Pacific Northwest Ballet – July '00

February 3, 2000

Pacific Northwest Ballet
Seattle Center Opera House

Seattle, Washington

February 3-12, 2000

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s February 3-12 program in its home venue at Seattle Center Opera House offered both classical and contemporary ballet. Each piece on the program, Ballet Imperial, Ginastera, and The Quilt, demanded lightening-quick, virtuoso dancing and the company easily delivered it.

Louise Nadeau, Jeffrey Stanton, and Kaori Nakamura gave gracious performances in the leading roles of Ballet Imperial, Balanchine’s extravagant tutu ballet replete with palatial scenes and courtly ambience. Nadeau’s inspired dancing, characterized by brilliant footwork and suggestive of superb strength in her feet, was particularly noteworthy. This production of Ballet Imperial, based on New York City Ballet’s 1964 version and staged here by Francia Russell, indeed captures the regal splendor of the original production.

Ginastera is an abstract piece, also with fast footwork, that was danced particularly well by the men in the company. This challenging dance with its off-center work and rapid-fire beats was a showcase for featured dancers Nicholas Ade and Christophe Maraval and the women they partnered, Ariana Lallone and Julie Tobiason. The dance is the creation of former Dutch National Ballet Artistic Director Rudi van Dantzig, and is set to the String Quartet No. 2 of Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera.

Lynn Taylor-Corbett’s profound The Quilt displayed the emotional range of this company. Inspired by the touring exhibit of a patchwork quilt whose individual squares memorialize people who have died of AIDS, this ballet is set to composer Benjamin Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge. In the ballet, Patricia Barker, dancing as a lone figure who weaves her way in and out of a crowd, exquisitely conveys a sense of loss. Barker’s ankle-fluttering bourrées are ever so quick and ghost-like. This emotional piece of love, loss, and regret also delivers breathtaking aerial displays by Paul Gibson and Seth Belliston.

Designer Randall G. Chiarelli’s large swaths of bright-colored fabric hang over the stage and descend to cover each dancer at the end. The dance serves as a powerful reminder.

Gigi Berardi