“I love tickets!” squeals Cameron Diaz’s character in the first Charlie’s Angels movie. (And why has no one ever made a gif of that?) It’s supposed to illustrate what an eccentric character she is, but I understand completely. I love tickets. And spring is ticket season. Season-ticket season, to be precise. All of the arts organizations announce their upcoming seasons, tickets go on sale, and I spend hours each spring planning what I will be doing on Saturday nights all next winter. I’ve already written about next season’s offerings at Seattle Opera. Now let’s talk about ballet.
Of all the arts, ballet is the one I love to watch most. As a hopeless klutz with no rhythm, dance is nothing less than magic to me. And when I say ‘dance’ I usually mean Pacific Northwest Ballet. I’ve attended most performances of most seasons since I saw the Nutcracker for the first time in 1993, and it just keeps getting better. Peter Boal has been the Artistic Director of PNB since 2005, but since most of the ballets I missed came between 2007 and 2012 when I had small kids, I still think of him as the new guy. In any case, I love the direction PNB has moved under his direction. On top of PNB’s Balanchine foundation Boal has built a company with a strong repertoire of modern dance that is as challenging to the viewer as the dancer (in different ways, of course). Every season I look forward to a mix of ballets that I know will make me look at dance in new ways.
Let’s see what’s in store for 2016-2017, shall we?
September 23–October 2, 2016
3 Movements (Steve Reich / Benjamin Millepied)
Appassionata (Ludwig van Beethoven / Benjamin Millepied)
Symphony in C (Georges Bizet / George Balanchine © The School of American Ballet)
November 4–13, 2016
Forgotten Land (Benjamin Britten / Jiří Kylián)
Stravinsky Violin Concerto (Igor Stravinsky / George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust)
February 3–12, 2017
(Sergei Prokofiev/ Jean-Christophe Maillot)
March 17–26, 2017
Empire Noir* (Greg Haines / David Dawson)
New Suite (George Frideric Handel, Luciano Berio and Johann Sebastian Bach / William Forsythe)
New Lang** (TBA / Jessica Lang)
I had the flu the last time PNB performed a David Dawson ballet, so I look forward to a second chance. I have seen a Forsythe, but had to look up an old post to remember what it was. Jessica Lang? I thought she was an actress.
But Director’s Choice is always one of my favorite programs of the year, in large part because it stretches me as an audience member. I expect this will be the same.
BALLET ON BROADWAY
April 14–23, 2017
Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Richard Rodgers / George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust)
West Side Story Suite (Leonard Bernstein / Jerome Robbins with Peter Genarro)
PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
June 2–11, 2017
La Source (Léo Delibes / George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust)
Opus 19/The Dreamer (Sergei Prokofiev / Jerome Robbins)
Pictures at an Exhibition (Modest Mussorgsky / Alexei Ratmansky)
All three of these are new to PNB, and it’s always exciting to see new work (even if you’re like me and have forgotten most of what you’ve already seen). It’s fun to think that with all the Balanchine PNB performs, there are still pieces that we haven’t seen. Jerome Robbins is usually a safe bet. The only Ratmansky I can remember seeing was Don Quixote, which was actually cobbled together by several artists, but I enjoyed it a lot. But the title reminds me of Jerome Robbins’ “The Concert,” which I also enjoyed, so I expect great things.
Tickets to individual performances are not on sale yet, but if you’re willing to commit, season tickets are the cheapest they are going to be right now. Too late for me, but if you’re under 40, PNB recently introduced a young subscribers circle similar to the opera’s Bravo Club that offers some especially good deals.