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Showing posts from 2013

PNB audience fall in love with Twyla

At a lecture earlier this week, choreographer Twyla Tharp said, “A commission is an invitation to fall in love.” Then the legendary lady proceeded to outline all the ways that she’d fallen in love at Pacific Northwest Ballet while creating a new piece for the company: the wit of Carrie Imler’s dancing, the daring of “Johnny” [Jonathan] Porretta, the sass of Kiyon Gaines, the speed of Laura Tisserand, and "the maturity of James Moore."

The last caused a few giggles in an audience who still mostly think of Moore as the young heartthrob who dazzled in Marco Goecke's Mopey and Susan Marshall's Kiss during his early years in Seattle.

But, of course, Tharp was right. She proved every point and so much more in an evocative work crafted on and for the dancers of PNB: Waiting at the Station. By the time that the world premiere ended last night (Sept. 27), it was clear that the audience had returned the favor and fallen in love with the piece crisply described in the program as …

Intensely personal in a slightly creepy way: 5th's Grey Gardens

First time Jessica Skerritt saw the documentary Grey Gardens, it made her a little uncomfortable. "It reminded me of that television show Hoarders," she said. "Intensely personal in a slightly creepy way." After being cast as Little Edie in the musical based on the film, she studied the girl who should have had everything but ended up as a curiosity, famous mostly because of her relationship with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onnassis. “When I play her,” said Skerritt, “Grey Gardens is the height of its beauty and she’s on the cusp of all things wonderful in her life.”

The musical opens with Little Edie preparing for her engagement party to a handsome young Joseph Kennedy. Later, as recluse in a crumbling mansion, the same role is played with deliberate eccentricity by Patti Cohenour in the Seattle production. Cohenour also plays Big Edie, Little Edie’s mother in the 1940s scenes. During rehearsals, Skerritt set her accent based on what she heard in the d…

Dancing with kilts

Jonathan Porretta is jumping high to become the King of the Kilt.  For the second year, the Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer has donned the plaid for charity, entering Ronald McDonald House's Men In Kilts competition. Votes are made in the form of $25 donations (each "vote" sponsors and sponsors one night of housing for a family).

"Last year, when they phoned the ballet to see if anyone wanted to pose for picture in the kilt, [the development department] immediately emailed me," said Porretta.

Despite being the only guy in a kilt who did a full flying leap in tartan, Porretta failed to capture the crown in 2012. Undaunted and willing to try again, he's back in bright yellow kilt lent by Peter Macleod.

Macleod's wife Rian is a former PNB Governing Board member (2007-2012) and a current PNB STARS member. She's chaired such events as PNB’s First Look Opening Gala and is more than willing to lend her husband's kilt for a good cause.

Al…

Tobias Larsson unleashes Norse gods on the circus

Ariana Lallone and Tobias Larsson in Dinner At Wotan's Courtesy of Teatro ZinZanni From ballet training in Sweden to choreographing circus shows in Seattle, Tobias Larsson has entertained people throughout Europe and the United States.

He’s back at Teatro ZinZanni for Dinner At Wotan’s, a decidedly different look at Norse king of the gods than the upcoming Ring at Seattle Opera this summer. Larsson began choreographing shows for ZinZanni in San Francisco and Seattle in 2009. He worked with dance legend Tommy Tune to co-choreograph Bonsoir Liliane! here in 2011.

His latest dinner show at ZinZanni mixes up Wagner’s music with modern rock classics and brings together performers from a multitude of disciplines, including Swedish singer Anki Albertsson, former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Ariana Lallone, aeralist Christopher Phi, clown Geoff Hoyle, American lyric soprano Kristin Clayton, and many more.

Here's his answers to a few questions about this curr…

The Hind combines dance skills with puppetry in War Horse

Christopher Mai, Derek Stratton, and Rob Laqui as Joey. © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg, courtesy of STG War Horse gallops, literally, onto the Paramount’s stage this week in Seattle. The play tells the story of Joey, a beloved horse taken to the trenches of France in World War I. In a piece of award-winning and stunning stagecraft, three puppeteers perform the role of one horse as the Head, Heart, and Hind of Joey in puppets created for the show by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company.

The sheer physicality of the role requires a dancer’s agility, as Rob Lacqui, the Hind, reveals here.

How you did you come to be playing the Hind?
When I first auditioned, I did both the Heart position and the Hind, mostly hind. I felt I did best in the hind position and casting must have thought so too!

What part of your theatrical background do you think helped you take on this role?
I have a degree in musical theater. When I moved to New York, I started getting more physica…