Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall, You're Killing Me!

Former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Lucien Postelwaite in George Balanchine's "Prodigal Son"
photo by Angela Sterling


Fall, you're killin' me.

I mean that in the best possible way.

Summer was fun, lots of action outside and in, but once September hit us, it seemed like every dance company, every choreographer, every independent artist, had a show on tap. My calendar is filling up fast. 

Here are a few highlights.

This weekend Pacific Northwest Ballet opens its new season with a wildly diverse program of works by George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon and Jerome Robbins. Across town, Velocity Dance Center presents a survey of works, plus its almost-annual Bash. Both programs should give you a good overview of the ballet and contemporary scenes, maybe whet your appetite for more.

And more there will be, folks.
Pat Graney dancers in "Girl Gods"
photo courtesy Pat Graney Dance Company

Next week, look for the world premiere of ferociously talented artist Pat Graney’s latest work, “Girl Gods.” On The Boards is presenting this piece, a rumination on women, ancestry, power and rage. I haven’t been able to catch any rehearsals, but expect Graney to fuse visual art and movement, plus a new score by Amy Denio. This show is selling out fast; I’ll be there for the post-show conversation with Graney on Friday, October 2nd.

I’m excited for the annual University of Washington Chamber Dance Company performances the weekend of October 15-18th at Meany Hall. If you’ve never seen Chamber Dance, you owe it to yourself to go. And this year, in particular, is a perfect time to dive in, because the company celebrates its 25th anniversary with a program that founder/director Hannah Wiley hopes will reflect the wide range of dances she’s brought to life over the past quarter of a century.
Portrait of Loie Fuller by Frederick Glasier, 1902

Wiley conceived Chamber Dance as a program within a program for graduate students; professional dancers who wanted to earn degrees that might prepare them for academia. At the same time, Wiley was interested in reviving some of the seminal works from more than 100 years of modern dance. The result was a graduate program in dance, plus this annual October performance.

What Wiley does that's so unusual, and inspiring, is to bring in older dances, sets them on her grad students (along with some undergrad dance majors), then videotapes them for a growing archives stored at the UW Libraries.

This year’s program, “A Century of Modern Dance,” includes eight dances by choreographers ranging from late 19th/early 20th century artist Loie Fuller to Martha Graham to Doug Elkins. 

Seriously, Chamber Dance is always great.

Also heading our way faster than a speeding bullet: Karin Stevens’ “KSD with Sam Boshnack Quintet” the weekend of October 23-25th.
PNB company members in Crystal Pite's "Emergence"
photo by Angela Sterling

And looking ahead a few months to November…the return of Crystal Pite’s “Emergence” at PNB. Oh my god, if you can see just one big ballet this season, this is IT.

I can already tell I won’t get much sleep this fall.


But what dreams I have will be filled with dance; who could ask for anything more than that?

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