dance

In Seattle, the Pacific Northwest Ballet performs The Nutcracker to that same ubiquitous Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky score. The ballet tells the story of Clara, a young girl whose grandfather gives her a nutcracker at a party. One night, Clara goes searching for her nutcracker and walks right into a battle between a regiment of toy soldiers and a wily team of oversized rodents.

photo courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet

When Kent Stowell and his wife, Francia Russell, took over artistic leadership at Pacific Northwest Ballet more than 30 years ago they wanted to build the tiny regional dance company into a national ballet powerhouse. To help them reach that goal, they decided to create a signature holiday production at PNB, a ballet that would distinguish them from all the other American ballet companies.

The logical choice was a new adaptation of "Nutcracker," the story of a young girl who's given a nutcracker doll that magically comes to life. Different versions of this Christmas story are performed across the country.

Courtesy On the Boards

Amy O’Neal is a formally trained white dancer who feels more at home with hip-hop culture and movement than with she does with Western European contemporary art.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Photo/Angela Sterling

Quick! What's the first word that comes to mind when you hear the word ballerina?

Graceful, delicate?

Would you believe fierce?

Courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet/Lindsay Thomas

Most people see only the sparkly side of ballet: the live performances, with dancers in costume, pointe shoes tied, orchestra in the pit. Whether it’s the annual holiday production of “Nutcracker” or an edgier, contemporary work, many of the dancers at Pacific Northwest Ballet see performances as a reward for their hours of rehearsal.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Photo/Lindsay Thomas

Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancer Kaori Nakamura remembers the day she got her first pointe shoes.

Flickr Photo/Balletstar011 (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with former New York City ballerina Jenifer Ringer about her new book, "Dancing Through It: My Journey In The Ballet."

Velocity Dance Center/Jacob Rosen

When you ask Seattle dance insiders which young artists they've got their eyes on, 24-year-old Kate Wallich's name almost always rises to the top of the list.

Courtesy of Bamberg Fine Art

Olivier Wevers remembers the first time he took a dance class; It ended badly. Wevers' mother found her very young son crying at the side of the dance studio.

"They gave me tights to wear," Wevers said. "I wanted a tutu."

Seattle Times Photo/Erika Schultz

It's a sunny Sunday afternoon, the kind of late autumn day made for raking leaves, or watching the Seahawks annihilate yet another challenger.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet/Copyright Lindsay Thomas

Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite might actually be better known in Europe than here on the North American continent. The Vancouver Island native trained in ballet and danced with Ballet British Columbia before moving to Europe to perform with legendary American choreographer William Forsythe.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Photo/Lindsay Thomas

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Studio C is a big rehearsal hall, with the same dimensions as the stage at nearby McCaw Hall where PNB performs. Despite its size, on this afternoon the room feels packed to the gills.

From DASSdance's Facebook page.

Artists are inspired by all sorts of things: a song, an image or a story they want to tell. Choreographer Daniel Wilkins and his company, DASSdance, will premier a new work this weekend, “Tale of Ten Green.”

It springs from the story of the Awa people, an indigenous tribe that lives in Brazil’s Amazon River basin. The Awa haven’t had significant contact with the outside world until recently, and according to Wilkins, the experience has been both violent and exploitative.

“Tale of Ten Green” premiers Friday evening at Seattle’s Washington Hall. 

Francia Russell hasn't performed in 50 years, but she says as soon as she hears the music for George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, her body starts to move: "I could do it in my sleep, you know, get up and sleepwalk and do it."

Pages