dance

Hard corps: The baddest dancers you never heard of

Sep 22, 2016
Pacific Northwest Ballet

Gorgeous photos and gifs of Pacific Northwest Ballet's corps de ballet. 

Pacific Northwest Ballet's corps de ballet dancers in George Balanchine's 'Nutcracker.'
Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet/Angela Sterling

Rock stars have back up bands.

Most Broadway musicals have a chorus.

The ballet version of these supporting artists is the corps de ballet; "corps" is French for body.

Join KUOW at On the Boards!

Sep 19, 2016
Juniper Shuey

Join Marcie Sillman for the second Front Row Center of our 2016-2017 Season at On the Board’s "Clear and Sweet."

Experience a fusion of dance and live vocals created by Seattle-based dance and visual art team zoe | juniper. Inspired by American Shape Note singing, "Clear and Sweet" immerses the audience in physical and visual art, blurring the line between performer and observer.

Come see "Clear and Sweet" on Friday, October 21 at 8:00 pm, then stay afterwards for a conversation moderated by KUOW's Marcie Sillman with Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey of zoe | juniper.

Philipp Mergener, 13, as the lead in the Village Theatre production of the hit musical 'Billy Elliot.'
Courtesy of Village Theatre/Mark Kitaoka

The hit musical, “Billy Elliot,” tells the story of a British coal miner’s son who dreams of being a ballet dancer.

Billy has to keep that dream secret from from his family and most of his friends, or risk their ridicule. Thirteen-year-old Seattle resident Philipp Mergener can relate.


Jody Kuehner, left, without her makeup, and Jody Kuehner as Cherdonna, right, with her makeup.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

The woman with the dirty-blonde pixie cut sits before a mirror.

Plastic bags with jars of yellow foundation and purple and blue glitters sit in front of her. Nine makeup brushes are lined up, waiting to be deployed.


The outside of the Francia Russell Center in Bellevue. The Francia Russell Center is part of Pacific Northwest Ballet and will soon have to move because it is in the light rail pathway.
Google Maps

UPDATE: On Monday, Jan. 25, King County Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle ruled against Pacific Northwest Ballet. The judge said Sound Transit may use fair market value for PNB’s eastside school, rather than the replacement value of the facility. The ruling only determines the method of assessment for the property value. A jury may still place a higher value on the school. A court hearing on the issue is set for June.

Pacific Northwest Ballet has performed in a lot of places.

But Friday the dance company will be on a new stage: a King County Superior Court room.

PNB wants a judge to settle a dispute with Sound Transit.

Jonathan Porretta was the only boy in his dance class in Totowa, New Jersey. Dance was his refuge, where he could shine. He ended up at School of American Ballet in New York City, where he was scouted by Kent Stowell of Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Courtesy Jane D'Annunzio

A dancer stands alone on the stage. He is dressed in black tights only; his bare chest is broad and muscular.

As the bassoonist plays the first plaintive notes of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” the lights come up and the dancer’s body undulates like a stalk of wheat in the wind. Slowly, he lifts his shoulders, and his extended arms drift up like wings of a bird.

Pacific Northwest Ballet company members in George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker."
Angela Sterling

You take a chance any time you swap out an old favorite for something new.

Make a change during the holiday season and a nonprofit arts group could risk a significant portion of its annual income if tickets don’t sell. But play it safe and there’s the risk of producing stale art.

photo by Lindsay Thomas

Long before Misty Copeland grabbed international headlines as the first African American woman named principal dancer at American Ballet Theater in New York, Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet was scouting for young people like Copeland: potential dancers who might not find ballet on their own.

A dancer and stager rehearse Loïe Fuller's 'Lily of the Nile.'
University of Washington/Steve Korn

One of the things that’s so exciting about dance is one of the things that can be most frustrating:

Dance is ephemeral.

It’s live, it’s in the moment, and then, poof, that dance you’ve just seen is a memory.

A 'Snowflake' dress waits for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's new version of 'The Nutcracker.'
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The winter holidays are months away, but at Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers and crew are working at a fever pitch on the annual production of "The Nutcracker." 

This year’s version is brand new to PNB. Choreographed by the late George Balanchine, it features new sets and costumes by children’s author/illustrator Ian Falconer.

See how these costumes are coming to life:

Former PNB dancer Ariana Lallone at Teatro Zinzanni.
Courtesy of Teatro Zinzanni/Michael Doucett

She may kill me for revealing her age, but what the heck? 

Ariana Lallone is 47 years old, and she’s as striking and vibrant as the first time I saw her dance with Pacific Northwest Ballet 20 years ago.

Marcie Sillman talks to  hip-hop artist DJ Blesone about his motivation behind breakdancing.

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Carla Korbes and Batkhurel Bold in George Balanchine's "Diamonds."
PNB/Angela Sterling

When Seattle ballerina Carla Korbes dons a white tutu in the classic ballet, “Swan Lake,” she can make you believe she’s a swan.

That uncanny ability has made Korbes a darling in the ballet world – so beloved that New York Times chief dance critic Alastair Macaulay regularly flies out to see her perform. He calls her one of the world’s greatest ballerinas today because of how she feels the music and embodies the characters.

PNB soloist Kiyon Gaines in Twyla Tharp's "Waiting at the Station."
Courtesy PNB/Angela Sterling

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Kiyon Gaines says he didn’t find ballet -- ballet found him.

The Baltimore native didn’t start dancing until he was 10. He studied tap and jazz. Somebody told him that ballet lessons would help him with how he carried his arms. So his mother enrolled him in a local class.

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