Friday, Nov 22, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 42 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 

 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 10, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 24
PNB's 'American Stories' stay airborne all evening
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
PNB's 'American Stories' stay airborne all evening

by Sharon Cumberland - SGN A&E Writer

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET
'AMERICAN STORIES'
MARION OLIVER MCCAW HALL
Through June 12


The 'American Stories' being told at McCaw Hall by Pacific Northwest Ballet right now are by three teams of American icons: 'Fancy Free' by Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein, 'Square Dance' by George Balanchine, and 'Waiting at the Station' by Twyla Tharp and jazz composer Allen Toussaint. What a lot of icons!

Lest you think the heft of so much American iconography would weigh down these three full-on dances, fear not. The program goes airborne in the first two minutes and stays there all evening - including the airborne audience that jumped up for standing ovations at every curtain call. Not only do you get some spectacular dancing, as those who frequent PNB have come to expect, but you hear Emil de Cou and the PNB orchestra in a different register - the American jazz idiom characterized by Bernstein and Toussaint, featuring the pianist Allan Dameron. Who knew this memorable classical pianist could tease the keys in jazz mode?

And just so you know that it's the same terrific classical orchestra we love, they play the baroque Vivaldi and Corelli compositions for 'Square Dance' with their usual precision and excitement. In 'American Stories' the music comes to the forefront in partnership with dance rather than as its backdrop. You could close your eyes and just groove with the music, but I don't recommend it - go to this show with your eyes wide open and see dancing inspired to flag-waving heights by music both rousing and beautiful.

'Fancy Free' (1944)
Music: Leonard Bernstein
Choreography: Jerome Robbins

This ballet about three sailors on shore leave is delightful on so many levels that it's been in the repertoire since its creation during World War II. It gave rise to On the Town - a Betty Comden and Adolph Green Broadway show (1944) that morphed into a Gene Kelley and Frank Sinatra musical (1949) that has recently been revived on Broadway with ballet star Misty Copeland. The music by Leonard Bernstein is so jazzy and memorable that it made his career as a composer, while the dancing by Jerome Robbins is so charming that it made his career as a Broadway choreographer while he was still a soloist with American Ballet Theatre. It's a real showpiece for the three male dancers - played here by PNB's matched set of young rascals, Seth Orza, Jonathan Porretta, and James Moore. Their loose-limbed clowning around is matched by their exuberant bursts of virtuoso dancing cleverly arranged around a story of boys trying to impress girls with their expertise. The lovely girls, Noelini Pantastico, Lesley Rausch, and Elle Macy, do some expert dancing but are really there for the plot - their characters get much better roles in On the Town. This ballet is all about the boys, and they are a joy to watch, even when they tease the girls in ways that were acceptable in 1944 but would get them in the dog house today. Bernstein's three show-off solos - a farcical Petrushka-esque gallop, a sweet-hearted waltz, and a sexy, hip-swinging danzon - give each sailor a chance to show his chops to the girls and to the wildly appreciative audience. Not to be missed, folks - it's not just an American story, it's an American classic.

'Square Dance' (1957; revised 1976)
Music: Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli
Choreography: George Balanchine

In the pre-show lecture we heard that Balanchine originally staged this ballet on a farmyard set with bales of hay and a square dance caller. It's hard to imagine how that worked with this elegant music and sparkling choreography, but Mr. B. edited the work down to its current sparseness that showcases the precision of the petit allegro jumps and rapid petit battements that are executed in perfect unity by six couples in pale blue leotards against a plain background. If you love Mark Morris' relationship with music, you'll love this sequence of dances that are more in the nature of circles than squares, and which amplify and describe the baroque music of Vivaldi and Corelli as rapid, distilled movement. It was as if the statues of gods and goddesses in the garden of the Villa D'Este came to life and performed a timeless, eternal ballet. The featured couple, Leta Biasucci and Benjamin Griffiths, were equally god-like in their beautiful movement and carriage, though Biasucci's big grin suggested a goddess more of mirth than of mystery.

'Waiting at the Station' (2013)
Music: Allen Toussaint
Choreography: Twyla Tharp

If a ballet can remind you of a poem, this dance by the great American choreographer Twyla Tharp reminds me of Wallace Stevens' The Emperor of Ice Cream. You English majors out there will recognize the reference to death: '...Let be be finale of seem, / The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.'

The dance is set in New Orleans in the 1930s to the marvelous jazz of Allen Toussaint, while the poem describes a funeral in a similar southern clime where ordinary folk and 'wenches' are dawdling around and whipping up ice cream in 'concupiscent curds.' The dance is like the poem in that passersby move in a louche sequence of chorus lines, bar dances, and tangos while the main man, James Moore, shows his son, Price Suddarth, how to get along in the world, especially with women.

The emperor of ice cream, in Tharp's universe, is represented by three female 'Fates' dressed in gold swing dresses, who follow the Father around, warning him that the end is near. Through a sequence of jazz numbers - performed with moody richness by Allan Dameron on piano, Todd Larsen on bass, and Gunner Folsom on drums, as well as the orchestra at key, ethereal moments - we see the ensemble create a world that is at once hot, sexy, street-wise, and vulnerable. Though the woman in Stevens' poem ends up under a sheet from which 'her horny feet protrude' and the Father in 'Waiting at the Station' ends up on the cow-catcher of a flag-adorned locomotive, the message is the same: death may pluck us from our ordinary circumstances before we're ready, yet life goes on.

This is a particularly moving message considering that composer Allen Toussaint, who passed away in November 2015, was alive and in the orchestra pit the last time PNB performed this work in 2013.



But as all the dances in 'American Stories' illustrate, it turns out there is another emperor that doesn't melt away like ice cream. The Emperor of the Arts rules! Masterworks by artists like Toussaint, Tharp, Robbins, Bernstein, Balanchine, Corelli, and Vivaldi will never die.

Pacific Northwest Ballet's 'American Stories' will be performed at McCaw Hall through June 12. www.pnb.org.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Edmonds Center for the Arts presents Mandy Patinkin on June 22
------------------------------
PNB's 'American Stories' stay airborne all evening
------------------------------
Stick Fly launches Intiman's celebration of African-American women playwrights
------------------------------
ACT Theatre presents The Mystery of Love and Sex
------------------------------
WHITE PARTY SEATTLE 2016 - June 24, 2016
------------------------------
CORRECTION:
John Carpenter's 'Lost Themes' concert coming to the Paramount June 14

------------------------------
Tulip Festival seeks poster artists
------------------------------
OUTBOUND: New flights to Guadalajara and Shenzen out of Sea-Tac launching soon
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Seattle Pride is an expression of our Constitutional rights
------------------------------
Band of Horses, Azealia Banks coming this summer to Seattle
------------------------------
Brides to Be World Premiere to be held at Twist of Pride Film Festival June 17 @ 10pm
Honeyglue also opens at SIFF Film Center June 17

------------------------------
PRIDE MONTH EVENTS WITH THREE DOLLAR BILL CINEMA
------------------------------
Hubris and narcissism run amok in captivating Weiner
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1707 23rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News 2016 - DigitalTeamWorks 2016

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News