Northwest NEWS

October 11, 1999


PNB opens millennial season with 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

by Deborah Stone

   After internationally-acclaimed performances at the Edinburgh Festival and the grand re-opening of Sadler's Wells Theatre in London, Pacific Northwest Ballet comes home to launch its 1999-2000 season with the enchanting production of George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

   Company dancers, along with forty-three PNB School students, bring Shakespeare's lighthearted story of love's misadventures to life. The audience is taken into a world of magical forests, fairies, and mischief, complete with lavish sets and costumes, influenced by 19th-century English and Italian Renaissance designs (created by renowned designer Martin Pakledinaz).

   Dream is a marvelous ballet, performed by gifted dancers who sparkle and gleam under the moonlight. There is true emotionality in their dance, as well as technical grace.

   Patricia Barker, as Titania, is exquisite with her long limbs and beautiful line, dominating the stage as she spins her fairy spells. Paul Gibson dazzles in his role as Oberon, the Fairy King, and the ever-nimble Seth Belliston makes a wonderfully impish and naughty Puck.

   As the mixed-up lovers, Lisa Apple, Jeffrey Stanton, Kaori Nakamura, and Ross Yearsley each bring confidence and presence to their roles. The pairs are well-matched and their movements do such justice to Balanchine's ravishing choreography. Of special note are the PNB School students, who are charming in their roles as "bugs."

   Dream is a feast for the senses, performed by clearly musical dancers who radiate vitality and a sense of true joy in what they are doing. The high-quality production offers a real Balanchine experience and is a glorious night of electrifying entertainment.

   For information about PNB's upcoming season, call (206) 292-ARTS.