Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pacific Northwest Ballet & Twyla Tharp

This photograph, by the incredible ballet photographer Angela Sterling, is of Charlie Neshyba-Hodges, Kaori Nakamura, and Olivier Wevers in Afternoon Ball, a world premiere by Twyla Tharp. The dancing was stunning, the music by Vladimir Martynov was haunting, spiraling, and tension-inducing (like a Philip Glass tone poem or Arvo Part meditation), the costumes by Mark Zappone were just perfect. And of course, all of this only went to support Tharp's amazing talent as a choreographer. What struck me most about the piece was her insight...she must be a keen observer of people in their everyday lives; she must have empathy and sympathy for those whose lives are less than easy; and to translate that onto the stage takes a lifetime of experience. R.M. Campbell's review in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was generally spot on. However, what he saw at the end was certainly not what several of us saw. He describes the end as: "...... the blissful woman, alone and in a change of costume -- a long white dress, with a very, very long, train -- arrives upstage and sweeps the street tough, now shivering, perhaps withdrawing from a drug, into her arms. He is redeemed, I guess." We saw the "blissful woman" as the Angel of Death, providing succour and comfort. The lighting by Randall Chiarelli was amazing. We are very fortunate to have Peter Boal here to bring such freshness and inspiration to PNB.

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