M-Pulse, one of New Works’ world premiers, featured a tribal, percussion-heavy score by Christina Spinei and choreography by Kiyon Gaines. Gaines received his ballet education at the School of American Ballet. At the school, Gaines met Peter Boal, PNB’s Artistic Director. “It’s interesting that some people see movement when they hear music. I see colors,” said Gaines in an interview with Ballet Dance Magazine in 2006. The colors shined in the piece’s costumes and set, which resembled peacocks and leopards. So perhaps Gaines saw green, blue, and spots while choreographing.
New York City Ballet dancer/choreographer Benjamin Millepied contributed the choreography for the world premier, 3 Movements. According to New York Guides, Millepied has gotten a great deal of inspiration from the work of choreographer Jerome Robbins. 3 Movements’ choreography resembles Robbins’ minimalist, modern style, but is still full of its own surprises.
PNB premier, A Garden, was choreographed by Seattle native Mark Morris. Morris has proved to be a prolific choreographer and entrepreneur. In 1980, he formed The Mark Morris Dance Group, and has choreographed over 120 pieces. A Garden had a plain blue background, plain costumes, and was, on the whole, a rather predictable, cleanly done production.
In One Flat Thing, fourteen dancers crawl, swing from, sit on, and gymnasticize around twenty metal tables. The tuneless music to which the piece is choreographed resembles the sounds one would hear at a construction site. William Foiursythe pushed the limits of what is typically considered ballet with One Flat Thing.
Pacific Northwest Ballet has done 44 new works since 2005. “All of what we love about ballet is born of the opportunity to create and experiment.” said Peter Boal in the New Works’ director’s note.
Only time will tell whether or not this “creation” and “experimentation” produces true classics.