A 'Dreamy' night at Pacific Northwest Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet has been performing George Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for more than 25 years, and the company wears it well.
Seattle Times arts writer
'A Midsummer Night's Dream'7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, Pacific Northwest Ballet, McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $27-$165 (www.pnb.org or 206-441-2424).
Dance Review |
George Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, is unusual among the ranks of full-length story ballets: It crams all of its madcap Shakespearean plot into a breathless first act, with mismatched lovers and star-crossed fairies and warrior queens racing to and fro, and then yanks on the brakes for a sedate and plotless second act whose high point is a delicate pas de deux performed by two dancers who have nothing whatsoever to do with the story. The second-act duet is not a traditional divertissement, presented to the court and audience as an entertaining diversion, but a wistful dance by a couple seemingly alone in the moonlight, yearning and gentle and a little sad. And it's beautiful, as is everything else in this charmer of a ballet.
Pacific Northwest Ballet has been performing "Midsummer" for more than 25 years, and the company wears it well. It's hard to picture anyone other than Ariana Lallone as the soaring Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons — she nearly leaps over the six costumed hounds that herald her — or another ballerina who could so convincingly hold a crossbow. Jonathan Porretta's fairy king Oberon has a quietly menacing dignity (and a way of staying airborne that produced gasps from the opening-night audience); Carrie Imler as Titania, smiling and daintily regal, makes you believe she didn't need fairy wings to fly, particularly in a graceful knees-up leap into the arms of her waiting cavalier (Batkhurel Bold).
A number of dancers leaving PNB at the end of the season (which concludes in June) were showcased on opening night, reminding us anew that they'll be missed: Josh Spell's athletic, funny Puck; Chalnessa Eames' mercurial Hermia (who, in a witty detail, looked uncannily like Maria Chapman's Helena); Olivier Wevers' elegantly lovesick Lysander; Jeffrey Stanton's lyrical partnering (of a radiant Carla Körbes) in the Act II pas de deux; and of course the incomparable Lallone.
But "Midsummer" is also a delightful reminder of the future, from the smiling Professional Division students in Titania's retinue (posing sweetly like '30s-movie-musical chorines) to the sparkling fairies of Oberon's kingdom to Titania's tiny page (Glory Burford), who remembered to point her toes perfectly. With Martin Pakledinaz's fantastical costumes and sets, lighting designer Randall G. Chiarelli's magical moonlight and the exquisite Mendelssohn score floating up from the orchestra pit, this "Dream" is just that — a dream.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or 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.