The Vertiginous Thrill of Forsythe
Pacific Northwest Ballet
March 13-22, 2015
Choreographer: William Forsythe
Artistic Director: Peter Boal
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 http://www.pnb.org. Bravo to the dancers and to Mr. Forsythe for transforming the PNB dancers into raw pieces of art.