In kindergarten, almost every kid has the same favorite subject in school – Choice Time. Choice time usually disappears in third grade, but when it does appear in later life, it’s usually still a favorite. For me, that means the annual Director’s Choice program at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Of course, it’s the director’s job to pick the programs, so in a sense every program is the director’s choice. But the idea behind Director’s Choice is that for this one program, the director picks ballets he likes best without consideration for budgets and ticket sales. I doubt that the director is ever free from those considerations, but it’s a nice idea and it is true that Director’s Choice includes more premieres and bolder works than other programs throughout the season. Which is why I always end up liking it best.
This year was even more special to me, because for once, I only brought my kids to the introduction of the blog post, but was free to attend and enjoy the actual ballet for myself, without consideration for what kind of value it may have for kids or how to help kids understand and enjoy it. Even better, my companion for the evening is a dancer herself, so I could share her insights that I would never get on my own. Continue reading
Photo © Angela Sterling c/o PNB
Omakase, written with the character for trust, is the word you use when you order chef’s choice at a sushi restaurant. It shows that you trust the skill of the chef to know better than you what is in season and what will taste best together. When you say omakase, instead of giving an order, you are trusting the chef to create the best experience for you, like a DJ controlling the atmosphere of a party by selecting the right beats. You are likely to be served dishes outside of your comfort zone, and while you might not like all of them, a good chef will create a more delicious and memorable meal than you could have selected for yourself.
Each spring, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Director’s Choice program is ballet omakase. The mixed rep program is Director Peter Boal’s opportunity to express his own taste and to stretch the audience and the dancers with dances that are more challenging or unusual than the regular season fare. Continue reading
The Director’s Choice repertory is always one of my favorite ballet performances of the year; I look forward to Peter Boal’s selection of modern, intriguing, challenging pieces all year. So when I found myself running a temperature of 102 F a day before I was supposed to go, I hated the thought of missing it. Fortunately, as a season subscriber, I was able to call the box office and change my dates without any fees. Unfortunately, on the day of the final performance, I was still completely out of commission, so I ended up sending my husband and daughter. My daughter has been attending the ballet for half of her life. That’s only five years of ballet, so her opinions are not necessarily the same as mine. But her opinions (lightly edited) are the ones you’re getting today.
In one episode of the Curious George cartoon, the man in the yellow hat says, “Magnetism is my favorite invisible force!” My family loved that line and we’ve found a surprising number of opportunities to use it in real life. At the 2014 Director’s Choice program last weekend, Pacific Northwest Ballet made a convincing argument for some of the others – and I’m not talking about gravity. Continue reading