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Tag Archives: PNB

  • Quick Tip: From the Costume Shop at Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB)

    We first published this blog entry almost exactly 4 years ago. It remains one of our all time favorite tips: How to create an elegant and very "Degas"  tutu look on a budget. Enjoy this re-post.

    In 2006, Fleming Halby (then director of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Seattle school) staged the only surviving scene from August Bournonville's "Konservatoriet". Class Act Tutu was honored to provide the white romantic tutu skirts for that performance.

    PNB School's "Konservatoriet "  ©Rex Trainter PNB School's "Konservatoriet " ©Rex Trainter

    The staging of this piece has always provided a great inspiration to us in how to create a beautiful classic look reminiscent of the early French ballet.   We were lucky to get to spend some time in the PNB costume shop learning how Victoria McFall created this lovely vision.   Here is what we learned.

    What you need:
    1. White Leotard
    2. White Romantic Style Tutu skirt
    3. Satin Ribbon
    4. Sheer Fabric for Sleeves
    5. Nude Elastic

    The Leotard
    • Start with a camisole style leotard. Remove the straps and replace them with nude elastic.
    • Create a pattern for an off the shoulder sleeve with a gusset. Here are some views of PNB’s sleeve and pattern:

    Sleeve with Gusset Sleeve with Gusset
    Sleeve and Pattern Sleeve and Pattern
    PNB Sleeve Pattern PNB Sleeve Pattern

    • Here you can find instructions for making your own pattern for gussets.
    • Stitch your sleeve onto the leotard

    Sleeve with gusset sewn to leotard Sleeve with gusset sewn to leotard

    The Skirt
    • Start with a romantic style tutu skirt. PNB used Class Act Tutu’s Romantic Style 5-Layer skirt in a mid-calf length.
    • Edge stitch a nice satin ribbon onto the waistband at the top and the bottom. Victoria used pale blue and white for Konservatoriet.

    Satin Waistband & Bow Satin Waistband & Bow

    • Sew down a faux bow if desired.

    This idea can be used for many different tutu looks and combining a professional quality tutu skirt with an inexpensive leotard can stretch your costume budget.

  • 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

    Pacific

  • Sightings: Pacific Northwest Ballet at the Guggenheim / Pointe Magazine

    Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers wearing our tutus in Pointe Magazine! (see Pointe Magazine, December 2010/January 2011, p 75).

    This was part of the "Works & Process" lecture-demonstration at New York's Guggenheim Museum back in May, 2010.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet's presentation featured performances by company members and the discussion, "Balanchine's Petipa" led by Doug Fullington. "Balanchine's Petipa" explored the influence Marius Petipa's choreography had over George Balanchine, with a special focus on choreography for men.

    The Guggenheim museum's  "Works & Process" series offers audiences the amazing opportunity to get "up close and personal" with some of today's top creative minds and the world's most beloved artists.

    Did any of you happen to see it?  If so, leave a comment and tell us about it.

    Photo:  Sylvia Plachy   Pointe Magazine Dec 2010/Jan 2011

    Photo:

    Thank you Sylvia Plachy (photographer), Pacific Northwest Ballet and Pointe Magazine for showing our tutus in such a lovely way.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers are wearing Class Act Tutu's 5-Layer Romantic Tutu Skirt (style: 1260-5   color: white)

  • 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.

  • 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

    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

    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.

  • PNB du Soleil - Former Principal Returns With Cirque

     

    Photo: Trapeze, courtesy OSA Images. Costume credit: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil

    Photo:

    The world-famous Cirque du Soleil returns to Redmond Washington’s Marymoor Park with KOOZA, June 3-July 2.  Currently in its fourth year, KOOZA "is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil: It combines two circus traditions – acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.” ~ Quote Cirque du Soleil.com

     This magnificent performance features a cast of 53 brilliant artists, including acrobats, musicians and dancers. Oh, and speaking of dancers (wink-wink!), here's an exciting piece of news for you! The program’s artistic director, Adam Miller is a former principal with Pacific Northwest Ballet (1980-1986)!  Isn't that amazing?  You can read all about it here. 

     

     

     

  • 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

    Pacific

    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

    Pacific

    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

    Pacific

    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.

  • 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

  • Interview: Pacific Northwest Ballet Soloist, Lindsi Dec - Part Two

    In Part One of our interview, Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Lindsi Dec spoke candidly about her recent marriage and how she began her dance training. Now in Part Two, Lindsi shares what a typical day is like for her, as well as the challenges of being a tall dancer…

    Class Act:  Lindsi, the long lines you and your taller peers are able to create are just exquisite!  Would you mind telling us what it’s like to be a tall dancer, and how this fact has enhanced or challenged your career?
    Lindsi:   Hmm. That’s a good question. Well, as a taller dancer I’d have to say it’s actually a bit harder to control my extremities than a dancer of average height. It’s a tough process for us (tall dancers) – in my experience anyway – to make it all come together with beautiful lines. My core wasn’t strong enough, I was very weak—I still am in fact, so I have to do a lot of cross training. But it makes us unique and helps us stand out a bit, which is great.

    Class Act:  I never looked at it that way before. I often assumed--probably like most people--that being taller was more of an advantage in the dance world than not.  Thank you for being so open about that.  Ok, here’s a question I know our readers are dying to have you answer! What does a typical day look like for you?

    Lindsi:   A typical day for me is full of dancing! I wake up at 8am and get ready for the day, including making a lunch full of snacks that will last me until 7pm.  I like to eat a lot during our breaks to allow my body to refuel for the next rehearsal.
    I leave the house by 9:15 am and am in the studio by 9:50 am.  It is at this time, I tape my toes and warm-up.  We have class from 10:15- 11:45am.  Class is very important because it prepares and warms up the body for the rest of the rehearsal day.  It is also a great opportunity to improve one’s technique.  We have 20 minutes after class to rest up, snack, and see what pointe shoes are going to work for various rehearsals.  Our normal rehearsal schedule is from 12:05 –3pm with 5 minute breaks each hour.

    Lindsi Dec, Soloist, Pacific Northwest Ballet wearing Vala Dancewear's "Bombshell" Leotard

    Lindsi

    We have lunch off from 3-4 pm.  I normally try to work out at that time because cross training for the body is extremely important.  I do strengthening exercises and weights.  On some days, depending on my rehearsal load, I will also do cardio.  From 4:05-7pm, we have our last three hours of the day.
    Each day is different though, we may have 6 hours of rehearsal or one hour.  It depends on the rep we are doing and how much we are dancing.  Then, it’s back home to a nice dinner and relaxing before I go to bed at 10pm. Yes, I know, it’s very early, but my body needs at least ten hours of sleep or else I am not a happy camper the next day!

    ….Check back soon to read the third installment where Lindsi discusses her partnership with Vala Dancewear, her hobbies, and favorite roles!

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

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