Monday, May 18, 2015

I'm All About The Arts, Boss

PNB Principal Dancers Lesley Rausch (rear) and Lindsi Dec in David Dawson's "A Million Kisses to My Skin"
photo by Angela Sterling
Sometimes I wonder why I'm driven to write about art, especially dance.

Frankly, it's an impossible task, to translate my visceral response to an artist or her work into mere words. If those words were enough, we wouldn't have symphonies or ballets or great paintings, would we?

Besides, outside of people who already love and value art, the general reception for my mere words is pretty tepid.
PNB's Chelsea Adomaitis and Stephen Loch in William Forsythe's "New Suite"
photo by Angela Sterling

But I persist.

From time to time, people invite me to come give little talks about what I do. They want to know how I started out, or my opinions on burning issues of the day (I don't reveal those); most often, they want me to dish about famous people.

Inevitably, somebody asks what I most love to write about. The answer is automatic: dance. When they ask why, I am forced once again to ask that question of myself.
PNB Principal Dancer Jerome Tisserand with former Principal Kaori Nakamura in "Giselle"
photo by Angela Sterling

The answer is always the same: a great artwork resonates with something deep in my heart. I imagine it's something like a spiritual tuning fork, and I start to vibrate with the same invisible frequency as the tones that emanate from that art.

All of the above is a long and windy preamble to some thoughts on this weekend's PBS American Masters' documentary about American Ballet Theatre.

The New York Times laid into this film. The critic said it didn't have enough specifics about ABT, not enough Baryshnikov (is there ever enough???).

I loved it.

Mostly for the fabulous commentary from Jennifer Homans, author of the great ballet history "Apollo's Angels." That book propelled me into what feels like a never-ending exploration of the connections between dance and grace. This film reminded me of the ineffable beauty that is ballet, the quest that dancers pursue to bring their technique and their artistry to a performance that can lift them (and the audience) beyond ourselves.
Former PNB Principal Dancers Lucien Postelwaite and Noelani Pantastico in Jean-Christophe Maillot's "Romeo et Juliette"
photo by Angela Sterling

Insert sigh of pure bliss right here!

Okay, now that I'm done waxing rhapsodic, some upcoming events of note:

Olivier Wevers' Whim W'him performs a new program called X-Posed, 5/29-31 at Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center.

Pacific Northwest Ballet presents Kent Stowell's "Carmina Burana" and Alexei Ratmansky's "Concerto DSCH" May 29-June 7th at McCaw Hall.

Catch the Seattle International Dance Festival June 12-27 all over town.
PNB Principal Carla Korbes in Kent Stowell's "Swan Lake"
photo by Angela Sterling

And Sunday, June 7th, you can say goodbye to a slew of great PNB dancers: Principal Carla Korbes and Soloist Kiyon Gaines retire this year, at the ripe old age of 33; wonderful corps de ballet members Raphael Bouchard, Jahna Frantzikonis, Charles McCall and Eric Hippolito leave for greener pastures in the dance world. PNB said goodbye to corps member Brittany Reid earlier this spring.
PNB Soloist Kiyon Gaines in the studio
photo by Lindsay Thomas

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