Review: '3 by Dove' lets PNB dancers soar
Pacific Northwest Ballet's "3 By Dove" is a stirring evening of dance by Ulysses Dove. It includes the newly reconstructed 1992 ballet "Serious Pleasures."
Seattle Times arts writer
'3 By Dove'Pacific Northwest Ballet, Friday, Saturday and March 25-28 at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street, Seattle; $25-$160 (206-441-2424 or www.pnb.org).
Dance review |
The stage is dark, but in its one faint pool of light we see a man (Lucien Postlewaite) curled into an ampersand; he's hanging from a back wall as if cradled in a spider's web. He stands, stretching a foot so high it almost seems no longer part of him, making of his body an endless line. More dancers in black emerge, through shadowy doorways, pairing up in different couplings under the first man's eye.
This is Pacific Northwest Ballet's premiere of Ulysses Dove's newly reconstructed 1992 ballet "Serious Pleasures," anchoring a stirring, contemporary program "3 By Dove." Dove, who died in 1996 while still in his 40s, was a talent lost too soon, and seeing three of his ballets together (a rare opportunity created by PNB artistic director Peter Boal, who worked with Dove in the '90s) shows us repeated themes in Dove's work: the endless reach of legs, with toes pointing to the ceiling; the unexpectedly askew plié in second position with one foot up on point and the other flat; the surging rush of the movement, as if dancer and music are confronting each other.
"Serious Pleasures," the program's only PNB debut, pulses with sexuality; the women toss around their manes of hair with abandon as the men strut like feline predators. Though the choreography is uneven — some of the women's solos feel repetitive and pose-y — it has moments of remarkable beauty. Postlewaite, in a gloriously high arabesque, reaches unexpectedly forward; the calm movement doing nothing to mar his perfect balance. Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza sizzled in the ballet's gentle, candlelit pas de deux. And, under William H. Grant III's dramatic lighting design, it all took on the quality of a blurred, dusky fever dream.
The program's three other ballets showcased the company's ease with contemporary works. In Dove's "Red Angels" — the evening's only dance performed to live music, an electric-violin solo by Mary Rowell — Ariana Lallone (whose arms always seem to reach toward heaven) zinged through her solos with arrowlike precision, while Olivier Wevers showed off his uncanny ability to seemingly hang suspended in the air. Six powerhouse women attacked Dove's "Vespers," leaping to and from their chairs as if driven by some dance demon, with corps de ballet member Brittany Reid making a strong debut in her role. And Victor Quijada's "Suspension of Disbelief" again allowed Jonathan Porretta to demonstrate that he can tangle his legs like spaghetti and jump as if he's forgotten the floor.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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