Love Ballet’s Love Stories
Ah, love … one of the most necessary of humanity’s emotions (right up there with compassion). Love is a year-round celebration, not something manufactured for Valentine’s Day. Romantic love and its spark (also known as attraction) comes in many different forms. And can – and often is, in fact – expressed in many different ways.
The Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) knows this, too. For, right now at the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, the PNB is performing it’s second program of its 2011-2012 39th anniversary season: Love Stories – a series of five ballets. Two of these ballets are from the 19th century, while three are from the 20th century. Two are new to PNB, while three are not. Further, two are stand-alone performances, while three are excerpts from larger ballets. All focus on famous classical duets (such as the Blue Bird pas de deux and the Grand pas de deux in The Sleeping Beauty).
PNB’s Artistic Director Peter Boal and Founding Artistic Directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell are behind this brief series of performances, which run from from November 4th to November 13th, 2011. There is Divertimento from “Le Baiser de la Fée”, which is a short, stand-alone production that was originally born from the longer (now lost) “Le Baiser de la Fée” or “The Fairy’s Kiss” that was inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s The Ice Maiden/The Ice Queen and created in 1950 (music by Igor Stravinsky and dedicated to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the death of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1927, Choreography by George Balanchine, and a June 21, 1972 original production première); the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake (music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Choreography by Kent Stowell, after Marius Petipa, and a February 20, 1877 original production première); Afternoon of a Faun (music by Claude Debussy, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, and a May 14, 1953 original production première); Balcony pas de deux from Roméo et Juliette (music by Sergei Prokofiev, Choreography by Jean-Christophe Maillot, and a December 23, 1996 original production première); and Aurora’s Wedding from The Sleeping Beauty (music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Choreography by Ronald Hynd, after Marius Petipa, and a January 15, 1890 original production première).
Your Hedonista attended Friday’s press night as media. The PNB’s new Music Director/Principal Conductor, Emil de Cou, is fabulous. (He assumed this position at the start of the 2011-2012 season.) This production gives a glimpse of the many facets of love and attraction, from the unrequited to the satisfied, from the dreams coming true to merely dream sequences. Although all of these duet-focused performances were gorgeous, the real show-stopper that night was the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake, performed by PNB principal dancers Lucien Postlewaite and Carrie Imler: it evoked a standing ovation from many of its attendees.
Remaining shows are 7:30 p.m. performances this Thursday, Friday, Saturday, November 10th-12th as well as at 1:00 p.m. this Sunday, November 13th, 2011. Ticket prices range from $28 to $168.