Monday, September 25, 2017

Once I Loved Rubies, But Now Diamonds Are This Girl's Best Friends

Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancer Lesley Rausch in George Balanchine's "Diamonds"
photo by Angela Sterling
Dear Lesley Rausch,

Thanks for a wonderful time on opening night of George Balanchine's "Jewels."

Oh, I know it took a group effort to kick off Pacific Northwest Ballet's new season with a brand new production to celebrate "Jewels'" 50th anniversary. And I really did like Jerome Kaplan's new sets and costumes, especially the fabulous tiaras. (By the way, what did you guys do with the old ones? I've been dropping hints to Santa, ever since the new production of "Nutcracker" with all the sparkly head wear, but so far, no tiara in my holiday stocking).

Where was I? Oh, yes, I was telling you, Lesley, how much I enjoyed you in the "Diamonds" section of the evening. Before I get carried away, though, I do want to compliment the PNB orchestra, under Emil de Cou's baton. Faure! Stravinsky! Allen Dameron on piano! Tchaikovsky! Whew, what musicians! And your fellow dancers were pretty wonderful, too.
PNB Principal Dancers Noelani Pantastico and Lucien Postlewaite sizzle in George Balanchine's "Emeralds"
photo by Angela Sterling

Half that opening night audience had come specifically to see Noelani Pantastico reunite with Lucien Postlewaite in "Emeralds." Hoo boy, they gave a little heat to that cool, elegant choreography. And three cheers for Sarah Ricard Orza, promoted to Principal Dancer at long last! I was also pretty stoked to see all-round talent Ezra Thomson get named Soloist. Oh, and Ben Griffiths and Rachel Foster were pretty saucy in "Rubies."
PNB Principal Dancers Rachel Foster and Benjamin Griffiths in Balanchine's "Rubies"
photo by Angela Sterling

But really, Lesley Rausch, when you came onstage with that tall drink of water Karel Cruz, well, be still my heart! You always look regal, you always nail the technique. But in this production of "Diamonds", girl, you had me in the palm of your hand. Every extension of your feet and hands, every spin you took, I felt like you opened your heart to us. You brought your authentic self to the stage and by doing so, you elevated your artistry to new heights.
PNB Principal Dancers Karel Cruz and Lesley Rausch in Balanchine's "Diamonds"
photo by Angela Sterling

Frankly, I've always been a "Rubies" fan, but Lesley, if you're dancing, "Diamonds" are this girl's new best friend.

With great admiration--and a tip of the hat to some great performances by Leta Biasucci, Kyle Davis, Lindsi Dec and Angelica Generosa--thanks again,

Marcie
Noelani Pantastico, Lucien Postlewaite and Sarah Ricard Orza, foreground
Leta Biasucci, Kyle Davis and Angelica Generosa rear, William Yin Lee Center
photo by Angela Sterling

Pacific Northwest Ballet's new production of George Balanchine's "Jewels" continues through October 1 at McCaw Hall.

https://www.pnb.org/season/17-18/jewels/

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  1. I'm an Emeralds gal myself, but Lesley was literally the ballerina twirling in every little girl's jewelry box. Props to Lindsi, too - I like her when she's playful!

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