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 Post subject: Pacific Northwest Ballet: Jewels (June 2006)
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 5:16 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Pacific Northwest Ballet closes the 2005-06 season with Balanchine's "Jewels," June 1-11, 2006 at McCaw Hall in Seattle. Here is a link to the information on PNB's website:

Jewels

Casting is now available for June 1-3:

Jewels Casting


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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 1:44 pm 
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Carole Beers previews "Jewels" in the King County Journal:

King County Journal


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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 10:24 am 
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In the Seattle Times, Moira Macdonald previews "Jewels," touches upon Patricia Barker's retirement at the end of the 2006-07 season and includes a bit of retrospective on the 2005-06 season, PNB's first under Peter Boal:

Seattle Times


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:42 pm 
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Reviews of the Thursday, June 1, 2006 opening performance of "Jewels" in the Seattle Press.

R. M. Campbell in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Seattle P-I

Moira Macdonald in the Seattle Times:

Seattle Times

Carole Beers in the King County Journal:

King County Journal


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:29 pm 
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Roger Downey in the Seattle Weekly:

Seattle Weekly


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:34 pm 
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Bob Hicks ran a "road trip: Seattle" piece in the Oregonian that is part "Jewels" teaser, part tribute to Patricia Barker:

Oregonian


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:26 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
PNB's "Jewels" was a whole lot better than I expected! More later. Really. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:02 am 
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Location: Bremerton, Washington, U.S.
Obviously, you didn’t set your expectations high enough! PNB is the crown jewel of the Emerald City (puns intended) and, with some good choreography, the dancers are fully capable of satisfying our highest expectations. The two audiences I was a part of were also very enthusiastic, more so than any other audience I was a part of all season long (that includes the popular Valentine program). Part of that enthusiasm was probably due to the contrast between Jewels and some of the “controversial” modern dance pieces performed earlier in the season. Also, two-thirds of the Jewels program was new to PNB audiences and seeing a Balancine work for the first time is a rare treat. And, of course, we had our first opportunity to savor one of Patricia Barker’s last performances following her announcement that she will retire in a year. Combine that with spectacular dancing and it’s easy to understand the audiences’ enthusiasm for PNB’s Jewels. I’m glad you could join us and share our enthusiasm for a wonderful program.

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Roger Miller


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:33 pm 
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Hello, Roger. Quite right that I set my expectations on the low side, being not only had most of the company not dance all three works, including "Rubies," but also had not even seen them performed! But did they sizzle! Besides talent, the biggest reason is because of their training -- this is where they have one leg up (pun not intended) -- on other companies besides NYCB when it comes to performing Balanchine rep.

But even with lowered expectations prior to the program, my bar (again pun not intended) was set very high, as it usually is once the curtain rises. The opening night performance wasn't as I would have liked to have seen these series of ballets danced. I thought the subtle poignancy of "Emeralds" was lost. I thought "Rubies" was overly wrought. And the corps was a tad too messy in "Diamonds."

Over the course of four performances and three casts however (and especially after the reported departure of stager Elyse Borne), the company seemed much more at ease, with many of the strange choreographic "stylistings" removed -- I am referring to such things as the loud feet thumping by the lead man in "Rubies."

Once again, my stars for the performances were the orchestra, led by Allan Dameron and Stuart Kershaw, with the very accomplished Dianne Chilgren on the piano for "Rubies."

Of the dancers, there are so many to like. So I will have to be unfair and mention only a few.

Louise Nadeau and Christophe Maraval grew on me in "Emeralds." I thought they did a much better job eventually capturing the melancholic nuances of a summer romance. Maria Chapman thought caught my attention, first among the three soloists on opening night and then less obviously as the second lead in the first weekend's only matinee.

Kaori Nakamura and Jonathan Porretta lit up "Rubies" in a hugely spectacular way in the opener but I much preferred their more toned down and less noisy interpretation Saturday night. And I was thrilled to see corps member Lindsi Dec ease into the tall girl role and then made it her own. She has terrific lines which hopefully we'll get to see more of.

Then there was "Diamonds," with Patricia Barker leading the way. She has all the hallmarks of a princess, elegantly projected through to the end even after very exhausting dancing. Her performance is one of the few I can think of in recent memory that has married strength with charm. Carla Korbes brings a different and more alluring presentation. She seduces audiences with suppleness that belies her strength. With the right coaching, she can be the next superstar. Of the men cast in this ballet, only Stanko Milov's poise fit my idea of a prince. This is probably an area the company needs to hire for...

Of the corps performances, Kari Brunson stood out for me in "Rubies" and "Diamonds." Leslie Rausch was ideal in "Diamonds" but strangely stiff in "Rubies" where I expected her to excel. James Moore has an attack that suit him well especially in "Rubies" but also in "Diamonds."

I wish I could have gone back to the second week to see who "Emeralds" in particular turned out but the World Cup beckoned...


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:17 am 
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John Rockwell paid a visit to our region last weekend for performances of PNB in Seattle and OBT in Portland. His "Jewels" commentary is included in his omnibus review in the New York Times:

NY Times


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:22 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
Talent’s Treasure Trove
Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Jewels”
Saturday, 3 June (evening show) and Friday, 9 June 2006
Seattle, Washington

by Dean Speer

Great pressure over time creates precious jewels such as diamonds. In ballet, it’s the needed pressure of melding time, talent, technique and artistry so that the burnished product is as fully realized fairly quickly in order that the bright stars of ballet may have careers as long as possible – and for their adoring public to be able to equally enjoy them during their stage tenure.

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s premiere of Balanchine’s full-length abstract ballet “Jewels” presented two such diamonds in the shows that I caught. One brightly burning and nearing the conclusion of her performance career – Patricia Baker – and another making her first forays into the Van Cleef and Arpels-inspired role – Carla Körbes.

No less important are the beautiful French-perfumed Emeralds of the first section and the jazzy ‘American’ section with “Rubies.” The alchemy of the castings made for delightful and rich performances.

Patricia Barker really gave her considerable all. Steely strong, putting herself into every movement, attacking each phrase, such as the one with the piqué first arabesque turn with the right arm making a swirl and the head spotting the ceiling. She truly seemed to be enjoying herself, particularly during the conclusion of the pas de deux and the tutti Polonaise. Stanko Milov is a big mover and well proportioned to be a sympathetic partner with Barker.

Carla Köbes’ second performance in “Diamonds” was clearly phrased, nuanced, strong yet soft when needed. Jeffrey Stanton was her complementary partner who brought his considerable skills and experience as her consort. Stanton is a solid performer for whom we never have to sweat blood. His demonstration of his high level of technique relaxes the audience so we can enjoy the choreography and not worry about whether he’s going to make it through the thickets of demanding variations or tricky partnering.

If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn Louise Nadeau was French, as is her partner for the “Emeralds” pas de deux, Christophe Maraval. I know I caught the scent of Chanel as they intertwined and danced the sometimes limpid, sometimes sharp shapes of Balachine’s homage to things Gallic. In cyber-print, I’ve described Nadeau as ‘ravishing’ as this term is very à propos in this role.

Mara Vinson and Lucien Postlewaite were paired for “Emeralds” and they gave a solid performance. Both have amplitude of line and assurance. It’s clear that Postlewaite is a product of the PNB School – reliable technique, bright performance style, and an instinct for presenting beautiful line. Maria Chapman and Milov were teamed up for the second pas de deux and Chapman gave us an interpretation that was plastique, undergirded by her very strong pointes – her passe pied and piqué into her final pose before running off downstage left were bouncy, impressive and just right.

Ever since Dance Magazine came out with calling her “One, Hot Ballerina,” I’ve taken great pleasure in repeating that label of Ariana Lallone. It’s certainly apt and particularly in a part like the “tall girl” in “Rubies.” Fabulous gams – and she uses them so magnificently! This part is like a queen bee who knows what she’s doing and why. Her exit phrase of moving into quick grand pliés in second and a shift into arabesque penché was exciting.

No less impressive in the same part was Carrie Imler, whose joy of speed and attack of allegro were delicious.

Kaori Nakamura and Jonathan Porretta were hot, hot, hot and cool fun in the central pas de deux of “Rubies” first made for Patricia McBride and Edward Villella. Until Porretta’s quick turning emboîtés off (they increase in both speed and intensity), I had not seen anyone do these better or make them more exciting and virtuosic than had Robert Weiss when I first saw “Jewels” at NYBC in the mid-70s. The audience's cheering only added to the thrill.

The music for each section is some of the best and loveliest: Fauré for Emeralds; Stravinsky’s “Capriccio for piano and orchestra” for Rubies; and the last four movements of Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 3 in D Major” for Diamonds.

“Jewels” is a new treasure to PNB’s already rich repertory and one that heralded a sparkling and fitting conclusion to Peter Boal’s first year as Artistic Director.

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


Last edited by Dean Speer on Sun Jun 18, 2006 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 4:48 pm 
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Rosemary Jones reviews "Jewels" in the Queen Anne News (and eight other weekly community papers printed by Pacific Publishing):

Rosemary Jones review


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:46 pm 
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Jim Demetre reviews "Jewels" in his weblog:

Jim Demetre


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