Saturday, March 14, 2015

#Triple_Bill proves Staggering and Brave

The Vertiginous Thrill of Forsythe
Pacific Northwest Ballet
March 13-22, 2015
Choreographer: William Forsythe
Artistic Director: Peter Boal

When you can't find words to describe something, I find going to the original subject matter as well as a Webster dictionary is always helpful. Watching opening night of the triple bill of Bill - "The Vertiginous Thrill of Forsythe last night truly made me feel like I had a pleasant case of vertigo. No one likes to spin, but as any dancer will tell you, if you have a spot, it is thrilling. Forsythe had us all spinning willingly into his web of obtuse and uncommon angles and combinations, as I watched patrons shifting in their seats and tilting their heads when something threw them off balance from what their minds were used to.

I often rate a ballet by how it makes me feel as I watch it. The common feels: passion, sadness, inspiration, joy. What Forsythe and the PNB dancers evoked were feels that aren't common when watching a dance performance: awe, anxiety, shock, perplex, suspense, admiration and of course speechlessness. Changes and uncommon things are hard for some people, but I find them exciting because of the brave ability to try something new and show people a different side of what the norm is.

If you know me or my reviews at all you know my pretty unspoken guideline is if I don't like a performance or a dancer I do NOT write about it. Art is subjective and I truly believe that there is no right or wrong in art, just opinion. Also if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it (but feel free to whisper it in my ear lol). YES I have friends in the company but I refuse to be biased and will not mention any dancer specifically unless they knocked my brains out of my head.

#1 - Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. EXACTITIUDE: the quality of being exact, precision, accuracy. In this piece every dancer blew my mind. The epitome of precision. Every movement was done with such a fierce level of technique. If I had to put a face next to the word Precision in the dictionary it would be of soloist Ben Griffiths. This photo (by Angela Sterling) just shows a glimmer of what he did in this piece. Mind you all of the dancers in this piece were absolutely amazing, serving you every quick technical combination with a level of agility and energy unmatched in any other piece of the evening. The piece set the tone of energy for the entire evening.

Next up was piece #2 -- New Suite. A collection of duets, each with a different type of emotion from the next. It was this piece that his unique choreography shined. Again all of the dancers shined and were impressive. But again the ones that made me feel in order of the strongest being first:

1) Berio 2 - Chelsea Adomaitis and Steven Loch (video from rehearsal below) soft passion filled combinations mixed with a few sharp movements coupled with a chemistry between the two dancers made this ooze with emotion. I wanted their duet to be twice as long and I wanted to know what their back story was. Where they drew from.

2) Berio 3 - Lindsi Dec and Jerome Tisserand - wow. So many thing that made my head tilt, I felt like I had no idea where this was going but that is why I liked it. A more serious and less passionate emotion but still intense. The dancers had a level of fluidity that made me awestruck.

Other stand outs were Lesley Rausch, Angelica Generosa and Jahna Frantziskonis - all had a level of poise that were refreshing to the pieces. Again EVERY dancer in this piece was phenomenal, the ones mentioned are just still lingering in my memories today.

Last but most certainly not least #3 - In the Middle a Somewhat Elevated. So I had never seen this. I was told "oh you will love it!" and that between the music and the bare bones of it I would really enjoy it.

In this piece you saw what the last 2 weeks work with the man, the artist himself, William Forsythe can do and had been done to the dancers of Pacific Northwest Ballet. 

They had been stripped down. Worked to the very core of their souls and he helped them tear away what they knew as beautiful and strong in order to build up what was real, unusual and a new level of power and beauty. The lighting and music was startling and at times made me anxious and also so positively intrigued. So many stereotypes about movement and dancers are broken in this piece. The dancers were strong, fierce and intentional. As a group they all stood out to me but who lingered in my head in this piece was no dancer - it was the choreographer himself. It left me wanting to pick his brain and ask all sorts of questions. To see where it took the dancers emotionally. 

The best review of the night came from my husband - who doesn't see a lot of reps unless our daughter is somehow involved. I told him I thought he would enjoy it. After the first piece when he was audibly clapping and giving praise I knew he loved it. At the end of the show he said "Peter and the dancers should be incredibly proud of themselves. That show was so impressive and so different than anything I have seen from them. They should be proud for taking such a risk, it paid off and was incredible." 

That speaks volumes from him. Go see the show while you can, this weekend or next weekend tickets at Bravo to the dancers and to Mr. Forsythe for transforming the PNB dancers into raw pieces of art. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Foodie Pic of the Week

Breakfast Sandwich made with their homemade savory biscuit, an egg, white cheddar, arugula, tomato, creme fraiche and your choice of ham, bacon or vegi patty. Absolutely delicious. Kind and helpful staff, quick service and yum food. Go visit.

I will support any business where the motto is "Eat. Drink. Be a Good Citizen."

706 Taylor Ave. N.
Seattle, WA.
Queen Anne Neighborhood

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Don Quixote - PNB's offers low price to a magical destination

January 30 - February 8th
Pacific Northwest Ballet
McCaw Hall
Artistic Director: Peter Boal
Choreography: Marius Petipa, Alexander Gorsky, Alexei Ratmansky
Music: Ludwig Minkus (performed by the wonderful Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra)

I wouldn't call myself well versed in all the classic ballets, but I do think I have seen a lot of the greats. One I had never seen was Don Q. I was expecting a storybook ballet, because well it's from a classic story right? No. What I experienced was SO much more.

Start with the sets. Breathtaking, from the quaint town, to the dream scene and wedding scene, huge production quality and gorgeous. Costumes were so beautiful and made each character that much more exciting. Special mention: Gamache: his over the top pink silk suit with bows on his shoes had me in fits of laughter. BOWS on his shoes. Also Kitris red color blocked tutu is worth the ticket price alone. Simply gorgeous.

Now to the dancing. I watched dress rehearsal and witnessed the rising star soloist Liz Murphy in the role of Kitri. She was so lovely. Such a wonderful great actress, and so comical I had no idea she could do that so well. She played the character with such an innocent playfulness but also with a very deep soul. As someone who has watched her over the last few years it was so special to watch her shine and portray her own version of this special character, so well. She was strong, yet meek, funny, yet vulnerable and her emotions showed her excitement for this opportunity to show her abilities. It was a great introduction to me to the role of Kitri.

The men were so impressive all night. From the leads, principal Seth Orza as Basilio, and Batkhurel Bold as Espada with their strong, testosterone filled jumps and cape whipping, to their soft and doting support of their female leads, they were perfect mates. Bold and his beautiful Mercedes danced by the incomparable Carrie Imler were steamy every time they were on stage. So much chemistry and fierceness. The return of Rachel Foster was a sight for sore eyes, giving quick precise technique as Cupid, and the duo of Sarah Orza and Margaret Mullin as Paccilia & Juanita were fluid and gorgeous.

The character roles were what had me in stitches. I had NO idea that this ballet was SO funny! My abs hurt the next day from the amount of laughing. PNB brought back award winning actor Tom Skerritt and Allen Galli in the roles of Don Q and Sancho and they showed so much range. For actors that are used to having words to help their craft they did a fabulous job. Skerritt showed brilliance as the mad Don who battles his demons and dreams of nymphs and monsters. Galli often stole scenes with his hilarious side man ballet interpretations and physical comedy. But who stole the entire show was Principal dancer Jonathan Porretta as Gamache. His level of sassy panache had our entire group in tears. The costume, the wig and the attitude served such over the top amazing comedy, it was perfect.

The entire company, corps dancers and students all shined so brightly. There have been talks of this company having small numbers right now in their corps but I think it's quality over quantity. Peter Boal made smart casting choices and everyone was strong and impressive. I would much rather watch a small stronger corps rather than a larger average group of dancers.

This is the last weekend to catch this gorgeous production, get your tickets at and get your cheap trip to Barcelona for a magical evening filled with laughter and gorgeous dancing. ❤️ *photos by Angela Sterling

Friday, January 30, 2015

Photo of the Day

Homegrown - Turkey + bacon + avocado + cheddar on a French baguette

Crow - fierce & fancy Lower Queen Anne gem

823 5th Ave. N.
Reservations encouraged

We went to a Crow for the first time on a sunny warm afternoon. Had reservations (grateful we opted to do that as they filled up quickly and turned lots of people away)! We were seated at a window spot, with their large windows open it made for a lovely seat! This restaurant has a revolving and changing menu, so. Check their website to see what is in season before you go.

So pleased with the service, not too hipster or snooty but just cool enough to give you space and privacy whilst keeping the customer happy.

We started with the curried mussels, which were so amazing. Served with two crustini's they were perfectly seasoned and a great portion, and left us excited for the next course.

Next was the Green a Goddess salad. It had lovely Buttercrisp lettuce and watermelon radishes and was tossed with the goddess dressing. Soft, fresh and the perfect amount of flavor.

For our main course I had the NY strip steak. It was cooked perfectly and topped with a rich amazing horseradish chive compound butter. Laid on a bed of grilled asparagus and roasted potatoes, I let the butter melt over it all, it was pretty perfect.

We finished off the delicious meal with the chocolate truffle cake with candied coconut and homemade amaretto ice cream. I swooned and may have lost consciousness while eating it lol. The ice cream was creamy and sweet and made the perfect pairing with the rich truffle cake.

Our meal was spectacular. Don't let the prices scare you away, it's a bit pricier than average in that area because the food is better than average, plain and simple, you get what you pay for with this establishment. The drinks are strong, and they have an extensive wine selection. Only rule: be sure to make a reservation!!