Photo by Angela Sterling
The opening night of PNB’s All Balanchine Ballet, which is currently playing at McCaw Hall, consisted of three pieces of the famous choreographer George Balanchine’s work: Square Dance, Prodigal Son, and Ballet Imperial. Square Dance is a contemporary ballet with influences from 17th century court dance, American country dance, and classical ballet. Square Dance was staged by Peter Boal, and the two principal dancers were Jonathan Porretta and Noelani Pantastico. Prodigal Son tells the story of a young man lured away from his family by the promise of riches and a beautiful woman, only to find they were not what he had expected. Prodigal Son was staged by Richard Tanner and the son is performed by soloist Lucien Postlewaite, the siren is performed by principal dancer Ariana Lallone, and the father is performed by guest artist Otto Neubert. The last piece, Ballet Imperial is a stunning classical ballet with definite Russian Ballet influence. Ballet Imperial was staged by Francia Russel and the lead couple was performed by principal dancers Kaori Nakamura and Batkhurel Bold, with the second ballerina being performed by principal dancer Mara Vinson.
The first piece of the night was Square Dance which was set to music by Antonia Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli. The piece was very light and fun, while stilling having lots of technical work that the dancers performed flawlessly. Noelani Pantastico seemed to effortlessly float across the stage, livening up the whole performance. While Jonathan Poretta had flawless technical work with powerful lifts and smooth jumps. The corps de ballets timing was impeccable and every single dancer knew all the right steps. All together it was a fresh ballet with very modern choreography, yet it somehow seemed to be reminiscent of classical ballet. The scenery and costumes were very simple but they seemed to add a certain air to the performance that could almost make you believe that the dancers just created the ballet while they were practicing.
After a brief intermission, Prodigal Son began. Prodigal Son tells a story about a man who leaves his father and his family after being lured away by false friends. The friends lead him to a tent where a siren is waiting; she and her helpers strip the son of all of his belongings and leave him to find his own way back to his family. Prodigal Son provides and interesting mix of sultry duets, grotesque foot stomping performances, and angry solos. Ariana Lallone performed beautifully as the beautiful yet wicked siren, while Lucien Postlewaite performed flawless jump after flawless jump, never missing a single step. The scenery was beautifully painted and gave the audience the feeling of being right there in the same place as the dancers.
The last piece of the night, Ballet Imperial was the most stunning of the three. The scenery transported you to the palaces and royal court of Europe centuries ago, and the costumes were magnificent, with sparkling tiaras and beautiful tutus. The corps de ballet performed the timing and choreography perfectly. While the lead couple seemed to be made for each other, they performed stunning duets, as well as dancing beautifully with the rest of the ensemble. The part of the second ballerina performed by Mara Vinson had very difficult technical work which Mara performed gracefully with seemingly no effort at all. Overall the Ballet Imperial is a gorgeous ballet that is sure to delight all audience members.
From the moment the audience arrived in McCaw Hall the staff were always right there to help with whatever anyone needed, they were all very knowledgeable and helpful. McCaw Hall its self is a wonderful site to see, from the sparkling light curtains hanging outside, to the subtle water fountain that flows over the tiles, to the intricate sculpture hanging down over the staircase. The audience varied from young teenagers to middle-aged people. The attire of everyone attending varied from a simple jeans and a t-shirt, to the graceful floor length gowns of some of the patrons. The atmosphere was very relaxed and cheerful. The audience clapped for long periods of time as frequently as possible and the dancers appeared glow after their performances. Overall, The Pacific Northwest Ballet’s All Balanchine is a wonderful show and a must see for everyone, no matter how experienced you are with the arts.
Delaney M., age 15
Rep I: All Balanchine
Pacific Northwest Ballet
September 20 – 29
More info and show times: www.pnb.org
PNB’s Ticket Office: 206-441-2424
Ticket Office Hours: Weekdays 10 a.m. – show time, weekends 90 minutes before show time
Pacific Northwest Ballet is located in McCaw Hall Seattle Opera, 321 Mercer Street, on the north edge of Seattle Center. It is served by buses 1,2,3,4,13,14,15,16,18,45,74 and 82. For bus schedules: tripplanner.metrokc.gov
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