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February 2, 1998


Innovative choreography highlights PNB's third program

  by Deborah Stone
   Three world premieres; "Ruby, My Dear," "Diversions" and "III For V" take the stage along with "Ginastera," a Seattle premiere, in Pacific Northwest Ballet's third program of its 25th anniversary season.
   Featuring music by famed jazz composer Thelonious Monk, performed by an eleven piece live jazz ensemble, audiences are in for a highly rhythmic ballet with Lynn Dally's "Ruby, My Dear." Dally brings her noted tap and jazz style and sets it to dancers on point. Engaging rhythms with a mixture of be-bop, blues and ballads challenge the dancers to complex steps and speed. The result is a performance bursting with style and attitude.
   "III For V," choreographed by PNB School faculty member Bruce Wells, is set against a backdrop of clouds and performed to the music of Maurice Ravel. Five dancers appear to move effortlessly with a supreme lightness of being as they perform three romantic movements. "Ginastera" is an abstract ballet by Dutch choreographer Rudi van Dantzig, and it was chosen by PNB especially to showcase the company's male dancers. Although they exhibited some unevenness in parts, the eight men featured looked strong and moved gracefully in a series of groupings and partnerships. The piece is intricate and challenging, yet lacks connection and warmth.
   "Diversions," by PNB principal dancer Paul Gibson, completes the program. Featuring music by Morton Gould, it is jazzy, sensual and playful. Dancers let loose and truly convey a sense of wild and reckless abandonment. They move with expression and passion, bringing out the deep feeling in the music. The air is charged with excitement up until the last moment of this energetic, non-stop piece. It's a perfect finale to a highly innovative program. PNB's Program III runs through Feb. 7. For ticket information, call 206-292-ARTS.