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 Post subject: Pacific Northwest Ballet School: Recital 2008
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:41 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, R. M. Campbell reviews the PNBS 2008 Recital, held on Saturday, June 14, 2008 at McCaw Hall in Seattle:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
The Way It Ought To Be
Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “School Performance”
4:00 p.m., 14 June 2008

by Dean Speer

The piece that Pacific Northwest Ballet should acquisition from the Balanchine Trust into its main company stable of ballets is the one its School students performed so admirably over this past weekend, during its 27th annual “School Performance” – “Cortège Hongrois.” It combines a “character” corps and principal couple with a “classical” corps and principal couple, in the “grand” ballet tradition.

I remember seeing this wonderful picture of Melissa Hayden that came out nationally when press was released announcing, one, her retirement in 1973 from the New York City Ballet and, two, of Mr. Balanchine’s making Cortège as an homage to her. The image that sticks in my mind is of the sheer joy and energy radiating from this senior ballerina – sharp on what was also her 50th birthday year. This same energy touched everything she did the year that she was artistic head of PNB (1976-77) – I too recall her slapping the floor of the studio with her hand, in order to get the right effect and technique going for assemblé. She showed the same energy, when many years later, she returned to the new PNB studios for a taping of her coaching some PNB dancers in a couple of Balanchine roles that she originated.

Emma Love and Sean Rollofson were the “character” principal couple and Margaret Mullin and Andrew Bartee were the “classical” pair. Except for a small slip in Bartee’s solo – and then he relaxed into his work – their pas de deux was quite nice.

Excerpts from Balanchine’s bon-bon creation, “Who Cares?” were staged by faculty members Melanie Skinner and Nicholas Ade and were strongly supported in their realization by pianist Donald A. Vollema. Each student danced with appropriate verve and clarity.

Sonia Dawkins’ new “Radio Broadway” was an okay vehicle but promised more that it delivered. She could have had a “wow!” piece on her hands had she allowed the choreography to happen and break loose – as it wanted to when the dancers were turned profile to stage left and began a canonic sequence that simply was crying to develop and burst out, but ultimately was re-directed and controlled into something else.

The training of PNB School students is as it ought to be: lucid, clean, each who are strong and who have facility built into their vocabulary. I’ve found that each year, the students, their fine dancing and performances are “balm for my eyes” – and this edition was no exception.

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Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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