The Piano Dance

Chalnessa Eames and Josh Spell in
The Piano Dance. Photo © Angela Sterling

Music: Frederic Chopin (Prelude, Op. 28, No. 4, 1835-1839), John Cage (Opening Dance for Sue Laub, c. 1940), Gyorgy Ligeti (II, III, IV, VI, and X from Musica Ricercata, 1951–1953), Bela Bartok (“Chromatic Invention” and “Ostinato” from Mikrokosmos, Sz. 107, BB 105, 1931-1939), and Alberto Ginastera (Suite de Danzas Criollas, Op. 15. No. 1, 1946)
Choreography: Paul Gibson
Costume Design: Mark Zappone
Lighting Design: Lisa J. Pinkham
Duration: 24 minutes
Premiere: April 14, 2005; Pacific Northwest Ballet

Ten works for solo piano by five composers accompany the contrasting dances for four couples in Paul Gibson’s The Piano Dance, choreographed for Pacific Northwest Ballet. Although the composers chosen lived during a span covering more than a hundred years, Gibson sees in their works a common respect for the expression of melody. He has devised a series of solos, duets, and pas de trois for his dancers, set to music chosen for variety and for affinity to the dance impulse.

The Piano Dance offers a sharp contrast to Gibson’s earlier works for the Company, in which he favored large-scale orchestral scores and required big ensembles. This new creation demonstrates his wish to convey the clarity of ballet performance in a setting of intimate and brilliant miniatures.


Notes by Leland Windreich; edited by Doug Fullington, 2009.

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