Themes & Variations
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Elizabeth Murphy and Jerome Tisserand in Price Suddarth’s Signature, which PNB is presenting as part of THEMES & VARIATIONS, May 31 – June 9, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.
“Themes & Variations” is the season closing production for the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Consisting of four unique reps from the likes of George Balanchine, Jose’ Limon, and Price Suddarth, opening night on Friday was definitely an event I was looking forward to.
“Signature” started things off. Choreographed by the PNB’s own Price Suddarth, “Signature” was stark at times as the piece unfolded. I found the choreography a bit stiff (for lack of a better term). There were four last minute casting subs which may have affected the performance as the dancers looked good but not necessarily great.
Next up was the upbeat “Tarantella”. Angelica Generosa and Kyle Davis were nothing but a joy to watch perform this Balanchine piece. Full of technique and personality, the duo regained the audience’s attention. If only it were a longer piece as I loved it!
Pacific Northwest Ballet soloists Angelica Generosa and Kyle Davis in Tarantella, choreographed by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust, which PNB is presenting as part of THEMES & VARIATIONS, May 31 – June 9, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.
“The Moor’s Pavane” was next. Choreography by Jose’ Limon with music by Henry Purcell, this piece is based on variations of Othello. The costumes really added another layer of artistry to the piece as the four dancers told the story. Joshua Grant, Steven Loch, Lindsi Dec, and Elizabeth Murphy really gave a dramatic performance as the somber melodies were played by the PNB Orchestra.
(L-R) Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers Lindsi Dec, Steven Loch, Joshua Grant, and Elizabeth Murphy in José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane, which PNB is presenting as part of THEMES & VARIATIONS, May 31 – June 9, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.
Lastly, “Themes & Variations” closed out the show. Music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by Balanchine, Lesley Rausch and Jerome Tisserand led this piece through all of its difficult technical dance steps. With both dancers battling against physical pain (back) and illness (fever), Rausch and Tisserand stepped up to the plate and delivered like the senior principal dancers that they are. This number was the most satisfying to watch as it was the perfect marriage of music and choreography. It made perfect sense to close out the show with this signature piece.
Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Jerome Tisserand and Lesley Rausch with company dancers in Theme and Variations, choreographed by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust, which PNB is presenting as part of the mixed rep program THEMES & VARIATIONS, May 31 – June 9, 2019. Photo © Angela Sterling.
Overall, the diversity of this mixed production was welcome as always. I enjoyed seeing the different types of choreography as well as the chosen music for each piece. The order of the programming made sense as well.
It’s hard to believe that the PNB season is coming to a close. There is the Season Encore performance on June 9th and the Next Step: Outside/In on June 14th. The PNB school performance is on June 15th. Then, it’s the long wait until the end of September for the new PNB season to start.
Check out “Themes & Variations” this week as well as the other events next week. The memories will help tide you over until September.
Mark D. Sugiyama
EA on FB