Now' Program Preview Rehearsal: 'Artifact II,' 'Mercury,' 'Palacios Dances'
by Dean Speer
October 2003 -- Seattle
What a delight it was to have
sat in on an open (all right, it was an invited audience) studio rehearsal
run-through of the latest PNB repertory program. All pieces were done,
with the exception of “Torque” (due to time: one hour).
I particularly enjoyed the intimate setting as this afforded us the chance
to see the dances and the dancers up close and to really get acquainted
with the inner workings of the ballets.
Forsythe's “Artifact II,” I found to have a Modern Dance sensibility to
it and one that really uses and pushes the ballet vocabulary, particularly
in its duets. It was instructive to have stager Glen Tuggle there coaching
the dancers along and providing finishing touches. Louise Nadeau and Paul
Gibson were wonderfully amazing -- strong, in the moment, and on the edge.
Dare I say Louise was almost dangerous in this pas de deux. Truly exciting.
It was additionally fun seeing this run, as it featured two couples not
booked to be paired during the actual shows. In addition to Ms. Nadeau
and Mr. Gibson, we got to see Melanie Skinner and Casey Herd. Both attacking
the movement and exploiting their length of line and experience to give
us a performance that had me on the edge of my seat.
I found myself having a deeper respect for Taylor-Corbett's “Mercury,”
having already liked it upon first blush, but thought it fun and nice
but without a whole lot of depth. Her ballet begins with a running, "seek
and search" motif that builds and develops and leads us into major
dance. Very clever of her to hook us audience types this way and then
take us further. The second duet (adagio, 3rd movement), danced with power,
strength, depth and conviction by Stanko Milov and Kylee Kitchens, was
particularly effective and moving. I admire how Taylor-Corbett breaks
up this duet by having the other dancers run diagonally across the stage,
interrupting the action and briefly interacting with the duet couple -
if only by touching them.
For the fifth and final movement, she brings all back on stage, including
the various couples for an exuberant finish -- somewhat reminiscent to
me of Mr. B's “Symphony in C.” . Definitely a ballet that is of sound
composition, fresh invention, interesting development, and pleasing and
fun to watch.
The program features dances where pas de deux are central, so it's very
fitting that Kent Stowell's delightful “Palacios Dances” is also on the
bill. This balletic tango was sizzling hot with Olivier Wevers and Kaori
Nakamura. Each has enormous technique, acting talent and experience that
are a perfect blend for this duet.
This studio run was fun, revealing and reinforced to me again how proud
we should all be to have the calibre of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s artistic
product in our very own Northwest.
For a report on Pacific Northwest
Ballet's "Ballet Now" Program Panel Discussion, please click
Edited by Jeff.
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