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Pacific Northwest Ballet. (National: Mercurial Departures In Seattle).


Pacific Northwest Ballet closed its season with an inviting blend of contemporary and classical ballets. Notably, this program marked the last PNB performances of several departing audience favorites: principal Seth Belliston, soloist Charles Newton, corps members Rachel Butler and Astrit Zejnati, and others (see Presstime News, September, page 34), all of whom danced with singular verve and control. Several performances of the program provided some of the most emotionally charged and technically brilliant dancing of the season.

Lynne Taylor-Corbett's Mercury opened the program. Originally created for the New York City Ballet's Diamond Project in 1992, the piece featured fiery outbursts punctuated by moments of calm in five movements. Belliston and other lead dancers provided a volatility of movement and a range of temperaments, following the varied dynamics of Haydn's mercurial symphonic music.

All dancers moved with near-perfect timing to the staccato strings. Patricia Barker, who celebrates a twentieth anniversary with the company next season (see Presstime News, September, page 35), excelled with her stunning presence and phrasing, as did Christophe Maraval with his attack, Carrie Imler with her focus, Seth Belliston and Jeffrey Stanton with their confident and controlled moves, and Jodie Thomas with her spry and off-balance dance.

Harsh and sudden gestures and a sometimes grim feel characterized Taylor-Corbett's work. Yet the performers breathed lyrical and harmonic life into it, as epitomized by the dancing of Lisa Apple and Charles Newton in some of the piece's weaving motifs.

Val Caniparoli's Torque featured the spirited, brassy music of Michael Torke, which supported the quick, oddly angled, off-center movement. Refreshingly, Caniparoli's movement traveled in every possible and unpredictable direction other than the usual diagonals. Colorful tutus and long-sleeved metallic leotards accentuated the angular movement. As in Mercury, the dance alternated ensemble work, in which the dancers covered considerable ground, with self-contained solos and duets. The dancers seemed to dance at each other, or in spite of each other. This, with their strange, tangled partnering, created a sexual tension onstage. Imaginative stage lighting provided dim illumination and served to showcase dancers in center stage.

The PNB dancers really inhabited this piece, with Zejnati moving further and faster than previously seen, Olivier Wevers--the prince of abstract--moving his limbs as if to defy gravity, and Timothy Lynch bursting with energy across the stage (a far cry from his melodramatic Carabosse earlier in the year). Caniparoli, as usual (this is his fifth work for the company), presented challenging movement problems, which the PNB dancers solved admirably.

Vicente Nebrada's duet, Lento, a tempo, e appassionato, with music by Scriabin and staging by former principal dancer Deborah Hadley, featured the highly musical dancing of Kaori Nakamura, attentively partnered by Newton. Pianist Dianne Chilgren played Scriabin's compelling pieces with utter clarity.

The program ended with Balanchine's Western Symphony, showcasing the gutsy dancing of Thomas and Valeri Hristov, Stanton's strong jumps and attack, Barker's fast-paced pointe work, and the cast's very spirited delivery of the grand finale.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Berardi, Gigi
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Previous Article:San Francisco Butoh Festival. (National: `Dance Of Darkness' Finds Lightness Of Touch).
Next Article:La Scala Ballet. (National: Guillem's `Giselle' A Mixed Blessing).

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