Tuesday, November 10, 2009

PNB's 2009 Directors Choice - overall, a gorgeous display of artistry from all parts of dance


Choregraphers: Kylian, Goecke, Caniparoli, Robbins w/Genarro
Music: Mozart, Bach and The Cramps, Glazunov and Bernstein

The Director's choice is Peter Boal's selection of premiers and repertory pieces each year. This year he chose four pieces that couldn't have been more different than each other, truly a mature pallet of dancing varieties and styles, something for everyone.

The first was Petite Mort choreographed by Jiri Kylian. A premier piece for PNB it was a daring and avant-garde piece that played with your visuals as well as toyed with sensuality. Costumes were flesh colored and minimal, often looking like nude dancers on the stage.

The lights are brought up to six men with their swords. The dance with their swords and the way the metal was obviously not as fluid as the dancers, was intriguing to watch. The entire time - the 6 women were eerily standing in the background just out of light - so you could see them just barely. The affect was chilling and made you excited to see what came next. My favorite part of the piece was probably the women and their faux black ball gowns on wheels. Amazing, humorous and beautiful imagery was created with the women dancers and these dresses.

Dancers of note in this piece - again I believe there were two casts for this piece and so I cannot speak on them all, just who I saw. I remember seeing Carrie Imler as the Nurse in "Romeo et Juliette" and loving her passion and lines and wishing we were able to see more of her dancing. I got my wish in this piece. Carrie has a few wonderful parts where she really stood out from the rest of the dancers. The realness she brings to her talent is refreshing and makes her shine that much brighter.

The second was called Mopey choreographed by Goecke. I have to admit, this piece caught me off guard, following the modern piece I had seen minutes before. This solo piece, performed by Benjamin Griffiths - was witty and real once you realized it was not a joke. I enjoyed the humor and hilarious tantrum like attitude of it all. Benjamin had amazing range with his emotions and was so physically impressive. His ability to show his strength while also showing his youth - was powerful. I went with our 13 year old and her favorite part was when The Cramps song came on - she turned to me and said "This is my most favorite part so far! Its awesome!". She pretty much summed it up.

Third piece was another PNB Premier - The world premiere of The Seasons choreographed by Val Caniparoli. Season is a co-production between Pacific Northwest Ballet and Louisville Ballet. It was a light and wonderful portrayal of the 4 seasons and the sometimes gradual change of seasons and sometimes harsh. I have to admit, out of the 4 pieces, this was my least favorite, falling flat in a few areas. Looking back I felt like the music could have been bigger, as could the costumes and set. The dancing however was lovely and near flawless. I found the various solos and duets, inspiring and artistically beautiful. I think if this was done again - I would be more satisfied by BIGGER music and better costumes.

Finally - the last piece was The West Side Story suite choreographed by Jerome Robbins. I had seen many versions of this show as a music. I was interested in how they would make it work as a dance/ballet. When the curtain went up - the first gasp was for the set! "Ohhhs" an "Ahhhhs" filled the audience. This was by far the most VISUALLY pleasing piece. Then when the dancing began the smile never left my face. The dancing was superb. Even more, that some of the dancers SANG as they danced, which blew our minds! Brought me right back to the original movie and the amazing dancing in that.

Some exceptional dancers/singers to make note of. Seth Orza - "Riff" - his singing and dancing was outstanding. I barely heard him loose his breath (which is shocking for what a workout they get!) and the singing was GOOD seeing that he is a dancer before he is a singer.
Also - Lindsi Dec - "Rita" was lovely to watch and added spice and zest to the character. The singing was GREAT as well as the lovely attitude we all know and love Rita for having. Lindsi has always stood out since I have seen her in shows for the last year - and I wondered when I would see more of her. Her legs seem to go forever and her extension left my daughter and I speechless. To say the least, she wore the part well and was incredibly entertaining.

There are only4 performances left for this production and I URGE you not to miss it. PNB offers such a great variety of ticket prices and show times, they make it very accessible during this difficult economy.

Tickets and more information can be found at their website: