November 20, 2000
Pacific Northwest Ballet presents 'Encore'
Pacific Northwest Ballet's recent program, "Encore," is a repertoire of interesting works ranging from Balanchine's elegant "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux" and his darker, more stylized "La Valse" to co-artistic director Kent Stowell's jazzy and light "Dumbarton Oaks" to finally, William Forsythe's "In the middle, somewhat elevated," an aggressive and explosive number that pulsates with energy.
The show opens with "Dumbarton Oaks," a breezy dance of witty choreography that evokes a summer afternoon.
Dancers, all in elegant white athletic clothes, execute their movements playfully and with joyful abandonment. Balanchine's "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux" is beautifully danced by Kaori Nakamura and Jeffrey Stanton, two of PNB's most talented principals.
The pair is graceful and elegant as they perform a series of intricate turns, dizzying spins and lighter than air leaps. It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the dancers' full range of classical vocabulary. "La Valse," set to music by Maurice Ravel has a mad frenzied feeling with dancers swooping and waltzing across the stage, dressed in their glittering, glamorous apparel.
The group of 27 dancers captures an era of decadence and vanity, with Patricia Barker, in the role of the doomed girl in white, giving an exceptionally riveting performance.
PNB's program concludes with one of the company's biggest hits, "In the middle, somewhat elevated." Forsythe's slash and burn ballet, set to Dutch composer Thom Willems' blasting, crashing music is an assault to the senses.
The movements are fast-paced, aggressive and challenging, with dancers hurling and whipping themselves around the stage in various combinations.
At times, they pause and stare at the audience with an aloof detachment, before relentlessly attacking each step again.
This is an in your face, burn baby burn number that leaves audiences gasping for air and rabid in their enthusiastic approval.
It is a treat to see PNB dancers stretch themselves with Forsythe's challenging and contemporary choreography. Upcoming programs for the company include the annual holiday tradition, "The Nutcracker" (December 2-27), followed by "The Sleeping Beauty" (February 1-11).
For ticket information, call (206) 441-2424 or (206) 292-ARTS.