Moisture Festival Is Raucous, Retro Fun for All

Review of Moisture Festival.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Erin Croom, and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson!

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Seattle’s own Moisture Festival labels itself a vaudeville variety show. But what exactly does that entail? In all honesty, even after attending the event myself, there is no easy answer. With dozens upon dozens of acts in the festival as a whole, and an outlandish lineup of comedians, acrobats, clowns, and more, each show in the four-week run is a unique collection. The lineup caters to all audiences: there are family-friendly shows in the evenings and more risqué performances later in the night.

The festival’s home, Hale’s Palladium, is a brightly painted structure on the backside of the modern and hip Hale’s Brewery. At its entrance, we were greeted by a man in a gaudy orange astronaut costume and a nametag labeling him Zee. Zee scanned our tickets with a smartphone app—the last piece of modern technology we would see for the duration of this event—and ushered us inside. The Palladium is a much humbler and informal venue than such a name might suggest, with an exposed wood ceiling studded with lights of all kinds stretching over many rows of chairs facing a low stage. An acrobat’s swing is tied up in the rafters, foreshadowing acts to come.

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When A Mother Outlives Her Son

Review of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater by Early Music Seattle and Whim W'Him.

Written by Teen Editor Hannah Schoettmer, and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla!

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The Catholic Mass is generally structured around the reading and interpretation of a passage from the Bible. At many of the churches I’ve attended, there’s a service after the Sunday Mass for the kids, where they lead you into a classroom and break down the scripture, as well as teach you the general tenants of Catholicism.

It was in these Sunday school settings that I was first presented with an interpretation of the Virgin Mary. She was said to be a feminine ideal, a figure of compassion and mercy. A Jewish girl selected to be Jesus’ mother due to her openness to God’s will, the Virgin Mary is often held up as a symbol of purity and goodness in humanity, as she was born into an ordinary family and lived an ordinary life up to her “choosing.”

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Stories through Movement, Stories through Expression

Review of CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work.

Written by Teen Editor Huma Ali, and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla!

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Going into CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and felt slightly intimidated. While I’m not entirely new to dance, having seen performances like the Nutcracker, I still classify myself as a dance newbie; I’m unfamiliar with the movements and lingo. However, I was pleasantly surprised to witness an event curated for people like me, with the purpose of presenting “accessible, creative work from artists that want to share their stories.” Bodies of Work offered an introduction to dance through eight captivating performances by various artists—allowing the audience to explore both the medium and their feelings regarding each piece.

The first piece, Lauren Horn’s Text Messages, consisted of Horn performing impressively rapid dance movements. She would elongate her arms and legs, crawling across the floor while intermittently reading text conversations between herself and her friends. It wasn’t exactly the dance movements that appealed to me in this piece, but rather the concept behind it. The story that Horn told—of texting her friends in a manner that would be funny (or weird) to anyone but those involved—was one that I could relate to on a personal level. I’ve undergone similar conversations that could only be understood by myself and the person with whom I was speaking because of both the oddity of the subject, and lack of context. As a result of such reflections, Horn’s work influenced the audience to think about technology’s role in their lives and their composure when behind a screen. Horn addressed the juxtaposition between face-to-face and face-to-screen communication by embodying dramatizations of topics over texts and emojis (through verbal and physical cues) in her piece. Although there were times in which the conversation was not understandable, the sheer weakness of the pronunciation a result of Horn’s breathlessness while dancing, the piece left a lasting impression and sparked a pondering question among the audience about our use of technology in this day and age.

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The Unspoken Geometry of Dying Languages

Review of Alonzo King's LINES Ballet at Meany Center for the Performing Arts.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Annika Prom, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Anya Shukla!

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Throughout the world, ancient languages are fading away at an alarming rate. Alonzo King’s Figures of Speech, performed by his LINES Ballet company, aimed to preserve these moribund dialects by conveying the struggle of maintaining each language’s culture. The ballet recently shared pieces of these dialects, which range from the provincial Hawai’ian language spoken by 27,200 people to the extinct Selk’nam language that has no known native speakers, with the Seattle community.

Bringing his San Francisco-based ballet ensemble to the UW’s Meany Hall, choreographer and artistic director Alonzo King collaborated with slam poet and linguistic advocate Bob Holman to present his latest pièce de résistance, Figures of Speech. The LINES Ballet explored the power behind lost languages, guiding the audience on a touching trek through the sound, movement, and shape of aboriginal languages.

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A Crystalline Tradition: PNB’s The Nutcracker

Review of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Camille Mauceri, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Huma Ali!

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While it may be controversial to begin the Christmas season so early, I began mine the evening of November 23rd, opening night of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s The Nutcracker. The result of which was a distinct and familiar feeling of jovial warmth—a near impossible emotion to leave McCaw Hall without.

Various candy-inspired photo booths and guests dressed in formalities, ranging from hipster-dressy to black tie, paraded the lobby anticipating the show. The show is inherently a family event, as evidenced by the many children wandering about. It is certainly the least intimidating ballet for new viewers due to its palatable familial storyline; an excellent way to scratch the surface of what can often feel like an inaccessible art form.

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Dust off Your Sugarplums: The Nutcracker is Back!

​This holiday tradition can be yours for just $5.

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As all you old school TeenTixers know, Pacific Northwest Ballet's wildly popular Nutcracker ballet is the ONLY PNB show ALL YEAR that is NOT TeenTix eligible.

HOWEVER, because they love us so much, PNB always puts aside a little stash of TeenTix tickets for one day of Nutcracker each year. It is an AMAZING, annual tradition that draws teens from far and wide. YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS IT!!

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What Happens When You Give Dancers A Say?

Review of Whim W'Him's Choreographic Shindig IV, written by Teen Editorial Staff Member Anya S, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Hannah S!
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I used to be a dancer. When I danced, however, I never felt closely connected with what I was asked to perform. Sure, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty were classics, but their stories didn’t represent my identity. I didn’t feel that my dancing reflected who I was.

At Whim W’Him’s Choreographic Shindig IV, however, the company could choose pieces and choreographers that reflected them. For the Choreographic Shindig IV, the dancers chose three choreographers—Alice Klock, Brendan Duggan, and Omar Román de Jesús. These artists, using the dancers’ input, created three 20-minute pieces: "Before After," "Stephanie Knows Some Great People," and "Welcome to Barrio Ataxia." Klock’s piece, "Before After," dealt with the death of one world and the birth of the next. It began with the end: a spotlight illuminated a soloist clad in grey, slowly rubbing his hands together. He then moved about the space, clearly suffering. When he was spent, he collapsed to the ground. His death sharply contrasted with what came next. Two dancers, wearing green, created life through fluid extensions and expansive gestures, their movements reminiscent of youthful deer running across a field.

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RSVP for Choreographic Shindig!

​Whim W'Him is offering a special deal for this highly anticipated annual event!

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See the newest installation of this Whim W'Him staple: Choreographic Shindig is back and better than ever!

TeenTix Members are encouraged to reserve up to 4 tickets for you and all your friends for this event (a rare chance to snag seats in advance with your TeenTix pass!) so don't delay - fill out this form now to see the show on one of the following dates:

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THROWBACK: Three Teen Takes on PNB’s One Flat Thing

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When Pacific Northwest Ballet premiered William Forsythe's One Flat Thing Reproduced in 2008 it caused quite a stir, polarizing audiences and prompting questions about what defines "ballet." In early versions of the Press Corps, teen reviewers tackled the debut of One Flat Thing. Read these impressions from 10 years ago, then go see it for yourself! The piece has been remounted this weekend in PNB's Director's Choice program! "Calculated Chaos" By Greta R.

A dancer's leg kicks upward at the exact moment that an adjacent dancer's arm shoots outward and hand clenches; the two are divinely connected for this second, before their bodies twist in different directions. Every limb of every dancer is on a pivot, malleable and boneless as the dancers navigate a grid of 20 metal tables that they themselves pushed onto the stage in a charging herd. A pelvis juts and a skin turns itself inside out as numerous bodies malfunction like broken toys rewired with a mistaken circuit. This calculated chaos is contained in the sounds of a long-forgotten arcade game, one that hums and whirs and occasionally remembers how to simulate a booming crash.

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Get Your Sugarplums On

​PNB loves you.
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As all you old school TeenTixers know, Pacific Northwest Ballet's wildly popular Nutcracker ballet is the only PNB show all year that is not TeenTix eligible. However, because they love us so much, PNB always puts aside a little stash of TeenTix tickets for one Nutcracker performance each year. It is an amazing, annual tradition that draws teens from far and wide. You won't want to miss it.

And this year, there's a new Nutcracker in town. PNB’s production of George Balanchine's Nutcracker features all new sets and costumes designed by children’s author and illustrator Ian Falconer (Olivia the Pig). This year's TeenTix-able Nutcracker show is Sunday, December 27th, 2015 at 5:30 PM.

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A Graceful Collision Between New and Old

A review* of PNB's Emergence by Jessamyn G.
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I am so thankful for the opportunity to go to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Emergence. The program featured four contrasting pieces, each of which were incredibly unique, and brought a different tonality to the theater.

To begin the program, the curtain opened up to a piece titled Sum Stravinsky choreographed by Kiyon Gaines, that made its world premiere in 2012. I found it to be an excellent way to introduce the program. It is exactly what one imagines when they think of ballet–while the following pieces were extraordinarily unique and contemporary. The set and costumes are composed of shades of blue, and have a sort of delicacy to them. The dancers movements feel newly classic and youthful. I got a sense of innocence and nostalgia watching this piece.

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Living Up to Its Status

​Review of Swan Lake at Pacific Northwest Ballet by Mobird

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A classic work of art, Swan Lake is heartrending and technically complex, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet is well up to the challenge of this amazing performance. With music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who also composed The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, as well as complementary choreography by Kent Stowell, this is a masterful, well-choreographed, and well-rehearsed performance.

Carla Körbes is stunning in the dual role of Odette, the swan’s princess, and Odile, the daughter of the villainous Baron von Rothbart. This is also one of her last performances with PNB, as she is retiring at the end of the season. Körbes' lines and control of her body are sensual and breathtaking. She makes holding an on-pointe arabesque for more than 15 seconds look like the easiest thing in the world. She makes even the hardest moves look easy.

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Millenial Movement

​Review of Splurge Land at On the Boards by Kali Swenson

Splurge Land sets an unfortunately familiar scene: a contemporary house party. It could be a no-parents-home situation, a typical Friday night in college, or just some young adults trying to have a good time. There’s smoking, drinking, body-flaunting, Instagramming, a bag of chips, loud electronic music, and—of course—dancing.

Kate Wallich/The YC dance through the late-night narrative of the post-net generation, one whose good times appear all the better because there are hashtagged photos to prove it. Yet, there’s an ominous feeling to Splurge Land that never quite goes away. The supposed fun never surpasses the bleak means of trying for it.

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Avoid the Rain with a Trip to Spain

​Review of Don Quixote at Pacific Northwest Ballet by Charlotte P.

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Is the cold winter weather getting you down? Well, Pacific Northwest Ballet has provided the perfect solution. Take a trip to warm, sunny Barcelona with PNB’s Don Quixote. The production, choreographed by world-famous choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, captures the passion of Spain with an undertone of Russian classicism.

Based on Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s literary masterpiece Don Quixote, the ballet is an energetic spectacle that draws out laughter from the very beginning. Although entitled Don Quixote, the Don (and his portly sidekick Sancho Panza) plays a minimal part in the action aside from his journey to find his true love, Dulcinea. The majority of the plot follows the escapades of Kitri, a feisty Spanish girl, and Basilio, her lover, around Barcelona in escape from Kitri’s father, who wants her to marry the ridiculous, but wealthy, Gamache.

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Love It Again for the Last Time

​Review of Nutcracker at Pacific Northwest Ballet by Catherine Y.

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What better way to celebrate the holiday season than to see Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Sendak and Stowell’s Nutcracker? It is truly a one-of-a-kind show that the entire family can enjoy.

The classic is brought to life with vivid backdrops and bright ruffled dresses that transport the audience straight to Nuremburg to find festivities in full swing on Christmas Eve in the Stahlbaum home.

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Shining Bright

​Review of Jewels at Pacific Northwest Ballet by Megan R.

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The show starts off with a bang — or rather, with a timpani. With the glittering curtain still down, the sound of Tchaikovsky soars from the orchestra pit and fills the concert hall. Then the curtain lifts and more then a dozen dancers come into view. As they leap and twirl across the stage, the dancers, dressed in sparkly bodices and flowing green skirts, truly become jewels.

Jewels at Pacific Northwest Ballet doesn’t set out to tell a story. When it premiered in 1967, George Balanchine’s Jewels became the first full-length plotless ballet and its three parts — “Emeralds,” “Rubies,” and “Diamonds” — are linked only by their jewel-toned costumes.

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A Magical Storybook Come to Life

​Review of Giselle at Pacific Northwest Ballet

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If a magical fairy came up and dumped fairy dust TNT on your favorite childhood storybooks, you’d have Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Giselle. With swirling romance, fierce jealousy, and stage effects to make every person “Ooh” and “Ahh,” you’ll be wondering how PNB pulled off this magical classic.

The story of Giselle is short and sweet: Rich guy likes girl. They fall in love. She finds out he’s rich. She dies from shock and becomes a ballerina zombie. And a bunch of sad stuff happens. PNB manages to turn this simple story into an elegant and captivating performance worthy of the word “beautiful” in every sense.

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One Doesn’t Need a Magic Flower to Fall in Love

​Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Pacific Northwest Ballet

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The story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is complex. There are kings and queens, fairies, multiple love stories, magic spells, and a character whose head is replaced with that of a donkey’s. As if reading Shakespeare’s own original work wasn’t difficult enough, Pacific Northwest Ballet has taken on the fanciful tale in an even more challenging way: wordlessly. With music by Felix Mendelssohn and choreography by George Balanchine, the PNB company manages to share the Bard’s mystical comedy through ballet.

Act one begins in a forest of dreams. The elaborate set of this production is astounding. At times the forest is full is luscious pink roses and ballerinas portraying fairies and butterflies dance below them. A giant green tree frog watches over the forest dwellers. Of course, a magic flower, which causes anyone sprinkled with its pollen to fall in love with the next person they see, grows in a world like this.

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