, fauns, flowers and gnomes, this piece has something for everyone.

    West Side Story

    West Side Story is an abbreviated version of the musical of the same name.  Choreographer Jerome Robbins (along with Peter Genarro) extracted this sequence of dances originally for the New York City Ballet in 1995.

    This piece is just plain fun and allows the dancers to try their hand at singing and showing off a completely different style.  Principal, Carla Körbes was a delight as the spunky, Anita seeming to be transformed both in looks (her blonde hair covered in a dark wig) and technique.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Carla Körbes (center) with Company dancers in Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite. Photo © Angela Sterling.

    Pacific

    PNB’s Director’s Choice runs from November 5–15, 2009.

    Don’t miss it!

    All photos  © Angela Sterling.

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