Executive Director’s Notes: The Personal Element, Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, Ghost Variations

Dear Friends,


Thank you for joining us today at McCaw Hall or from your digital viewing space—wherever that may be! It is difficult to describe the elation we all felt at being back onstage in September, after a 19-month hiatus. And we didn’t fully anticipate how excited YOU would be; how so many of you made an occasion of our reopening, with your amazing Return to Theatre ensembles, lively masked chat in the lobbies, and uproarious applause. Your immense support for our artists and this company has sustained us in every possible way, and to meet you once again in the shared space of live performance felt nearly miraculous. Thank you, from every one of us at Pacific Northwest Ballet.  


And here you are again. Welcome back! We’re proud to present another thrilling mixed repertory program of emotionally resonant works curated especially for this moment. It is a fact that PNB Company dancers have amazing versatility, and in our rehearsal studios at the Phelps Center they are currently deep into the movement vocabulary required by George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Perhaps you are one of the audience members who was first introduced to ballet through an experience at The Nutcracker. This is true for 74% of PNB’s current audience, and it is certainly true for the many children who ask to be enrolled in ballet classes after encountering The Nutcracker’s enchanted world. (If you’d like to get a jump on that, so to speak, I’m happy to share that space is still available for in-person ballet classes for children ages five and above at both our Seattle and Bellevue PNB School locations.)


The Nutcracker has earned a loyal following of fans for whom celebrating the season means enjoying this magical production. When my children were young I loved that they were experiencing beautiful classical ballet in a visual wonderland animated by the most gorgeous orchestral music; at a busy time of life, it was the ultimate three arts adventures for the price of one Nutcracker performance. In 2021, an in-person trip to The Nutcracker is also a refreshing antidote to a year and a half of screen time. We hope you’ll introduce the young people in your life to this memorable experience, which is also so crucially important to the sustainability of PNB. Nutcracker represents more than half of our ticket revenue each season, and it subsidizes every other program, including the one you’re enjoying today. And, if you choose to enjoy another year of The Nutcracker from the comfort of your home, that’s an option we’re pleased to offer; we certainly appreciate your virtual attendance too.


Thank you again for joining us for Beyond Ballet; we are beyond grateful for you!


Warm Regards,


Ellen Walker
Executive Director



Featured photo: Elle Macy and Dylan Wald in Jessica Lang’s Ghost Variations, photo © Lindsay Thomas.