Pacific Northwest Ballet presents choice program of contemporary dances
A review of Pacific Northwest Ballet's 2010-11 season opener, a program of contemporary works by Jiri Kylian, Jerome Robbins and Nacho Duato.
Seattle Times movie critic
'Director's Choice'7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1 p.m. Oct. 3, Pacific Northwest Ballet, McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $27-$165 (206-441-2424 or www.pnb.org).
Dance Review |
Pacific Northwest Ballet opened its 2010-11 season Friday night with a jewel of a contemporary program — complete with empty dresses, severed heads, and 42 dancers crisscrossing the stage in perfectly ordered chaos.
A Jiri Kylian double bill opened the program, both set to Mozart. "Petite Mort," which made its PNB debut last season, features six men, six women, six fencing foils and six gloriously detailed, wheeled black gowns from which the women moved in and out as if bursting from chains. The men whooshed their foils through the air, or delicately danced with them as they rolled on the ground. Carrie Imler and Seth Orza paired with a foil to create a multi-limbed pas de trois; the metal shaft completing and enhancing the dance's elegant lines. At the end, the dresses eerily whirled alone; the dancers having seemingly cast them off and moved on.
"Sechs Tänze (Six Dances)" is a companion piece to "Petite Mort," but was seen here for the first time and, in contrast to its mostly somber partner, is a frothy joy. The black dresses and foils reappear, but to more comic effect — this seems to be an 18th-century court gone delightfully mad. Powder from the men's wigs danced in the light, and the women whirled their petticoats in lilting fury. Entrances and exits were witty and varied — why walk off the stage when you can have a rug yanked under you? It's a dance of constant motion — even lying on the floor, the dancers managed to jump — that constantly charms.
Jerome Robbins' wonderful, busy mosaic of a ballet, "Glass Pieces," was the evening's only pointe-shoe ballet, and a stark contrast to the moody lighting and black background of the Kylian works: It seemed to take place in an enormous cream-colored box, where the dancers glow in their jewel-toned practice clothes. A crowd scene at the beginning, with each dancer focusing only on his or her path across the stage, was a striking exercise in line and shape; a pas de deux, danced with slow, lovely control by Carla Körbes and Batkhurel Bold, was backdropped by a row of female dancers in shadow, underlining their movements as a silent chorus.
The minimalist Philip Glass score entwines around the dancers, giving purpose and urgency to their movements, particularly in the dramatic, thrilling build of the final section. Pity, though, that the PNB orchestra had significant problems with tempo and pitch throughout, at one point almost seeming to be operating independently of the dancers. (The orchestra did, though, sound lovely in the Mozart works, particularly Christina Siemens's piano solo in "Petite Mort.")
"Jardi Tancat," Nacho Duato's wistful dance inspired by Catalonian folk tales, completed the program; though a familiar PNB sight, it's an audience favorite and received loud applause.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or email@example.com
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