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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 28, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 39
Cinderella a perfect start to PNB's 40th year
Arts & Entertainment
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Cinderella a perfect start to PNB's 40th year

by Milton W. Hamlin - SGN A&E Writer

CINDERELLA
PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET
McCAW HALL
Through September 30


Pacific Northwest Ballet opened its 40th anniversary season September 21 with a glorious revival of Kent Stowell's flashy, memorable, and challenging Cinderella. The choreography by PNB's founding co-director remains delightful, if not terribly exciting. It is a story ballet and that story is world-famous in various performance and publication formats. The incredible costumes, the gold and white ballroom set in Act II, the gilded coach, and the dozen or so 'baby ballerinas' carried the show and gave the near-capacity crowd something to cheer about. And cheer that happy crowd did.

The story remains the same, and is clear for audiences of all ages. This writer's guest for the opening was his nearly 11-year old granddaughter who marveled at every moment. She now wants a 'red dress, short, like the ladies who waltzed.' Well, that will happen - even if it's Value Village rather than Neiman-Marcus. Every child in the audience - and every adult, it truly seemed - was dazzled by the high energy and superlative dancing. The costumes may have carried the palace ball scene, but the incredible skill of the talented PNB cast - from older character actor/dancers to the tiny tots who stole their every scene - made the evening truly joyous. The children added fun, fun, fun (and undoubtedly sold several hundred seats to proud family members at every performance).

The leads were, as usual, incredible on opening night. SGN and this reviewer tend not to stress names since each production has a rotating repertory of dancers - usually three, sometimes four, in each major part and most character roles. But, to be truthful, Carla K├Ârbes' title role work, Karel Cruz's Prince Charming, and Jonathan Poretta's Court Jester simply will never be bettered. Matched, perhaps, but never topped. Both leads are incredible dancers and beautiful people - he is a hunk-and-a-half who truly glitters as he walks (or waltzes), and she is a tiny Cinderella who takes command of the stage and never lets go. Poretta seemed to be dancing on springs - his high leaps and big, big smile stopped the show.

One word sums it all up: Go. Ticket information and reservations at www.pnb.org or (206) 441-2424. Ask about senior, student, and rush discounts.

PNB's next mixed repertory program features four world or Seattle premieres. What a wonderful contrast. Watch SGN for details.

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