Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Ballerina Returns

Former PNB Principal Dancer Patricia Barker
Former Pacific Northwest Ballet star Patricia Barker is back in town.

Well, she’s not onstage herself.

Barker is in Seattle with her Michigan-based company, Grand Rapids Ballet, and two distinctively different programs.

The stint at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center opened last night with a new twist on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” choreographed by former PNB principal dancer Olivier Wevers.
Wevers created this ballet for GRB; this is its Seattle debut.
Grand Rapids Ballet company members in Olivier Wevers' "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Barker’s company rounds out its Pacific Northwest visit with a mixed bill called MOVEMEDIA. In includes four contemporary works, by choreographers Anabelle Lopez Ochoa, David Parsons, Mario Radocovsky and Penny Saunders. Wevers’ company, Whim W’Him, has presented both Saunders and Lopez Ochoa here.
Grand Rapids Ballet company members

Patricia Barker had an acclaimed ballet career. She was known for her long elegance, and her commitment to technique. After she retired from PNB almost a decade ago, Barker spent time as an independent repetiteur, staging choreographer George Balanchine’s ballets around the world. She took her current position as Artistic Director at Grand Rapids Ballet in 2011.

This week’s performances mark Barker’s official return to Seattle. Her company performs just yards from the Phelps Center, where she built her career. It will be interesting to see if and how her dancers reflect that formidable past.

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