New Choreography To Explore Identity, Creativity, Darkness in PNB’s EMERGENCE, Nov. 6-15

Posted on November 05, 2015, 10:46 am
3 mins


Pacific Northwest Ballet’s second program of their 2015-16 season, EMERGENCE, opens to Seattle audiences Friday November 6. The line-up includes four distinct contemporary pieces, including a world premiere, Signature, with choreography by PNB corps member Price Suddarth. The music of the four works will provide some fabulous contrast to the collective contemporary atmosphere, with sources as far-ranging as Stravinsky, 12th century medieval, and an all-new score by Seattle composer Barret Anspach.

Kiyon Gaines’s Sum Stravinsky will begin the program with Balanchine-inspired choreography, a Stravinsky score, and an exploration of shape, pattern and onstage collective motion. This work was seen at PNB in 2012 for the company’s 40th Anniversary season, and an immediate favorite of audiences and dancers alike. The second piece in the program, The Calling, contains haunting choreography by Jessica Lang set against a backdrop of medieval chant. Although the piece is new to PNB audiences, Lang’s extensive body of works and accreditations, along with her former association with Twyla Tharp, is more than enough to intrigue Seattle audiences.

Price Suddarth’s world premiere, Signature, begins the second half of the program. One of Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to Watch, Suddarth’s choreographic career has been building since 2007, with his participation in workshops and festivals nationwide; this will be his first mainstage premiere as choreographer at PNB. Signature’s score is an original work by Pacific Northwest Native Barret Anspach, an active composer of chamber and pop music alike, with a special interest in scoring for ballet.

The titular work will close the program; Crystal Pite’s Emergence premiered at PNB in 2013; the work has won numerous Dora Mavor Moore awards, including Outstanding New Choreography and Outstanding Production. The work explores “individual expression and collective problem solving through movement” and prizes the “grotesque over the beautiful.” From the press release:

A riveting dark-hued work that casts a swarming, scurrying group of dancers, insect-like, in an eerily subterranean universe, Emergence dramatizes through its mesmerizing choreographic attack the ways in which the instinct for creating social forms seems hard-wired into life itself. Pite’s inspiration for the work came from reading Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software by American popular science theorist Steven Johnson and considering parallels between the social organization of bees and the hierarchical nature of classical ballet companies.

For those who have given up hope of PNB truly diving into the world of more experimental works, this is the show you’ve been waiting for. There are seven performances only–check PNB’s website now for ticket and calendar information, and be sure to keep an eye on their entire 2015-16 season for even more new choreography.

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s EMERGENCE

When: November 6 – 15, 2015

Where: McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street

Claire Biringer is a Seattle-based music lover, educator and writer. She holds an MA in Music History from University of Washington, where her primary research involved contemporary opera and its social implications. She enjoys using music and writing to build communities and broaden minds.

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