Archive for November, 2013

A Program to Remember (Pacific Northwest Ballet)

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Stunning, breathtakingly beautiful, and unparalleled in programing and performance, PNB’s November program, Kylian + Pite, was one not to be missed. It is easily the most memorable (non-full-length ballet) program in the almost 20 years that I have been viewing and reviewing the company.

Huge kudos to Peter Boal, ballet masters all, and the generous supporters that made the PNB premieres possible – Forgotten Land (Kylian) and Emergence (Pite). Both ballets were utterly unforgettable, not to mention the gorgeous music of the PNB Orchestra.

In terms of performance, here are just a few highlights –

Foster and Mullin as the insect creatures emerging from the depths in Crystal Pite’s Emergence

  • Orza, Porretta, Bold, Gaines, and Bartee, as well as every single principal female — in anything
  • Samuelson breaking out and through in everything
  • Actually, all the petite mort dancers, who lived and breathed the ballet’s roles
  • In Sechs Tänze, the Imler, Merchant, Foster, Kitchens crew – mesmerizing
  • Forgotten Land – every single dancer made that piece come alive – haunting with a capital “H,” the dancers were aided in their other-worldliness by the literal and exquisite East Anglia backdrop
  • Week 2, virtually all the corps dancers (there were a few that needed a bit more confidence, if not rehearsal) in first-time roles – Bravo, Brava, Bravi, Brave!!!!!

This program, quite simply, will live in PNB’s history as one of its finest. Of course, there’s always 2014-2015.

image: courtesy PNB


A Closer Look at Tucker Knox of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD)

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

See also, my longer piece at

The week before the SYTYCD 2013 Seattle performance, I had the opportunity to interview the competition’s winners, but most exciting for me was an interview with the stunning Tucker Knox.

Tucker Knox was virtually a professional dancer before auditioning for SYTYCD. His auditions seemed effortless, and the accolades for his performances, predictably enthusiastic.

Once Mr. Knox made the SYTYCD top ten, he continued to dazzle, and perform his best – until he contracted Mercer in his knee, and was temporarily eliminated. He came back, at the bottom of the pack, to perform and beat elimination at least until the following week.

Adds Knox, “To be in the top ten is indescribable, it’s been such a crazy ride. There’s only 13 shows left now [on tour] and we’ve all grown together so much, becoming a family. The tour has been much more special than what we had on show. “

For stress relief, he cooks. At one time he thought about attending a culinary school.

Mr. Knox also is virtually injury free. How does he manage? “I always start with my core when I condition and train – not with my legs — if you build up strength from your core, you’ll avoid injuries. So, lots of Pilates – and lots of water – I’m drinking water all the time!”

Mr. Knox aspires to become a member of a contemporary ballet company, such as the Nederlands Dans Theater – and that’s where my vote rests.

As I wrote in the 4dancers blogpost,

Mr. Knox excels in the contemporary pieces, more than any other single dancer on the show (“I just create and feel the story with my partner, and then we live it on stage”), yet finds the dance forms a little foreign to him some of the most fun. Says Knox, “Hip hop is maybe not my best style, but it is the most fun — I just crank it out and it’s fun up there whatever we do. Also, ballroom for me feels surprisingly natural. Even though I may not perform it that well, it comes more easily than I thought it would.”

The modest Knox needs only look at a video or two to see how impressive his command of any style is.

Courtesy: SYTYCD

Courtesy: SYTYCD