February 28, 2013

Press Releases


Featuring works by

George Balanchine – Ulysses Dove – Twyla Tharp

Plus a world premiere by Paul Gibson


March 15 – 24, 2013

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109


7:30 pm on March 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23

Matinees on March 16 at 2:00 pm, and March 24 at 1:00 pm


SEATTLE, WA – MODERN MASTERPIECES, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s March mixed-bill, delivers repertory giants and a world premiere. Artistic Director Peter Boal’s desire to curate new choreographic collections paved the way for works by Ulysses Dove and Twyla Tharp to enter PNB’s repertory. In Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, Dove’s ode to love and loss, the pairing and parting of three couples is illuminated in still pools of white light. Aerobic-clad “stompers” and ankle-socked ballerinas convene under arena-rock haze for Tharp’s In the Upper Room, an exuberant full-court assault from the 80s. Concerto Barocco, George Balanchine’s testament to the mathematical beauty of Bach, achieves flawless form via Francia Russell, one of the first ballet masters chosen by Balanchine to stage his works. And PNB’s own Paul Gibson (The Piano Dance) unveils Mozart Pieces, a new work sensitively crafted to the dancers he knows best.


MODERN MASTERPIECES runs for seven performances only, from March 15 through 24 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $28 and may be purchased by calling 206.441.2424, in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street, or online. PNB thanks the Nesholm Family Foundation, major sponsor of MODERN MASTERPIECES.


In conjunction with MODERN MASTERPIECES, PNB is offering a special event, MEN IN BALLET, on Monday, March 4 at 5:30 pm.  This 90-minute presentation will feature PNB Company men discussing and demonstrating the history of men in ballet, and will include a first look at Paul Gibson’s new work, Mozart Pieces.  Tickets to MEN IN BALLET are only $20, available through the PNB Box Office.


The line-up for MODERN MASTERPIECES will include:


Concerto Barocco
Johann Sebastian Bach (Double Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1043)
Choreography: George Balanchine © New York City Ballet
Staging: Francia Russell
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Running Time: 22 minutes
Premiere: June 27, 1941; American Ballet Caravan (Rio de Janeiro)
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: March 10, 1977; restaged April 13, 1978
Of this landmark piece, Balanchine himself stated: “The only preparation possible is a knowledge of its music [Johann Sebastian Bach’s Double Violin Concerto in D minor], for Concerto Barocco has no ‘subject matter’ beyond the score to which it is danced and the particular dancers who execute it.” Masterfully reflecting Bach’s polyphonic structure and development of musical voices—the brilliant interplay of the two solo violins with the chamber orchestra, and with each other—Balanchine’s choreography is as complex and pure as the music itself. But, as many viewers have noted, the ballet is no literal reproduction of Bach’s great score. Rather, it is movement related so ingeniously to the music’s inner workings that it seems an extra line of counterpoint or a partner in a subtle dialogue.

Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven
Music: Arvo Pärt (Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, 1977)
Choreography: Ulysses Dove
Staging: Eva Säfström
Scenic and Costume Design: Jorge Gallardo
Original Lighting Design: Björn Nilsson
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Running Time: 20 minutes
Premiere: April 29, 1993; Royal Swedish Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: November 2, 2006; restaged August 19, 2009 (Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival)

Set for three couples in white unitards and subtitled Odes to Love and Loss, Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven was choreographed for the Royal Swedish Ballet in 1993 and received its U.S. premiere in 1996 at the For the Love of Dove benefit in New York. According to New York Times dance critic Jennifer Dunning, Dove “suggests a broken flow of relationships by placing his solos and duets in a chain of white spotlights.” Dove himself explained, “To me, Arvo Pärt’s music can send souls to heaven. I want to tell an experience in movement, a story without words, and create a poetic monument over people I loved.”

The 2006 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven was generously underwritten in part by Glenn Kawasaki and Winona & Robert Nilan.


In the Upper Room
Philip Glass (1986)
Choreography: Twyla Tharp
Staging: Shelley Washington and William Whitener
Scenic Design: Santo Loquasto
Costume Design: Norma Kamali
Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton
Running Time: 40 minutes
Premiere: August 28, 1986; Twyla Tharp Dance
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: November 1, 2007; restaged for 2013


The collaboration of Philip Glass and Twyla Tharp united two stars of contemporary music and dance. Commissioned by Tharp for her newly structured company, Twyla Tharp Dance, In the Upper Room previewed as an untitled work-in-progress on July 7, 1986, at the Saratoga Arts Center Little Theater, where the audience’s enthusiasm and subsequent reviews immediately hailed it as a new, dynamic creation. Divided into nine segments, In the Upper Room features thirteen dancers, whose costumes evolve from black and white to dominant red, in a variety of groupings and abstract styles (some on pointe, some in sneakers) that culminates in a dazzling finale for the entire ensemble. (Notes courtesy of Twyla Tharp Productions. Used by permission.)


The 2007 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room was generously underwritten by Glenn Kawasaki.


Mozart Pieces – World Premiere

Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Symphony No. 13 in F major, K. 112, 1771, Menuetto, Molto Allegro; Symphony in B-flat major, K. Anh. 216, 1771, Menuet; Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, K. 22, 1765, Andante, Allegro molto; Symphony No. 9 in C major, K. 73/75a, c. 1769-1770, Molto allegro; Symphony No. 24 in B-flat major, K. 182/173dA, 1773, Allegro; Symphony No. 4 in D major, K. 19, 1765, Allegro; Symphony No. 1 in E-flat major, K. 16, 1764, Presto)
Choreography: Paul Gibson
Costume Design: Mark Zappone
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

Running Time: 23 minutes


Paul Gibson’s Mozart Pieces grew from a work originally choreographed for Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s annual School Performance in 2011, then titled Menuet and Allegros. Revised and expanded for the Company, the ballet is set to a selection of movements from Mozart symphonies. The cast of nine includes seven men who are featured in a series of solos, duets, and ensembles. Mozart Pieces is Paul Gibson’s fifth work for Pacific Northwest Ballet.


Paul Gibson’s world premiere is generously underwritten in part by Deidra Wager and Bonnie Towne.




Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine (1904-1983) is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. He came to the United States in late 1933, at the age of 29, accepting the invitation of the young American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein (1907-1996), whose great passions included the dream of creating a ballet company in America. At Balanchine’s behest, the School of American Ballet was founded in 1934, the first product of the Balanchine-Kirstein collaboration. Several ballet companies directed by the two were created and dissolved in the years that followed, while Balanchine found other outlets for his choreography. Eventually, with a performance on October 11, 1948, New York City Ballet was born. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer from 1948 until his death in 1983. Balanchine’s more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1934), Concerto Barocco (1941), Le Palais de Cristal, later renamed Symphony in C (1947), Orpheus (1948), The Nutcracker (1954), Agon (1957), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), Vienna Waltzes (1977), Ballo della Regina (1978), and Mozartiana (1981). His final ballet, a new version of Stravinsky’s Variations for Orchestra, was created in 1982. He also choreographed for films, operas, revues, and musicals. Among his best-known dances for the stage is Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, originally created for Broadway’s On Your Toes (1936). The musical was later made into a movie. A major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet. Taking classicism as his base, he heightened, quickened, expanded, streamlined, and even inverted the fundamentals of the 400-year-old language of academic dance. This had an inestimable influence on the growth of dance in America. Although at first his style seemed particularly suited to the energy and speed of American dancers, especially those he trained, his ballets are now performed by all the major classical ballet companies throughout the world. [Reprinted by permission of The George Balanchine Foundation.]


Ulysses Dove was an independent choreographer who worked in both the modern dance and ballet idioms. After attending a Martha Graham performance in 1967, Dove gave up his pre-med studies at Howard University to dance professionally with Merce Cunningham, Alvin Ailey, and Anna Sokolow. His first choreography, I See the Moon…and the Moon Sees Me (1979), was commissioned by Ailey. Although he never maintained a company of his own, Dove worked closely with Jeraldyne Blunden’s Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and created works for American Ballet Theatre, Ballet France de Nancy, the Basel Ballet, Cullberg Ballet of Sweden, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, New York City Ballet, and the Swedish National Ballet, for which he created the transcendent Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven (1993). In 1980, he became the assistant director of the experimental Choreographic Research Group of the Paris Opera. Ulysses Dove died in 1996.

Twyla Tharp has choreographed more than 135 dances, five Hollywood movies, directed and choreographed three Broadway shows, written three books, and received one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, seventeen honorary doctorates, and numerous other awards, including a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor. In 1965, Ms. Tharp founded the dance company Twyla Tharp Dance, for which she made 80 pieces, including Nine Sinatra Songs and In the Upper Room. In 1988, Twyla Tharp Dance merged with American Ballet Theatre, where Ms. Tharp created more than a dozen works. Since that time, Ms. Tharp has choreographed dances for many companies, including Paris Opera Ballet, the Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, and the Martha Graham Dance Company. In 1991, Ms. Tharp regrouped Twyla Tharp Dance and the company has been touring internationally to critical acclaim since 1999. Ms. Tharp’s work first went to Broadway in 1980 with When We Were Very Young. In 2002, Ms. Tharp’s and Billy Joel’s award-winning dance musical, Movin’ Out, premiered on Broadway and a national tour opened in January 2004. In film, Ms. Tharp has collaborated with director Milos Forman on Hair (1978), Ragtime (1980), and Amadeus(1984); with Taylor Hackford on White Nights (1985); and with James Brooks on I’ll Do Anything (1994). Her Broadway production, Come Fly Away, opened in March 2010 at the Marquis Theatre and was later reworked to Sinatra: Dance With Me which opened in Las Vegas in 2011.  In 2012, Ms. Tharp created The Princess and the Goblin, a full-length ballet (her first to include children) based on the story by George MacDonald.


Paul Gibson, former principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, joined PNB in 1994 as a soloist and was promoted to the rank of principal mid-season in 1996. Upon retirement from the Company in June 2004, he was immediately named Ballet Master. Originally from Altoona, Pennsylvania, Mr. Gibson trained with Allegheny Ballet Academy and later with summer programs at the School of American Ballet. He won a scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School and joined that company in 1988. His six-year tenure at SFB included leading roles in a varied repertory, ranging from Russian classics to the innovative works of Mark Morris, William Forsythe, Helgi Tomasson, James Kudelka, and Jiri Kylian. During his performing career with PNB, Mr. Gibson was known for his numerous roles in the Balanchine repertory, including Agon, The Four Temperaments, Chaconne, Mozartiana, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as his mastery of contemporary pieces by a variety of choreographers, such as Nacho Duato, José Limón, Kevin O’Day, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, and the works of PNB Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell. Mr. Gibson’s choreographic work includes four world premieres for PNB: Sense of Doubt (2006), Rush (2002), Diversions (1998), and The Piano Dance (2005), which was awarded the Choo San Goh Award for Choreography, and works for PNB School’s Professional Division in the Annual School Performance. After the premiere of Rush, Mikko Nissinen (artistic director of Boston Ballet) nominated Mr. Gibson to participate in the New York Choreographic Institute, where he created a new ballet, titled E.R.A.R., that premiered in PNB’s 2004 Choreographers’ Showcase. Other works include ballets for San Francisco Ballet School, the San Francisco Ballet Choreographic Workshop, and Allegheny Ballet Company.




MODERN MASTERPIECES runs March 15-24 at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center. Showtimes are 7:30 pm on March 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23, with a 2:00 pm matinee on March 16, and a 1:00 pm matinee on March 24. Tickets ($28-$173) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

  • 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.





All Thursday and Friday performances: March 15, 21 & 22 at 7:30 pm

One ticket for $15 or 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 15, 21 and 22 performances only. Offer is subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets. Each attendee must present valid ID upon ticket retrieval.



PNB is a proud participant of Seattle Center’s Teen Tix program. Teen Tix members 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



Subject to availability, half-price rush tickets for students and senior citizens (65+) may be purchased in-person with ID, beginning 90 minutes prior to show time 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 visit





Monday, March 4, 2013, 5:30 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street, Seattle

In this 90-minute lecture-demonstration, PNB Company men discuss and demonstrate the history of men in ballet, featuring a first look at Paul Gibson’s Mozart Pieces. Tickets, $20 each, are on sale now.



Friday, March 8, 2013, 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 rehearsing excerpts from MODERN MASTERPIECES. PNB Friday Previews offer an upbeat and up-close view of the Company preparing to put dance on stage. Tickets, $10 each, are on sale now. (These events sell out in advance.) Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 12:00 noon pm

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 MODERN MASTERPIECES, complete with video excerpts. FREE of charge.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

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

Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall

Join PNB artistic staff for an engaging discussion during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. Attend the lecture only or stay for the rehearsal. Tickets are $12 for the lecture, or $30 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased by calling 206.441.2424, online at or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street.


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 performances. FREE for ticketholders.


Post-Performance Q&A

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders.


Pacific Northwest Ballet thanks the Nesholm Family Foundation, major sponsor of MODERN MASTERPIECES. PNB’s 2012-2013 40th Anniversary Season is proudly sponsored by Microsoft Corporation and ArtsFund. Additional season support is provided by the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and 4Culture – King County Lodging Tax.

Schedule and programming subject to change.

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