Archive for April, 2012

Seattle’s PNB: Where dance science and dance aesthetics meet

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Don Quixote represents the impossible dream in a number of ways — in classical ballet, it carries the most demanding of roles for the endless tricks and the merciless stamina demands (especially with big jumps, hopping on pointe, and the wickedly fast speed requirements). Buried in the pyrotechnics, though, is the most lovely of moves. See bold below (excerpts from Don Quixote review and feature, Dance International, forthcoming).

The technical proficiency of the casts made the entire performance very easy to watch each time – the acting made it positively enjoyable. The returning Kitris (Imler and Nakamura had performed the role 11 years ago in an earlier production at PNB) indeed made a big splash. Carrie Imler appeared absolutely vital on stage, smoothly accomplishing the signature Kitri move – a grand jeté with back leg bending to reach the head. Put a tutu on Imler (as in Act III) and she channels 19th century classical ballet with ease…….

Leads Kaori Nakamura and Lucien Postlewaite offered a partnership of impeccable timing and skill. Nakamura performed something rare to see in ballet, the “floating illusion — a grand jeté with the dancer appearing to move in a horizontal direction, due to the timely positioning of her arms. For Nakamura and Postlewaite, their overhead one-arm lifts together looked effortless, Nakamura daringly removed both hands, suspending precariously in mid air on the arm of Postlewaite – Nakamura then waved her fan as if to taunt the astonished audience.

See Finding Balance: Fitness and Training for a Lifetime in Dance, Ch. 3, for more.

PNB’s New Works — and a dancer’s test of endurance

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

A Million Kisses to my Skin (David Dawson), Cylindrical Shadows (Annabelle Lopez Ochoa), and Mating Theory (Victor Quijada) showcased Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers extraordinaire in the March program in Seattle. Virtually all lead dancers were featured in this program with big (and much) dancing. The dancers’ remarkable development showed.

Dawson’s piece is pure delight — a retrospective of and perspective on every piece of dance vocabulary he knows. The choreography is acclaimed as “expansive.” Right. It is all about (expansive) arms. When querying the choreographer during the intermission, he claimed that, in his pieces, the dancers’ arms give out way before any stamina or endurance threat to another body part. The arms are huge, and never ending. Dawson’s work is a choice endurance test — just this side of circus…and all the more palatable because of its bold, spectacle quality.

Ochoa’s pice about disturbance and survival, about finding one’s position in a mêlée of cultural crash and burn is utterly thrilling — as performed by Olivier Wever’s Whim W’him, and now, PNB….Quijada’s new work is the rule of clean, cool, and hip — and a pleasure to watch.

Cast the First Rock

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Yet another three new dance creations from Whim W’him’s Olivier Wevers this past January at Seattle’s Intiman Theater (the company is in residence there) — extraordinary, memorable, provocative work.

What does this groundbreaking choreographer offer?

Haunting music, images of the brave and the broken, wild women and ritualistic or stylized violence. ThrOwn is plain chilling — with all the atmospheric costume/set/lighting design and the extreme dancing, Wevers offers a tribal call and response. In La Langue de l’Amour, Chalnessa Eames is playful, versatile, naughty — Wevers’ gumby doll who can do anything. In Flower Festival, the masterful Andrew Bartee and Lucien Postlewaite (LP, sadly, is Les Ballets de Monte Carlo-bound) dance a contemporary striptease to Edvard Helsted’s classical fare with big imagination and the inventive intent to match. Bravo, to Mr. Wevers and his bold dancers!