“You never take me to the modern ballets,” my 8-year-old complained. “I only get to go to the story ballets.” Was she right? Conventional wisdom tells us to introduce kids to ballet through story, but I’ve never really bought it. After all, little kids are far more likely to spontaneously erupt into abstract dance than adults are, so why would they have a harder time understanding it? But as a reviewer, I do tend to take the kid closest to the age that readers are likely to want to bring, so maybe my artistic younger daughter had been unfairly sequestered in the story ballet ghetto? Fortunately, Pacific Northwest Ballet came to rescue with Her Story, a mixed rep of contemporary ballet choreographed by three of the world’s leading choreographers. The title implied a feminist theme, but the only link between the three pieces is that the choreographers are all women, and all three pieces are magnificent. Continue reading
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