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 Post subject: Pacific Northwest Ballet: November 2005 Program
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 2:21 pm 
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Pacific Northwest Ballet's November 2005 program, subtitled "Past, Present and Future," opens November 3 at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle. Three old favorites ("Concerto Barocco," " Jardi Tancat," and Hail to the Conquering Hero) and one new work ("Mopey," choreographed to C. P. E. Bach and The Cramps by Marco Goecke). Here is a link to the program information on the PNB website:

Past, Present and Future


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:37 am 
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In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, R. M. Campbell interviews choreographer Marco Goecke about "Mopey," a twelve-minute solo about an angry teenager in his room:

Seattle P-I


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 1:04 pm 
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Jim Demetre reviews the program in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Scroll past the Symphony review that appears first:

Seattle P-I


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 2:08 pm 
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Corps member Kiyon Gaines is interviewed by Rosemary Jones in the Queen Anne News as a preview to the Past, Present and Future program, onstage through Sunday, November 13:

Queen Anne News


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:41 am 
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Brangien Davis reviews the performance in the Seattle Times:

Seattle Times


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:23 am 
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Roger Downey provides us with his piquant perspective in the Seattle Weekly:

Seattle Weekly


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:53 pm 
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Alright, I have a confession to make. I'm really embarrassed to admit this... but I lost my program notes and casting sheet... again! It's probably on a chair in Ten Mercer or in one of the many nooks and crannies in the suite at the Hilton. It's hard to stay focused with so many distractions...

So, going from memory, the piece I enjoyed seeing most on the program was the controversial solo called "Mopey," by German enfant terrible Marco Goecke. Not to say mind you that it was a work I enjoyed seeing, at least not in its entirety. I liked having "Mopey" on the program because it opens an otherwise traditional audience to something simply outrageous that attempts to push the envelope defining "ballet." Unfortunately, in my personal opinion, it didn't push that envelope far enough -- the piece looked too much like Jiri Kylian-light. And even the basic entertainment value presented through wit and humor in the first few minutes wore off quickly and it became tedious to watch. So, Mr Boal scores points with me with the programming but Mr Goecke intrigued me only mildly while corps dancer James Moore impressed me tremendously.

Speaking of Kylian, my favorite ballet of the evening was by his former protege, Nacho Duato. "Jardi Tancat" is one haunting and lyrical -- but in an earthbound sort of way -- piece of choreography. Olivier Wevers, Carrie Imler and Mara Vinson really dug in physically and passionately on this one. Knowing a bit of French and a bit of Spanish may have helped me understand the Catalonian a bit but the wailing and its intended emotions are all I could focus on.

It was nice to see Francia Russell, Kent Stowell and son Christopher in the audience admiring the company perform Russell's coaching of "Concerto Barocco" and the senior Stowell's "Hail to the Conquering Hero." The former was nearly impeccable -- no surprise there given Russell's coaching -- but Carla Korbes, in a principal part, gives an interesting interpretation. Even during her days at NYCB, I noticed her as being more fluid and less "lines-ey" compared to the regular NYCB dancers which was a good thing if you feel NYCB is too automaton-like. But at PNB -- where she should fit in better -- Korbes, in the mould of let's say Tamara Rojo, gives a new take to Balanchine in a "Balanchine-capable" company. The verdict is still out on that one. And I felt jipped I didn't get to see Patricia Barker in it. Due to some programming quirk -- which I hope the company will fix for the sake of long-time audiences -- she wasn't cast at all the second week (this reminds me of NYCB casting philosophy).

Now, I'm going to shock a few people here... I actually liked Stowell's "Hail...!" There I've said it! Of course, I liked it mainly from an eye (and ear) candy standpoint. Handel performed by this orchestra was a pure delight and the choreography was simple and elegant without much fuss, especially when danced by the elegant Christophe Maraval and the incredibly talented Louise Nadeau. The ending however can be cut for all I care. I have to apologize to the audience members within earshot when I groaned audibly at the sight of the corps parading onto the stage with plastic battery-powered lamp/candles... Urghh (makes me shiver just to think about it). And then I had to bite my tongue when they kneeled down towards the center of the stage. And then I stared in disbelief when Nadeau and Maraval had to negotiate their joined hands awkwardly over other dancers' heads.

Not surprising then that a long-time past patron who sat behind me in our box left before "Hail..." started -- I don't blame her. But the encouraging thing was she had come to the show to check out the new artistic direction and I would like to think because she had heard about "Mopey"...


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:37 pm 
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The Downey review appears to me to be a little over the top in term of its negativity. It nearly appears like a personal atttack. I wonder if we even saw the same program?

I will comment on Mopey. Although it wasn't my cup of tea, I am glad that I saw it and I am glad that our new Artisitc Director took the chance to show it. Whenever a dancer strives for excellence he or she must assume some risk. Whenever a new artisitc director comes to a company he/she also need to take some chances. Perhaps we audience members ( and critics ) can learn something here and embrace these changes, or at least appreciate the effort it takes to take these chances.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:01 am 
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Well Seasoned
Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Past, Present, and Future Program
November 5, 2005 Evening Show
McCaw Opera House
Seattle, Washington

by Dean Speer

Well, let’s cut to the chase and get to the “Mopey” topic right away. If, as Artistic Director Peter Boal has stated in post-performance talks, one of his goals in presenting new ballets is to get people talking about them, he has very successfully fulfilled this ambition with Marco Goecke’s “Mopey.” My own little group engaged in lively discourse for at least 45 minutes. By those criteria, this PNB solo premiere is a smash hit.

Danced with Joanthan Porretta’s 100 percent energy, focus, and artistic commitment, it’s built on a hand gesture motif that builds over the course of its 14-minute length and which takes it to unexpected and unusual places – a quick sit fall to the floor, the hand leading the torso and back in shaking, undulating, and jabbing reaches – and to moments both humorous and brooding. Goecke seems to be quite aware of building and structuring his piece. It’s not random. It’s much more developed in a sophisticated way than would appear at first glance, which might suggest that it’s a light and simple piece.

For all its newness, the piece did not go far enough for me. It could also be better titled. For the average ballet-goer who may not be familiar with modern dance, it could appear to be fairly radical. It certainly is a modern dance piece. I find myself coming back to a mantra that repeats how important it is for dancemakers to research and know about dance history. While Goecke’s movement experiments may be new to him and to some audience members, they are neither as fresh nor as ground-breaking as I would have liked for them to be. I look forward to a future group work by Mr. Goecke to see how it fits in with PNB’s repertory. Will it be something new or something newly-made?

“Concerto Barocco” on the other hand, is at the other end of the choreographic spectrum and is the oldest work (1941) on the program. Yet, no matter how often I see it, I find that it comes across as fresh and new, despite its familiarity. I’ve often said it’s a lesson in (ballet) choreography. Staged by Francia Russell, it’s been in the PNB canon for 27 years.

Kaori Nakamura as Violin 2 and Louise Nadeau as Violin 1 were well matched. Nakamura is a powerhouse of technique and attacks this bravura part with the kind of verve I find exciting. Technique is certainly no problem for Nadeau either and it’s great to see her expressive interpretation. Both make each step and pattern seem fresh, approaching the movement as if it’s being done for the first time.

A group modern dance made for ballet-trained dancers, Nacho Duato’s “Jardi Tancat” is a miniature gem of expression about our relationship to the Earth and our continuing struggle to survive and thrive in a rather harsh environment. The dancers beat the ground and rail against the gods in their attempt to reconcile their lives and their condition.

Among the best of Duato’s creations, it’s filled with Martha Graham (Graham “lite” – for they don’t really ‘contract’ and ‘release’) shapes and juxtapositions. Audiences LOVE this piece and, it’s no wonder given the taut and emotionally intense reading by the ensemble (Ariana Lallone with Jeffrey Stanton; Mara Vinson with Batkhurel Bold; Carrie Imler with Olivier Wevers). Stager Hilde Koch worked closely with each cast member over the course of a couple of weeks and this kind of detailed and careful coaching shows and clearly pays off.

Each dancer was totally fabulous and performed with an intensity that helped peal the layers of the work back and reveal what Martha like to call “The Inner Landscape.”

My first, gut reaction when the curtain went up on Kent Stowell’s “Hail to the Conquering Hero” was “It’s dated!” – and this was before anyone had moved a muscle. I think it was my reaction to the men’s tunics. I also have to remind myself that in 1985 the Company did not have the across-the-board depth that it now enjoys. I’ve always thought “Hail” to be one of Stowell’s best works and have always enjoyed it, so found myself a little surprised at my own response. Nevertheless, I did enjoy it and like the glimpse into Stowell’s mini-bio on Handel’s struggle to create that led to his amazing Messiah. (Handel being the Conquering Hero in the work’s title).

Christophe Maraval had everything right as the Hero of the opening number – fabulous technique and beautiful line coupled with an inner sense of this character’s suffering and triumph. Patricia Barker was radiantly cool and calm in the Xerxes pas de deux at the heart of the ballet. Her character calms and centers the creative impulses and pushes the Hero to create and inspire anew. Barker has been at a peak for the last several seasons and it’s great seeing her range as a dancer. Perfectly cast and bred in Balanchine ballets to something expressive like Stowell’s 20 year-old “Hail.” As impressive as the all-white set and lighting are, someone commented to me that a change of either one of these might make the piece seem less of the ‘80s and more visually relevant to what today’s discerning and discriminating ballet audiences want and expect.

Next on PNB’s dance card – the delicious Stowell/Sendak “Nutcracker!”

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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