PNB Blog Entries

Below are past entries from the PNB Blog. Visit the blog for for insider information on what's happening, commentary by artistic staff, and news & events! You can also follow PNB's recent blog entries on PNB's Facebook Fan Page.

PNB Goes Back to School

By (Pacific Northwest Ballet)
Friday, Oct 10 at 1:01 PM

Photo: PNB Community Education Department staff and faculty, August 2014

By Ana Maria Campoy, PNB Community Education Programs Assistant and Teaching Artist

I have always loved the first week of school. There is this exciting feeling of another new start, new things to learn, and new ambitions that makes one ready to whole-heartedly dive into whatever the year has to hold. I am not embarrassed to say that I still do “back-to-school” shopping every year!

The main reason I love back-to-school season is because the PNB Community Education Department hits the ground running (or should I say dancing!) at full speed. We have such a talented, intelligent, and passionate group of teaching artists and accompanists whose excitement about being back in the classrooms is completely infectious. It is impossible not to soak up their joy and eagerness. Every year we have different students, maybe different teachers and principals, but that enthusiasm never goes way.

Photo: PNB teaching artist Shannon Barnes with 2nd grade DISCOVER DANCE students. Photo © Bill Mohn

Our biggest program, DISCOVER DANCE, started last week. This residency program introduces dance to students and schools that otherwise have no dance education programming. Entire classrooms work with one of our teaching artists for 3-4 months, learning dance vocabulary and choreographic basics in order to create a dance. Each classroom choreographs a final piece that integrates curriculum they are learning in another subject area. We have seen dances based on science, math, stories, and social studies. The best part is seeing these students taking ownership of their part within their dance as well as an increased desired to express oneself through movement. This year we have 37 participating classrooms, 940 students, 54 teachers, and 14 different languages within our 11 DISCOVER DANCE partner schools. All in all this will mean over 1,200 instructional hours this school year!

Photo: PNB teaching artist Lauren Kirchner with 3rd grade DISCOVER DANCE students. Photo © Jacob Lambert

I visited some of these schools last week and students still remember, with great pride, the dance they created with their classmates, acknowledging that it took diligence, collaboration, and practice to get performance ready. They all still enjoy and connect to dance. With lasting impressions like that, how can I not be excited for this time of year every year?

Photo: DISCOVER DANCE students explore the concept of level using a mirroring exercise. Photo © Jacob Lambert

I have so many memories every year from our programs that honestly, this post could go on forever. Here are some of my favorites: 
  • Seeing students (including sports-loving boys!) leap as they exit PNB Studios after a fieldtrip, because they were inspired not only from their dance class, but also from watching PNB Company dancers during rehearsal.
  • Hearing a student explain that music is necessary because “it gives dancers emotions”.
  • Students asking, “You mean, someone like ME, can dance? Someone like ME can be a dancer?” I have heard that from students of every age, race, physical ability, and gender. It is inspiring to hear PNB teaching artists, dancers, and partners look those students in the eye and say, “Yes, dance belongs to everyone,” every time.
Photo: 7th grade students participate in a DISCOVER DANCE class at their school. Photo © Jacob Lambert

  • The moment when audiences cheer for our students at a DISCOVER DANCE Performance at McCaw Hall or at their school. Seeing families and friends bursting with pride after the performance is also pretty unforgettable. 
  • Hearing gasps, “ooooohs”, and loud cheers when the curtain comes up on the McCaw Hall stage during our EYES ON DANCE Student Matinees. I love seeing Nutcracker, Don Quixote, or Snow White through the eyes of students; watching the audience is just as magical as watching the dancers on stage. 
  • The reverence every student gives when visiting the costume shop as well as the sincere, thoughtful responses every worker gives when peppered with questions.
  • Students who begin to connect with their peers and teacher, understand a subject, or gain self-confidence because of what they gained in dance class. 
  • Observing our ten teaching artists throughout the year, seeing how they grow as artists and teachers. Their dedication to the work and students they serve is vast.

Two years ago we served 18,861 students and community members through our Community Education Programs. Last year we served 22,173 students and community members. I truly admire how our Programs Manager, Kayti Bouljon, keeps looking at our programs and says, “We did great last year. Let’s do better. Let’s reach more students. Let’s continue making dance accessible to more people.”

Photo: An 8th grade student prepares for the DISCOVER DANCE performance at McCaw Hall. Photo © Jacob Lambert
Every year we face various challenges within the classroom and outside of it (new principals, new teachers, limited resources, etc.), but that’s what working in arts education has taught us. You dive in, you get confronted with new things, you work harder, you learn, and grow. I’m so proud of PNB being a part of Seattle Public Schools’ new Creative Advantage arts education initiative; the ability to reach more students, teachers, parents, and communities, is there. Every student should have access to an arts education, to know that dance is a part of them. Movement is innate to us as humans, dance is not exclusive, and it belongs to all of us. Through the Creative Advantage we are working so that every student can dance. Is our team ready to dance with them?

To which I can only respond in true, back-to-school spirit: Yes, let’s begin.

Photo: PNB Community Education Programs Assistant Ana Maria Campoy leading a behind-the-scenes tour. Photo © Lindsay Thomas

10 Things You Need To Know About Justin Peck

By (Pacific Northwest Ballet)
Thursday, Oct 09 at 3:18 PM

10. Recently named New York City Ballet’s Resident Choreographer (he’s the second person to hold this title)

9. Made Buzzfeed’s list for “37 Dreamy Ballet Boys You’ll Want to Dance With” (#12)

8. Works debuting this season at New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet and, of course, PNB

7. Stars in a new documentary film titled “Ballet 422” that shadows Peck while he creates the company’s 422nd original piece while also fulfilling his role as a Corps de Ballet member

6. Has done two collaborations with Sufjan Stevens, “The Year of the Rabbit” and “Everywhere We Go

5. PNB previewing Debonair, Justin's new work for PNB at New York City's Joyce Theater this week

4. Did not start taking ballet lessons until the age of 13

3. Is a soloist with the New York City Ballet

2. He is on Instagram - follow him!

1. 20% OFF tickets to Director’s Choice (Nov 7-16), just for you! Click to buy.

Photos: Justin Peck and PNB Company Dancers rehearsing Debonair © Lindsay Thomas. Justin Peck © Paul Kolnik 0 Comments

Peter Boal Announces Two Promotions at "Jewels" Opening Night.

By (Josh Rowland)
Friday, Sep 26 at 7:50 PM

Jerome Tisserand in Kent Stowell's Swan Lake. © Angela Sterling.
Seattle, WA – Before the curtain rose on Pacific Northwest Ballet’s season-opening performance of George Balanchine’s Jewels, PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal made a special announcement to the audience. “It gives me great pleasure to announce two well-deserved promotions.” To hearty rounds of applause, Mr. Boal informed the audience that soloist Jerome Tisserand has been promoted to principal dancer, and Leta Biasucci has moved from the corps de ballet to the rank of soloist.

Jerome Tisserand has performed almost every male principal role in our vast repertoire, from Franz to Romeo to Siegfried and tomorrow he adds a Diamond to his impressive collection,” said Mr. Boal. “He is every bit the Prince with an equal command of the contemporary. Last spring, dancing opposite Kaori Nakamura on opening night of Giselle, he gave us a portrayal of Albrecht that was not only technically thrilling but also dramatically nuanced and on that night, he became an unofficial principal dancer. Tonight let’s make it official. Please join me in congratulating PNB’s newest principal, Jerome Tisserand.”

Mr. Tisserand is from Lyon, France. He trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School, with Pascale Courdioux in Lyon, and at the School of American Ballet. He joined Miami City Ballet as an apprentice in 2006. Mr. Tisserand joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2007 and was promoted to soloist in 2012. Mr. Tisserand won second prize at the 2003 Dance Festival of Artists in Nyon, Switzerland, and first prize in the 2004 Prix Carpeaux in Valenciennes, France.

Leta Biasucci in Diamonds. Photo © Lindsay Thomas

Stated Mr. Boal in his announcement: “Leta Biasucci has been turning heads since her arrival in our Company three years ago. In her first year with the Company, she stepped easily into the role of the up-and-comer in Christopher Wheeldon’s Variations Sèrieuses, and knocked our socks off in her debut as the insouciant Swanilda in Coppélia. She offers a potent combination of technique, musicality, and presence that seems to defy her pint-sized proportions. With a stunning debut as Aurora last February, I knew we had a ballerina in the making or perhaps just a ballerina in need of a promotion. Seen tonight as the lead in Rubies, please join me in congratulating Leta Biasucci on her well-deserved promotion to soloist.”

Ms. Biasucci is from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She studied under Marcia Dale Weary at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and became a trainee at San Francisco Ballet School in 2006. She joined Oregon Ballet Theatre in 2008. Ms. Biasucci joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2011.

Prior to the opening night announcements, Mr. Boal also hired Dylan Wald to join the Company as an apprentice.

Mr. Wald is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He studied at Minnesota Dance Theatre & the Dance Institute, where he became an apprentice in 2012, and at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. He attended summer courses at PNB School, the School of American Ballet, The Juilliard School, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. While a student at PNB School, Mr. Wald performed corps de ballet roles in Company performances of George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter Boal’s Giselle, Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty, Crystal Pite’s Emergence, and Kent Stowell’s Nutcracker. He performed a leading role in Kyle Davis’ Sylvia for PNB School’s Annual School Performance, and a leading role in Bruce Wells’ Pinocchio. He also originated roles in ballets by Angelica Generosa and Jahna Frantziskonis, Price Suddarth, and Ezra Thomson for PNB’s annual NEXT STEP choreographers’ showcase.

PNB congratulates our newly promoted and hired dancers!

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Pacific Northwest Ballet, one of the largest and most highly regarded ballet companies in the United States, was founded in 1972. In July 2005, Peter Boal became artistic director, succeeding Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, artistic directors since 1977. The Company of nearly fifty dancers presents more than 100 performances each year of full-length and mixed repertory ballets at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle and on tour. The Company has toured to Europe, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, and throughout the United States, with celebrated appearances at Jacob's Pillow and in New York City and Washington DC.

George Balanchine’s Jewels™ was made possible by Bob & Cynthia Benson and Peter & Peggy Horvitz, with the support of Van Cleef & Arpels, Neiman Marcus, and HSBC. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2014-2015 Season is proudly sponsored by ArtsFund and Microsoft Corporation.

PNB Publicity Contact
Gary Tucker, Media Relations Manager

Pacific Northwest Ballet
301 Mercer Street  Seattle, WA  98109  206.441.2424

Press Release: Principal Dancer Carla Körbes to Retire at End of the 2014-2015 Season

By (Pacific Northwest Ballet)
Thursday, Sep 18 at 11:07 AM

PNB Principal Carla Körbes

Special Tribute to be part of Season Encore Performance, June 7, 2015

SEATTLE, WA — Pacific Northwest Ballet Artistic Director Peter Boal and principal dancer Carla Körbes have announced that Ms. Körbes will retire from the Company at the end of PNB’s 2014-2015 season. Ms. Körbes joined PNB as a soloist in 2005 and was promoted to principal in 2006.

"I have had unforgettable moments with Pacific Northwest Ballet,” said Ms. Körbes regarding her decision. “I am thankful and honored to have shared the stage with all the dancers at PNB and have had the opportunity to work with such a generous staff. At this moment I am ready to start a new phase in my life. My body is ready to move on, so I need to respect that. Ballet has been my life, so I hope to continue to explore the art form in new ways and try new artistic endeavors."

“I've been in denial about Carla's insistence that this season be her last,” said Mr. Boal in his announcement. “When I think about the many exquisite moments she has afforded us over the past decade, I think I might be selfish to want more. One more Kitri, one more Odette/Odile and one more In the Middle, please? Yes, we may have those, but I trust Carla with this difficult decision. After all, she's always had impeccable timing.”

Mr. Boal continued: “Our story began almost twenty years ago when I arrived in Porto Alegre, Brazil to perform Apollo with ‘a local girl.’ I was apprehensive to say the least, having performed with a few too many ‘local girls’ in my day. But when a stick of a girl named Carlinha entered the stage with a blonde bun the size of a brioche and arches to match, I was in awe. Trust me when say that I'm not the kind of person who would summon a translator to tell a fourteen-year-old she needed to leave her home and her family in order to move to New York City to train at the School of American Ballet, but after one seamless run-through of the pas de deux in Apollo, I knew I needed to take action. Carla was that rare bird with a gift greater than she, her parents or even her teachers understood. She offered the very essence of the Balanchine aesthetic coupled with true graciousness and instinctive musicality. She was a breath of fresh air and continues to be just that almost twenty years later at the height of her career. How fortunate we are to have her artistry on proud display in our city, on our stage and on stages around the world. Carla is an absolute treasure.”

Audiences will have several more opportunities to see Ms. Körbes perform during the 2014-2015 season, including the upcoming Jewels (September 26 – October 5), Nutcracker(November 28 – December 28), Don Quixote (January 30 – February 8, 2015), and Swan Lake (April 10 – 19), among others. (She will also be appearing in the preview performances of Justin Peck’s Debonair at The Joyce Theater in New York City on October 8 – 12, and in the work’s premiere in Seattle, November 7 – 16.) During the run of Jewels, Ms. Körbes is scheduled to dance the lead role in Diamonds on Friday, September 26 (opening night) and Saturday, October 4; and Emeralds on Saturday, September 27 (matinee), Thursday, October 2, and Friday, October 3. (For up-to-date casting information, check performance details on Schedule and casting is subject to change). The season will conclude with PNB’s annual Season Encore Performance (6:30 pm on Sunday, June 7) which will feature Ms. Körbes reprising some of her signature performances. Tickets to Jewels, in addition to the rest of PNB’s season offerings, may be purchased through the PNB Box Office, 206.441.2424, online at, or in person at 301 Mercer Street. Tickets to the Season Encore Performance are on sale now for PNB’s season subscribers only, and will go on sale to the general public on January 19, 2015.

Carla Körbes was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and began her ballet training at age five with local teachers. At age eleven, she began studying at Ballet Vera Bublitz. In 1996, Peter Boal danced with her as a guest artist of the school and encouraged her to come to New York to study at the School of American Ballet. For academic year 1997–1998, her tuition was paid by Alexandra Danilova so she could continue studying at the School of American Ballet. In 1999, she was the Mae. L. Wien Award recipient and was made an apprentice with New York City Ballet. She joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2000 and was the Janice Levin Dancer Honoree for 2001–2002. She was promoted to soloist in 2005 and later that year joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as a soloist. Ms. Körbes was promoted to principal dancer in 2006. 

In 2006, DANCE magazine selected Ms. Körbes for their annual “25 to Watch” feature, and she appeared on the cover of DANCE in February, 2010. Gia Kourlas, in a New York Times profile, described Ms. Körbes as “one of America’s most remarkable ballerinas. When she burst onto the scene, seeing her glittering intensity and silky phrasing was like watching Balanchine with new eyes.”  In a 2012 review of her performance at the Vail International Dance Festival, Alastair Macaulay, dance critic of The New York Times, wrote that “There’s no question that she is one of the finest ballerinas appearing in America today; some think her the finest, and last weekend I felt in no mood to contradict them.

For PNB she has originated leading roles in Paul Gibson's Sense of Doubt, Benjamin Millepied's 3 Movements, Christopher Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic, and Twyla Tharp's Opus 111. She has performed leading roles in the majority of PNB’s repertory, including the works of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Kent Stowell, and Twyla Tharp.  She has danced leads in all of PNB’s full-length repertory, including Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake (Odette/Odile), Nutcracker (Clara, Flora), and Cinderella (Cinderella); George Balanchine’s Coppélia (Swanilda); Peter Boal’s Giselle (Giselle); Ronald Hynd's The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora, Gold and Silver pas de trois, Lilac Fairy); Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette (Juliet); and Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote (Kitri).

At New York City Ballet, Ms. Körbes first danced leading and featured roles in Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15EpisodesA Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania, Helena), and Serenade; Peter Martins' Concerto for Two Solo PianosSinfoniaThe Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake; and Jerome Robbins' Antique EpigraphsFanfareThe Four SeasonsI’m Old Fashioned, and Interplay. She originated leading roles in Albert Evans' Haiku, Peter Martins' Chichester Psalms, Susan Stroman’s Double Feature, Richard Tanner's Soiree, and Christopher Wheeldon's An American in Paris and Shambards.

Other leading roles have included George Balanchine's Agon, ApolloConcerto BaroccoDiamonds, Duo Concertant, EmeraldsA Midsummer Night’s Dream (Divertissement pas de deux), Prodigal SonSerenade, Slaughter on Tenth AvenueLa SonnambulaSymphony in Three Movements, and La Valse; Val Caniparoli's The Bridge; Merce Cunningham's Inlets 2; Sonia Dawkins' Ripple Mechanics; David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to my Skin; Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels and Serious Pleasures; Nacho Duato's Jardí Tancat and Rassemblement; William Forsythe's Artifact II and In the middle, somewhat elevated; Jiri Kylian's Petite Mort; Mark Morris' A Garden and Pacific; Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH; Jerome Robbins' Fancy FreeGlass PiecesIn the Night, and West Side Story Suite (Anita); Kent Stowell's Carmina Buranaand Hail to the Conquering Hero; Susan Stroman's TAKE FIVE…More or Less; Richard Tanner's Ancient Airs and Dances; Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs and Waterbaby Bagatelles; and Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain pas de deuxCarousel (A Dance), and Polyphonia

In 2002, Ms. Körbes performed Richard Tanner's Ancient Airs and Dances for the nationally televised PBS Live from Lincoln Center broadcast, "New York City Ballet's Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography." In addition to her performances with New York City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ms. Körbes has performed with Peter Boal and Company and in the debut performance of Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company. She has also performed as a guest artist on the Vail International Dance Festival’s “International Evenings of Dance” galas and at the “Dance Open” Gala in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2010.

All performances are at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center.

  • George Balanchine’s Jewels runs September 26 – October 5.  Carla Körbes is scheduled to dance the lead role in Diamonds on Friday, September 26 (opening night) and Saturday, October 4; and Emeralds on Saturday, September 27 (matinee), Thursday, October 2, and Friday, October 3. (For up-to-date casting information, check performance details on Schedule and casting is subject to change).
  • Season Encore Performance will be presented one night only, Sunday, June 7 at 6:30 pm. The performance will include a special tribute to Carla Körbes. NOTE: Tickets to the Season Encore Performance are on sale NOW to PNB’s subscribers, and will go on sale to the general public on January 19, 2015.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at

Programming and casting are subject to change. For further information and casting, please visit

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To download a PDF of this press release, click here
To read the New York Times' feature, click here

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2014-2015 Season is proudly sponsored by ArtsFund and
Microsoft Corporation.

Publicity Contact
Gary Tucker, Media Relations Manager
Tel: 206-441-2426 / E-mail:

Programming subject to change. For further information, please visit:


© 2014 Pacific Northwest Ballet. All Rights Reserved.