Northwest NEWS

June 11, 2001


PNB's season finale, 'Mercury,' aims to please

by Deborah Stone
   PNB's 2000-2001 season finale, "Mercury," featured a diverse and exciting showcase of dance, complete with a world premiere and three ballets from earlier repertory.
   The program opened with Lynne Taylor-Corbett's "Mercury," an abstract ballet in five movements, set to four symphonies by Haydn.
   Dancers illustrated Haydn's mercurial musical temperaments with vigor and feeling, combining quick pulsating movements, exciting leaps and breathless lifts with lovely, lyrical duets.
   The duality of this music, with its quirky rhythms and surprising turns of phrase was perfectly reflected in Taylor-Corbett's choreography.
   The much-awaited world premiere by Val Caniparoli (creator of the popular "Lambarena"), "Torque" did not disappoint audiences. Dancers, in neon colored costumes, whizzed across the stage, celebrating composer Michael Torke's dense, energetic score with a sense of sheer abandon.
   They exaggerated classical ballet movements, twisting and undulating their bodies with eye-popping flexibility, as they kept up with the whiplash paced music. The dancers seemed to have as much fun as the audience did on Caniparoli's thrill ride.
   "Lento a Tempo e Appassionato" (translated to mean, "slow, on time and passionate"), is a pas de deux to a series of piano pieces by Alexander Scriabin.
   Choreographed by Vicente Nebrada, and exquisitely performed by dancers Kaori Nakamura and Charles Newton, this ballet progressed through three defined sections. Nakamura and Newton beautifully coiled around one another in this dramatic and sultry number, which caused the audience to gasp with pleasure at the sheer emotion they evoked.
   Balanchine's "Western Symphony," always a crowd pleaser, concluded the program.
   Set to American folk tunes by Hershey Kay, this ballet celebrates the spirit of the American frontier, with cowboys and saloon girls strutting their stuff.
   Dancers kick up their heels and romp their way through this rollicking number, showing off intricate steps, quick transitions and great aerial displays.
   It was a colorful end to a highly invigorating evening of entertainment and an extraordinary season of ballet. PNB's upcoming 2001-2002 season will feature a program full of world premieres by innovative choreographers, as well as several favorites repeatedly requested by the company's loyal fans.
   Midway through the season, performances will move to the Mercer Arts Arena to allow renovation of the Opera House, which will re-open in 2003 as the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall.
   For information call (206) 292-ARTS.