Northwest NEWS

March 29, 1999

Entertainment

PNB performs powerful program

by Deborah Stone

   After their successful London debut, Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers returned to Seattle and performed a powerful program of three works, which included Kevin O'Day's energetic Aract, Nacho Duato's riveting Rassemblement, and George Balanchine's classical Theme and Variations.

   Set to the music of English composer Graham Fitkin, Aract is inventive and abstract, merging traditional ballet movements with the streetwise movements of O'Day's childhood. There is a great drive and pull to this piece as dancers, in various groupings, connect and push away to simulate the force of relationships.

   Spectacular lifts of great elevation seek to thrill, and they receive gasps of amazement from the audience. In lovely pale sage green leotards, the dancers make their movements appear effortless and weightless.

   Rassemblement is inspired by and set to the songs of Haitian artist Toto Bissainthe. These are songs of slaves from the Voodoo cult and they speak of oppression, resistance, and a deep longing for freedom.

   Dancers use powerful, low-to-the-ground movements to interpret the music. They dance with passion and strength, and the result is haunting, poignant, and incredibly moving.

   Balanchine's Theme and Variations is set to the final movement of Tchaikovsky's Third Orchestral Suite. This ballet is regal and courtly in its atmosphere with a traditional hierarchical cast. Dancers in deep rose and pink costumes perform technically demanding classical steps with almost flawless execution. There is much pomp and circumstance in this jewel of a piece and it is a brilliant choice for a closing number.

   PNB's April program features Artistic Director Kent Stowell's opulent Firebird. For ticket information, call 206-292-ARTS.