Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Works at PNB

On Sunday Victoria and I went to see "New Works" at Pacific Northwest Ballet. This is the first ballet where I actually felt "ho hum" about the performance.

The first ballet was called "In the Garden".
Music: Richard Strauss (Tanzsuite aus Klavierst├╝cken von Fran├žois Couperin, AV107, 1923) Choreography: Mark Morris
Costume Design: Mark Morris

I really enjoyed the music. The costumes were black and brown and just so bleh. I know that plainer costumes are meant to allow you to focus on the art of the dance but I find myself just redesigning them in my imagination.

Sadly, there was an AWFUL woman sitting next to me, on the right. She and her friend chatted throughout the overture. I shot them the evil eye. She wore a jangly charm bracelet and kept fidgeting around with it. Again, the evil eye. She removed the bracelet. Then, she picked up her enormous purse, placed it in her lap, and opened up a bag of Doritos. Cool Ranch, as I recognised the bag and the smell. Then she ate the entire bag. She ignored my evil eye, as well as the glares of the people in front of us.

When the intermission came Victoria and I got up, spoke quietly to the usher (who incidentially always covers the same spot so she recognised Victoria, at least) and moved up to a box. I LOVE my regular seat so I was irritated. Victoria was freaked out about the box and kept talking about earthquakes.

The next ballet was called M-Pulse.
Music: Cristina Spinei (2008)
Choreography: Kiyon Gaines
Costume Design: Mark Zappone
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

It felt like two acts, or movements, within the one piece. I was then distracted by watching the orchestra, and they are just fabulous to watch. We can't see them from our regular seats but in the first box you can look directly down on them. They're funny, too - you can see them quietly whispering when they're not playing. When the dance ends and the applause is going on and on they are standing around or packing up instruments. When the conductor goes up and bows on stage they make no notice that the applause is for them as well.

Anyway, back to the dancing, the first movement was percussion and the second was instrumental. The lighting was really fabulous - dancers in squares and then moving in and out. Very fascinating how it plays a central part.

Next was Three Movements
Music: Steve Reich (Three Movements for Orchestra, 1986)
Choreography: Benjamin Millepied
Costume Design: Isabella Boylston and Benjamin Millepied, assisted by Larae Theige Hascall
Lighting Design: Brad Fields

This was my favorite piece of the afternoon. The costumes were gorgeous - teal and purple and floaty while still allowing you to see full leg movement. The pieces build on each other without being repetitive. Very fun and full of energy.

Another intermission (coffee and looking at the glass art with Victoria).

Last was One Flat Thing, Reproduced
Music: Thom Willems (2000)
Choreography: William Forsythe
Staging: Ayman Harper, Jill Johnson, and Richard Siegal Scenic
Lighting Design: William Forsythe
Costume Design: Stephen Galloway

We'd seen this in March. I enjoyed it back then and thought it was so vibrant. It was still full of energy but this time it just seemed to drag...

One last note - Hallie noted to me how she thought the dancing looked sloppy and she didn't know how they would be ready in time... I thought so as well. I don't know if it's part of the choreography to have one person off by a half count or if they're just tired from too much Nutcracker rehearsal... but it wasn't the precision you'd expect. This all said, I can't even do a cartwheel anymore so there you go. :-) Victoria's favorite piece was 3 Movements.

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