Pacific Northwest Ballet's Stanko Milov's Creations
by Dean Speer and Francis Timlin
We were able to catch up with the busy and creative Stanko Milov during Pacific Northwest Ballet’s preparation for their new production of “Roméo et Juliette.” This is an edited version of that animated conversation.
It’s been a while since you were interviewed by Criticaldance.com –you spoke with Toba Singer during PNB’s London tour of a few years back. Catch us up on what projects you’re working on and what’s new.
The most exciting thing has been the birth of our new baby daughter in August. Who is, of course, the cutest!
I’m making a suite of dances for next month’s “Simple Measures” music program. Rajan Krishnaswami, the Founder and Artistic Director, approached me about making a Valentine project in dance. I asked Julie Tobiason (a former PNB Principal Dancer) to be a part of it, and she agreed. Rajan picked the music, and one of the pieces will be a movement from the famous Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, which is what the medley will end with. I wanted to explore the various aspects of a relationship, showing contrasting emotions. “Simple Measures” is performed in different venues, and in this case, it will be in the round and is a perfect opportunity.
The New Orleans Ballet Association is doing a series of ballets and bringing in dance companies to perform at Tulane University. New Orleans lost one of its best theatres during Hurricane Katrina and they’ve put together this series which is one year-long benefit. Complexions is part of this series as well as Aspen Sante Fe Ballet. I’m bringing eight dancers from PNB and we’ll be doing “Apollo” and the pas de deux from “Diamonds.” It’s May 9 to 10. Everyone has been so great with helping out – Francia [Russell] is helping set “Apollo.” We’re finishing with Ulysses Dove’s “Red Angels.” The program is billed as “Absolute Ballet!”
Here, we are excited about the premiere of the new production of “Roméo et Juliette” which debuts at the end of the month. I’m doing Friar Laurence and also Paris. It uses the innovative concept of having the events unfold in the memory of the Friar – it’s his retrospective, and it’s his “voice” throughout the story. It’s definitely a contemporary concept from the sets to the swords (there aren’t any!) It’s very theatrical – more theatrical than balletic. I’m happy we’re using the Prokofiev score, which I believe is one of the best ever written. You can easily hear the poetry of the story in the music as it unfolds.
I’m composing some new music and creating dance to it as well for our choreography showcase. It will be a character study of a particular dancer and will probably be about 20 minutes with a cast of 11.
I teach in the PNB School and it’s something I’m really committed to. I like to give back and it’s great we have so many boys!
One of my favorite recent ballets has been Dove’s “Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven” and I was so pleased when Peter [Boal] brought it into our repertory. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
Any last comments you’d like to make?
I believe one way to keep the arts alive is through outreach performances. It is important to give back and connect with the audience. Seattle has evolved into a very sophisticated audience!