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 Post subject: Patricia Barker Tribute
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 10:42 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
For Every Swan, A Song
Patricia Barker’s Farewell to the PNB Stage

by Dean Speer

When I got the news that someone who had once worked in our office – and who had gone on to a very impressive singing career in opera – had retired earlier this year, at what I consider to be much too young, I promptly went into a blue funk.

I’ve been dreading Patricia Barker’s “Farewell” event for awhile. Now that it’s nearly upon us, I’m strengthening my resolve to courageously meet and greet the passing of her talent from the PNB boards. Each time someone leaves the stage, it’s a loss to the art and to the greater public, regardless of the reason(s) for doing so.

Barker’s 26 years at PNB nearly spans the entire history of the organization. Their legacies are intertwined. We can hope that perhaps there will be some passing along of that legacy to aspirant talent through teaching and coaching.

Certainly one of the hallmarks she has impressed on our memories is that of her brilliant technique. Also, her ability to step – literally – out of the box of typecasting and to embrace many styles and choreographic visions, in new work and old, and her clear love of dancing. Her extension – that was scientifically measured – has given her an impressive range of motion in all directions. Those high-arched feet that once seemed almost bizarre but now seem normal and are now the envy of every ballerina (and ballerino). An overall dancing facility that has raised the ballet barre.

Some of my favorite roles of hers have included Titania in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” – how her duet with the smitten Bottom is a testimony to artistic humor; any of the ‘leotard” Balanchine works – for which she is bred and in which she appears most comfortable; works that have challenged her such as ‘Aurora’ in “Sleeping Beauty;” new works that were either created with her as a part of the original cast or works that were brought to PNB and added to the repertory.

Often asked about Barker’s longevity on the stage, Francia Russell once observed that, “She does what she needs to do to take care of herself. She never misses class...” It’s clear she brings intelligence, dedication and diligence to the workplace, and glamour to the public. We’ll miss her style and quick wit.

We have enjoyed your dancing and have gained insight from your performances – into both you and ourselves – to a considerable degree. We wish for your future to be as bright.

Thank you, Patty!

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 11:59 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA,USA
I went to her scholarship fund raising dinner the other nght where she was able to raise $169,000 for a Washngton -based student to attend PNB. What a lovely gift that she leaves to PNB. She is such a great spokesperson and role model that I suspect this won't be the last we hear of Patricia Barker. I think PNB's loss is going to be the Pacific Nothwest's gain.


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 11:03 am 
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Has she announced what her plans will be after retirement? Since she is such a good ambassador for the art, I would hate to see her leave it entirely.


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 11:59 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
An item in the June 2007 issue of Seattle Magazine:

Seattle Magazine


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 12:37 pm 
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Love that picture. Dancer after my own heart.


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 9:45 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Here is a link to the program announcement on the PNB website:

Patricia Barker Tribute

See the link below for casting information:

Casting


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Matthew wrote:
I went to her scholarship fund raising dinner the other nght where she was able to raise $169,000 for a Washngton -based student to attend PNB. What a lovely gift that she leaves to PNB. She is such a great spokesperson and role model that I suspect this won't be the last we hear of Patricia Barker. I think PNB's loss is going to be the Pacific Nothwest's gain.


Matthew, the May 12 event at the Fairmont's Spanish Ballroom was indeed an incredible evening -- to be able to raise $169,000 in one night is an amazing feat. No wonder Ms Barker welled up as she delivered her thank you speech, and that in itself was worth the price of admission. And, having the DQs (the four Drama Queens; Dec, Brunson, Gilbreath and Lowenberg, the long-legged dancers who form Barker's closest friends in the company) also well up during their speech was almost too much to take.

It was a very enjoyable evening, not only in celebration of Patricia Barker but also to aid the fund that ultimately serves underserved kids.

Bravo to all! I'm glad I attended even though I didn't know I was until the night before... Ahem...


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:07 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
LMCtech wrote:
Love that picture. Dancer after my own heart.


Yeah, it's a picture worth showing here:

Image

Looks like professional surfing might be a viable second career? :wink:

And I love this opening paragraph:

Quote:
It’s easy to think of her as our Cinderella. The strikingly beautiful girl from Richland grew up to be one of the world’s foremost principal ballet dancers and, yes, married her prince (former principal dancer Michael Auer).


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:10 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Francis Timlin wrote:
Here is a link to the program announcement on the PNB website:

Patricia Barker Tribute


This promises to be a killer program. However, if you don't already have a ticket, you're probably out of luck as the show may have sold out a while ago. And, I've already given away my second ticket -- as a couple of close friends said this weekend, that extra ticket is worth a hot date. They're right!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:30 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
To see video action, select the "Video: Ballerina Says Goodbye" button in this link to an "Evening Magazine" article:

Evening Magazine

See also this interview which is appearing in a large number of weekly newspapers in the Seattle area:

Journal Newspapers


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:35 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the Sunday Seattle Times/PI, Jolayne Houtz has a feature on Patricia Barker on the front page of the Arts & Entertainment section:

Patricia Barker Tribute

Also see the photo gallery which can be accessed from the same page.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:27 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Lynn Jacobson reviews the Patricia Barker Tribute program in the Seattle Times:

Seattle Times


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:23 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
It was simply a glorious night. The evening's performance without a doubt has sealed Patricia Barker among the highest tiers of ballerinas this country has produced.

I began to feel an acute sense of loss when former AD Francia Russell appeared on stage before the final ballet of the night to share her recollections of what made Barker extraordinary, not just as a dancer but also a human being. Following that speech, I and about everyone else in the audience just lost it when she bourreed away at the ending of the final act of "Swan Lake."

She is... was... the reigning princess of Seattle.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:53 am 
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R. M. Campbell reviews the performance in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Seattle P-I


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 63
Location: San Jose, CA, USA
I was part of a very fortunate audience that night. It was magical, almost like a dream. Patricia Barker was brilliant, she doesn't need to prove that she can tackle ANY role, so she didn't try. She just danced her heart out and left us all in tears, wishing she would never go away. Watching someone who is clearly still at the highest point of development and achievement, and knowing that she is retiring from PNB, was difficult. But I also believe that her best is yet to come. You can't have such an incandescent dancing career and then dissapear into the fog ... I don't know what her plans are, but I'm sure we will be hearing and mentioning her name for many years to come.


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