Leg Up

By Steve Wiecking February 27, 2009 Published in the March 2009 issue of Seattle Met

“Pacific Northwest Ballet is not necessarily what we thought it was,” artistic director Peter Boal once told us. “Boy, does it have a rich tradition. But are there a million other directions that this company can go in at the same time successfully? Yep.” That was Boal back in 2006, when he was among four recent arrivals we noted who were faced with leading an established arts organization to different heights. Guess which of those arrivals is the only one who succeeded. A company once known mostly for its classical Balanchine repertoire now, thanks to Boal’s innovations, feels a natural home for this month’s Broadway Festival, too. Yet Balanchine still plays a part: Included on the program is his Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, a spoofy confection originally created for the 1936 Rodgers and Hart show On Your Toes. Richard Rodgers’s genius also inspired Christopher Wheeldon’s tribute, Carousel (A Dance), which uses the score for the musical of the same name to depict the fragile relationship of two doomed young lovers. The electric romance of West Side Story Suite by Jerome Robbins (one of Boal’s mentors) should be a season highlight. And a remount of Tony-winning director-choreographer Susan Stroman’s slinky, strutting Take Five…More or Less (pictured, with Kari Brunson) is icing on the cake. Those “million other directions” Boal talked about? They’ve all been thrilling variations on up.

Find the Pacific Northwest Ballet Broadway Festival in our events calendar

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