by Francis Timlin
September 17, 2003 -- Seattle
I attended a studio rehearsal of
Acts 1, 2 and 4 on Wednesday, September 17. Board Chair Cathi Hatch announced
that the dancers are donating their opening night salaries to the Pacific
Northwest Ballet general operating fund. Ariana Lallone and Olivier Wevers
were thanked for spearheading the fundraising and production coordination
of "Eleven," the photo book of the eleven PNB principals which
will debut at the Opening Night performance of Swan Lake. [more about
Kent Stowell spoke briefly regarding the history of “Swan Lake” in the
repertory of U.S. companies, noting that until ABT's 1966 production most
companies had limited themselves to Act 2. The choreography for the current
PNB production began its development while Kent and Francia were still
in Frankfurt. It had been produced at intervals since 1981. The sets (by
Ming Cho Lee) and costumes (by Paul Tazewell) are entirely new this year.
Some choreography has been revised, particularly in Act 1, where a corps
of peasants has been recast as part of a court hunting party reset en
opening night cast performed for this invited audience comprised largely
of donors and trustees. The corps, a mix of regular corps members and
PNB School Professional Division students, performed exceptionally well.
In the first act Pas de Trois, Noelani Pantastico was impressive for her
musicality; in her variation, every toe hop was precisely placed in time
with the music. Le Yin was afforded the opportunity to display his remarkable
elevation. Jodie Thomas was impressive for her port de bras and epaulement
in her variation. As the Jester, Jonathan Porretta is, as always, remarkable
for his speed and intensity. Paul Gibson has a star turn as Wolfgang,
the Prince's tutor. Paul will only be appearing in a couple of performances
during the first week of the run, as he is leaving to participate in the
New York Choreographic Institute at New York City Ballet during the latter
part of the run.
As Odette, Patricia Barker is at the top of her form. Regal, statuesque,
yet amazingly flexible and able to convey apprehension and vulnerability.
Her partnership with Stanko Milov continues to develop as they meld their
diverse array of experiences. Stanko would benefit from a more deliberate
– more regal, more princely – bearing in the action sections. On several
occasions he ran through his "stage business" too quickly for
the music and needed to improvise filler. More experience with straight
run-through rehearsals (and performances) should help him gain a better
perspective on timing.
The Cygnets – Chalnessa Eames, Rachel Foster, Tempe Ostergren and Kara
Zimmerman – are well aligned in height and timing. The three "big"
swans -- Carrie Imler, Maria Chapman, Stacey Lowenberg -- all have magnificent
elevation. The rehearsal clock ran out before the fourth act could be
completed, although we did have the opportunity to see through the end
of the Pas de Deux.
I am very much looking forward to the new sets and costumes in the new
hall next week.
For a report on Pacific Northwest
Ballet's Panel Discussion: 'Dancing Odette/Odile: Ballet’s Great Dual
Role’ click here.
Edited by Jeff.
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