Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers Cecilia Iliesiu, Margaret Mullin, and Emma Love Suddarth in Eva Stone’s “F O I L.”

As the name implies, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Locally Sourced celebrates Seattle with three new works commissioned from local artists. But leave your expectations at the door.

“F O I L”—choreographed by Eva Stone, lit by Melanie Burgess, with costumes by Amiya Brown—at first evokes a formal ball, with a dance under a constellation of chandeliers. What follows is perhaps the most memorable image of the night: three female dancers dressed in wide cloth from the waste down, but apparently topless, performing with their backs to the audience. The effect is exquisite but also a quiet display of physical strength, with every muscle carved out by the light from above.

In “Love and Loss,” choreographer Donald Byrd brings the weight of his work for Spectrum Dance Theater to McCaw Hall. The piece begins and ends with men, dressed in something like business casual, slowly crisscrossing the stage with a grim gait. They don’t look at one another or interact—the real Monday morning death march. But in between, Byrd spurs to life so much possibility of feeling.

Cecilia Iliesiu and soloist Dylan Wald in Donald Byrd’s “Love and Loss.”

The first half of the piece’s four movements plays to strings of meditative sadness—the sort of music you might hear in a movie as someone cries in their parked car in the rain—with a fair amount of pining between pairs of dancers as others watch from dark abstract doorways on stage. Byrd seems to illuminate both personal distances and the work we do, or at least imagine doing, to close those distances. 

The second half transitions into meditative hope—the sort of music you might hear as the morning sun peaks over snowy mountains—featuring a pas de duex with soloist Dylan Wald and corps dancer Cecilia Iliesiu so spellbinding, I couldn't help but feel we’ll be watching these two in marquee moments for years to come. 

In the final piece, “Wash of Gray,” Miles Perti more literally celebrates Seattle, with a giant live drawing of Seattle landmarks projected as a backdrop to the dancers. Its abstract moments work best: the gradient gray costuming, the mist falling from the stage to create a sort of foggy curtain all Seattleites should find familiar. 

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s November program tends to quietly slip in some of the season’s most interesting work right before The Nutcracker holiday storm. Whether you want to celebrate Seattle or just look at something beautiful, you’ll benefit from shopping local.

Locally Sourced
Nov 8–17, McCaw Hall, $30–$190

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