Pacific Northwest Ballet presents Contemporary 4

February 24, 2011

Ballet, Ballet News, Press Releases

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March 18-27, 2011

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109

March 18-19 at 7:30 pm

Mach 19 at 2:00 pm

March 24-26 at 7:30 pm

March 27 at 1:00 pm

SEATTLE, WA — With CONTEMPORARY 4, the fourth program in its 2010-2011 season, Pacific Northwest Ballet presents the local premiere of critically acclaimed choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH. PNB’s first work by Ratmansky represents a major introduction for Seattle audiences. Marco Goecke, the young German choreographer known to PNB audiences for cult-hit Mopey, stages a world premiere that is certain to be stamped with his enigmatic, quirky style. CONTEMPORARY 4 also features the return of The Piano Dance, created by former PNB principal dancer and now Ballet Master Paul Gibson, and Mark Morris’s Pacific, a serene alliance of mood and movement. CONTEMPORARY 4 runs March 18 through 27 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at just $27 and may be purchased on the Pacific Northwest Ballet website, by calling 206.441.2424, or in person at the PNB Box Office, 301 Mercer Street at Seattle Center.  Pacific Northwest Ballet thanks presenting sponsor The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and major sponsor the National Endowment for the Arts for their support of CONTEMPORARY 4.  The line-up for CONTEMPORARY 4 will include:

Concerto DSCH — PNB Premiere

Music: Dmitri Shostakovich

Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky

Stager: Tatiana Ratmansky

Costume Design: Holly Hynes

Lighting Design: Mark Stanley

Piano Concerto No. 2, written by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1957 as a nineteenth birthday gift for his son, is a hopeful and joyous work inspired by the end of the Stalin era in Russia. The high spirits of the music are captured in Alexei Ratmansky’s lively choreography for Concerto DSCH, especially in the roles of the lead dancers, one lyrical couple and a virtuoso trio. From the opening moments, when the trio’s ballerina bursts from a closed circle of dancers in a whirl of high-stepping leaps and turns, the ballet is non-stop energy and playful surprises. Even a gentle romantic interlude reflects the wit and originality of the choreographer.  “An endlessly suspenseful choreographic construction, with passages of breathtaking dance brilliance.  At its premiere, you could feel wave upon wave of emotion sweeping across the audience.  Wonder, excitement, admiration, affection, hilarity, surprise, exhilaration.” (The New York Times)

Concerto DSCH is PNB’s first work by critically acclaimed choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. Born in St. Petersburg, Ratmansky trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. He was principal dancer with the Ukrainian National Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet. As a choreographer, Mr. Ratmansky has created ballets for Dutch National Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the State Ballet of Georgia. His 1998 work, Dreams of Japan, earned a prestigious Golden Mask Award by the Theatre Union of Russia.

In 2003, Mr. Ratmansky was invited to mount a full-length ballet, The Bright Stream, at the Bolshoi Theatre, a production which led to his appointment as artistic director of Bolshoi Theatre in 2004. For the Bolshoi Ballet, he also choreographed full-length productions of The Bolt (2005) and re-staged Le Corsaire (2007) and the Soviet-era Flames of Paris (2008). Under Mr. Ratmansky’s direction, the Bolshoi Ballet was named “Best Foreign Company” in 2005 and 2007 by The Critics’ Circle in London, and he received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for The Bright Stream. In 2005, Mr. Ratmansky was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for his choreography of Anna Karenina for Royal Danish Ballet, and in 2007, he won a Golden Mask Award for Best Choreographer for his production of Jeu de Cartes for the Bolshoi Ballet. During his Bolshoi tenure, Mr. Ratmansky also created works for New York City Ballet and The Royal Danish Ballet.

Since joining American Ballet Theatre as Artist in Residence in 2009, he has created On the Dnieper, Waltz Masquerade, and Seven Sonatas for that company in addition to a new full-length Nutcracker. Dutch National Ballet also premiered his Don Quixote in February, 2010.

The PNB premiere of Concerto DSCH is generously underwritten by Peter & Peggy Horvitz.


Music: Lou Harrison

Choreography: Mark Morris

Staging: Tina Fehlandt

Costume Design: Martin Pakledinaz

Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls

Premiere: May 10, 1995; San Francisco Ballet (UNited We Dance Festival)

Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: April 5, 2007 (Celebrate Seattle Festival)

True to Mark Morris’ work, Pacific’s serene alliance of mood and movement appears innately formed from the psyche of Lou Harrison’s 1990 score. The dancers’ full-skirted strides and uplifted arms, set against expansive blue and orange vistas, convey effortless accord, a deep sense of well-being, and “ever-surprising combinations, ever delightful to behold.” (

“Like the title of the dance, the work has multiple connotations, which are underscored by the costumes of Martin Pakledinaz. The bare-chested men wear culottes—full, skirt-like pants that suggest the native dress of Pacific Island and even Indian cultures; the women’s outfits have the same full skirts with simple tops. Blues and greens predominate, with red used for the central couple. The colors evoke the ocean as well as tropical climes. The movement Morris uses also incorporates suggestions of Asian cultures, particularly the Kathak style of southern India: the men (and later the women) repeat a gesture of one arm raised in a curve, the other pointing straight in the opposite direction with the head turned towards the pointing arm. …This is a work that makes you think about its meaning.” (

Mark Morris was born in Seattle, Washington, where he studied with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson. In the early years of his career, he performed with Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn, Laura Dean, Eliot Feld, and the Koleda Balkan Dance Ensemble. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980, and has since created more than 120 works for the company. From 1988 to 1991, he was Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. He has created six works on the San Francisco Ballet and received commissions from American Ballet Theatre and the Boston Ballet, among others. His work is in the repertory of the Geneva Ballet, New Zealand Ballet, Houston Ballet, English National Ballet, and The Royal Ballet. He has worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for the New York City Opera, English National Opera, and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Mr. Morris was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991. He has received numerous honorary doctorates including The Boston Conservatory of Music, The Juilliard School, Long Island University, Pratt Institute, Bowdoin College, and George Mason University. In 2001, he opened the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, New York, his company’s first permanent headquarters in the U.S.

Pacific was the first work by Mark Morris to enter Pacific Northwest Ballet’s repertory. PNB’s performances of Pacific are generously underwritten by Marcella McCaffray.

The Piano Dance

Music: Frederic Chopin, John Cage, Gyorgy Ligeti, Bela Bartok, and Alberto Ginastera

Choreography: Paul Gibson

Costume Design: Mark Zappone

Lighting Design: Lisa J. Pinkham

Premiere: April 14, 2005; Pacific Northwest Ballet

Ten works for solo piano by five composers accompany the contrasting dances for four couples in The Piano Dance. Although the composers chosen by choreographer Paul Gibson lived during a span covering more than a hundred years, Gibson sees in their works a common respect for the expression of melody. He has devised a series of solos, duets, and pas de trois for his dancers, set to music chosen for variety and for affinity to the dance impulse. The Piano Dance offers a sharp contrast to Gibson’s earlier works for PNB, in which he favored large-scale orchestral scores and required big ensembles. The Piano Dance demonstrates his wish to convey the clarity of ballet performance in a setting of intimate and brilliant miniatures. Set to ten piano pieces, the chic, ruby velvet group and solo dances are capped by a “spectacular pas de deux that manages to evoke both abandon and restraint” – The New York Times.

Originally from Altoona, Pennsylvania, Paul Gibson trained at Allegheny Ballet Academy and the School of American Ballet. He won a scholarship at San Francisco Ballet School and joined San Francisco Ballet in 1988, where he rose to the rank of soloist. Mr. Gibson joined PNB in 1994 and was promoted to principal dancer in 1996. Upon retirement from his performing career in 2004, he was immediately named Assistant Ballet Master, becoming Ballet Master in 2005. His choreographic work includes ballets for PNB and PNB School, San Francisco Ballet School, the San Francisco Ballet Choreographic Workshop, Allegheny Ballet Company, and the New York Choreographic Institute.

Place a Chill World Premiere

Music: Camille Saint-Saëns

Choreography: Marco Goecke

Dramaturge: Nadja Kadel

Costume Design: Mark Zappone

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

In spring of 1965, a New York Times critic wrote enthusiastically about the young English cellist Jacqueline du Pré: “She played like an angel.” Listening to a recording of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1, interpreted by du Pré, Marco Goecke was inspired to create Place a Chill for Pacific Northwest Ballet. The cello concerto was du Pré’s last recording before she had to stop playing in public because of an incurable illess, during which she continuously lost control over her movement and body, dying in a wheelchair at the age of 42 in 1987. The quivering, shaking, and fluttering movements of Goecke’s choreography might, at a first glimpse, look like a loss of body control, but in fact they are exactly the opposite—they are the result of a very precise and detailed rehearsal process, a sophisticated elaboration of every single movement. If they rarely show the symmetrical formations that are so characteristic of classical and neo-classical ballet, they do create another kind of order—an organic and dynamic order where nothing is left to chance. But the order which appears in Goecke’s choreography does not try to compete with the heavenly or angelic hierarchies evoked by the music, which will be performed live by the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. Rather, he builds up an antithetical world—a world in which darkness, evil, and the opacity of filthy materia are predominant. Goecke found an explicit formulation for this when he worked with corps de ballet dancer Ezra Thomson during a rehearsal: “You have to show up like the devil in person.” However, Place a Chill does not argue for a sharp dualism between the two worlds. The threatening destructiveness of earthly life and the angelic sphere are not independent from each other; they interact and are inseparably connected. It is the communication between the two spheres that produces the tension that moves the choreography.  (Notes by Nadja Kadel, dramaturge)

Marco Goecke was born in Wuppertal, Germany. He began his ballet training in 1988 and danced with the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and the Theater Hagen Ballet. He created his first choreographic work, Loch, for the Theater Hagen Ballet. Loch was subsequently performed at the International Choreography Competition in Hannover, Germany. In 2001, Mr. Goecke created Chicks, his first work for the Stuttgart Ballet. In 2002, Mr. Goecke was invited by the Choreographic Institute of New York, an affiliate of New York City Ballet, to choreograph a work for NYCB’s Diamond Project. He subsequently created Mopey for Peter Boal and Company. Mopey has been performed at the Jacob´s Pillow Festival, at the Biennale in Venice and at the 2004 Pina Bausch Festival in Wuppertal. Mr. Goecke has also worked in opera, creating a solo for Die verkaufte Braut for the Staatstheatre Stuttgart Opera in 2003. Also in 2003, he entered the Prix Dom Perignon choreographic competition in Hamburg, where he was awarded First Prize for Blushing, a piece for eight dancers. Blushing has since entered the repertory of the Stuttgart Ballet and John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet. In 2005, he created Sweet Sweet Sweet for the Stuttgart Ballet, and the work has since been acquired by the Staatsballet Hannover. Also in 2005, he created Beautiful Freak for the Hamburg Ballet and won the art prize of the Landesstiftung Baden-Württemberg 2005. In September 2005, Mr. Goecke was appointed resident choreographer of Stuttgart Ballet.

The world premiere of Marco Goecke’s Place a Chill is generously underwritten in part by Carl & Renee Behnke, Aya Stark Hamilton and Lyndall Boal.


Tickets ($27 – $165 in advance) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

  • By Phone – 206.441.2424 (Mon.-Fri. 9am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
  • In Person – 301 Mercer Street, Seattle (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
  • Online – (24/7)

Subject to availability, tickets are also available 90 minutes prior to each performance at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street.



All Thursday and Friday performances: March 18, 24 and 25 at 7:30 pm

One ticket for $15 and two for $25 for patrons 25 years and younger! To purchase tickets, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424 or visit 301 Mercer Street. This offer is good for March 18, 24 and 25 performances only. Offer is subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets. Each attendee must present valid I.D. upon ticket retrieval.


PNB is a proud participant of Seattle Center’s Teen Tix program. Young people 13 to 19 years old can purchase tickets to PNB performances and other music, dance, theater and arts events for only $5. To join Teen Tix or view a list of participating organizations, visit Seattle Center’s Teen Tix webpage at


Subject to availability, half-price tickets for students and senior citizens (65+) may be purchased in-person with ID, beginning 90 minutes prior to showtime at the McCaw Hall box office.


Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For group tickets, please call 206.441.2416, email or use PNB’s Online Group Builder at (PNB’s Online Group Builder is available for audience members to gather friends, family and co-workers to see any performance and save.)


Friday, March 11, 6:00 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street, Seattle
Join us for an hour-long dance preview led by Artistic Director Peter Boal and featuring PNB dancers performing excerpts from CONTEMPORARY 4. PNB Friday Previews offer an up-close view of the Company preparing to put dance on stage. Tickets, $10 each, may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at, or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street. (These events often sell out in advance.) Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.


Sunday, March 13, 2:00 pm

Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Avenue on Capitol Hill, Seattle
PNB’s Sunday afternoon series features an hour-long discussion about CONTEMPORARY 4 with PNB dancers Laura Gilbreath, Chelsea Adomaitis, and Ezra Thomson in the casual atmosphere of the Elliott Bay Book Company reading room.  All Conversations with PNB are FREE of charge.


Tuesday, March 15, 12:00 noon

Central Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle

Join PNB for a free lunch-hour preview lecture at the Central Seattle Public Library. Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington will offer insights about CONTEMPORARY 4, complete with video excerpts. FREE of charge.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall
Join choreographer Alexei Ratmansky during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. Attend the lecture only or stay for the dress rehearsal. Tickets are $12 for the lecture, or $25 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer St.

Pre-Performance Lectures
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing ballet to the stage. One hour before all performances. FREE for ticketholders.

Post-Performance Q&A
Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a post-performance Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance in the Norcliffe Room at McCaw Hall. FREE for ticketholders. (At the Saturday, March 19 7:30 performance, the post-show Q&A will be moderated by KUOW’s Marcie Sillman, as part of KUOW’s Front Row Center. For more information, visit

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