Review: 'Director's Choice' is choice material indeed
The highlight of Pacific Northwest Ballet's 'Director's Choice' is a Jiri Kylian piece — it's addictive.
Seattle Times arts writer
Pacific Northwest Ballet, today, Saturday and Nov. 12-15, McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $25-$160 (206-441-2424 or www.pnb.org).
The choice goods are loaded right up front in Pacific Northwest Ballet's "Director's Choice," an evening of four dances.
The program openers, Jiri Kylian's "Petite Mort" (1991) and Marco Goecke's "Mopey" (2004), both have a heady, visceral kick to them.
It's especially good to have the Kylian entering the PNB repertory — his first piece to do so. Maybe it means we'll see more work by this genie of Nederlands Dans Theater.
"Petite Mort" is an elegant courtship ritual (the title is a French euphemism for orgasm) set to excerpts from two Mozart piano concertos. Or to put it a little more bluntly: It's about men, women, swordplay and fortresslike hoop skirts.
It teems with illusions and ever-inventive duets (between the men and the women — and between the men and their swords). Some of the illusions are of the Busby Berkeley variety: a floral or frost-pattern blossomings of limbs. Others involve costume magic: How do those women move so swiftly and glidingly in those skirts?
All 12 dancers mastered the piece's half-limber, half-militaristic unison passages with ease. But Karel Cruz and Lindsi Dec were grace itself, especially when it came to Kylian's alternating hang-loose fluidity and punctuating stillnesses.
"Mopey," a feverish, mood-shifting solo piece first commissioned for Peter Boal and Company in 2004 and acquired by PNB in 2005, needs a dancer who's consumed by its humor, its angst, its deeply private semaphores of movement. James Moore has made it his signature piece, and he triumphed again with it, cajoling some demon down the length of his limbs and onto the charged space of the stage.
Val Caniparoli's "The Seasons," a world premiere, was by contrast a neoclassical pastoral idyll, populated by satyrs, nymphs, fauns, snowflakes and bluebirds (in blue metallic tutus). Set to a bumptiously ebullient score by Alexander Glazunov, it had its moments: a stellar Cruz (again) paired with Ariana Lallone as Bacchus and Bacchante, and a darting, radiant Kaori Nakamura as "The Swallow." The overall effect was pretty, sprightly — and a little hokey.
The ever-popular "West Side Story Suite," radically compressed from the Bernstein musical, is an odd piece of work, almost asking that you bring most of its impact with you from earlier viewings of the film or full-length stage production. Reduced to seven musical numbers, it works in fits and starts. When it does work, it's a pleasure to watch — and special fun, in this program, to notice how some of the DNA of "Mopey" derives from the tense, fingersnapping jumpiness of "Cool."
Still, if one hit can make an addict, then I'm a Kylian addict. Let's see more.
Michael Upchurch: email@example.com
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.