Ballet Is Not Boring

Review of Director's Choice at Pacific Northwest Ballet by Julie H.

When the lights come on, you are staring at a huge piece of graph paper as the background. Then people start coming in to a New York City metro station. They do not seem to notice one another, just crossing the stage. Suddenly they all stop at the exact same time, like someone just hit the pause button. Then the play button is pushed and they are back in action. Just like that.

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Carla Körbes and Batkhurel Bold in Jerome Robbins’ Glass Pieces
Photo by Angela Sterling

This happens over and over, getting you wondering when it is going to happen next. Then, in the background, a line of dancers weave perfectly to the music, taking their time to cross the stage, starting with just one person. It feels so real that you have to resist the urge to go up there and start dancing with them. The music becomes louder and the dancing intensifies, then they just…well you will have to wait and see.

This is Glass Pieces, choreographed by Jerome Robbins, with music by Phillip Glass, the final of four astounding dances included in this year’s season-opening Director’s Choice program at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

(L-R) Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers Josh Spell, Kylee Kitchens, James Moore and Chalnessa Eames in Jiri Kylian’s Sechs Tänze (Six Dances)
Photo by Angela Sterling

In Six Dances, which is choreographed by Jiri Kylian to the music of Mozart, we travel back in time to two centuries ago, where all we live for are powdered wigs and the comedy within them. You may think that ballet+Mozart=boring, but that does not seem to be the case in Six Dances. The music and dancing start off slow, and as they get faster, the comedy intensifies. The dancers feel the music and are matched beautifully by the orchestra in the pit. The dance finishes up with a bubble shower that reminded me of the wackiness and wonder of being little. It can’t help but put a smile on your face.

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Carrie Imler and Olivier Wevers in Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat
Photo by Angela Sterling

The dance that follows intermission, Jardí Tancat, choreographed by Nacho Duanto, starts off with no music. The dancers have to be in sync with only the beats in their head; there are no musical cues to help them. This I found pretty amazing. The dance is a story about the people who work on the land praying to God for rain to come. Choosing this style of inspiration for a dance tends to be a hit or miss but, in this case, the clever choreography communicates the story clearly.

Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort
Photo by Angela Sterling

Director’s Choice is fun for all ages and will please lovers of all different dance styles of dance, from theatre to ballet to contemporary.

Director's Choice
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Through October 3

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