As many of you know, Pacific Northwest Ballet presents an annual performance that highlights Company dancers choreographing on the young and rising talent in the school. That newly named performance is called Next Step (this performance was previously title Choreographers’ Showcase). What you may not know, however, is that what you see at the performance is only a portion of the greatest moments that these young choreographers and dancers experience.

In addition to inviting you to come see the performance on June 18, 2011 (It’s an early invitation, I know, but I’ll send a reminder!), I want to invite you to experience each step and exciting moment with me. As part of my duties as the Next Step co-ordinator, I’ll be blogging and giving you the latest news with detail on the choreographers’ and dancers’ progress, stresses, and moments of triumph in the studio. We’ll also be posting webcasts and the latest rehearsal pictures so you can join us in all of the excitement. The first step starts here to Next Step…are you ready?

The process started in November when company dancers signed up to participate in 2011’s Next Step. From there, they met with Peter Boal, Artistic Director, to go over what to expect and guidelines. The hardest part for the choreographers at that point was to think about what their vision would be, because they’ll have only 20 rehearsal hours to complete their work! The 2011 choreographers are: Kiyon Gaines, Barry Kerollis, Price Suddarth, Margaret Mullin, Sean Rollofson, Andrew Bartee, Seth Orza, and Ezra Thomson. These are talented and brave people, truly.

Choreographers Ezra Thomson, Price Suddarth, Andrew Bartee, Barry Kerollis.
Choreographers Sean Rollofson, Kiyon Gaines, Margaret Mullin, Seth Orza.

Now we are in the beginning of the rehearsal process, and between classes and rehearsals for Cinderella, everyone involved already feels the excitement and pressure. Some choreographers have started rehearsals, and by some I mean Sean, Price, Margaret, Seth, and Barry. The best part is that they are all different personalities with different ideas. There will be something for everyone at this show, for sure! The brunt of the physical work comes from the dancers, who are working overtime and already are rising to the occasion. Let’s just hope that their bodies hold up till June with all of the demands until then. Injuries are part of the profession, and we’ll do what we can to preserve their health. The men are of particular interest on this subject because they are all cast in at least four of the eight new works.

I really hope you’ll continue this journey with us until June. We are so very excited about it, and want to share each moment with you. I’ll be in touch again soon with some enjoyable updates and pictures of our progress, so check back in a few weeks!

Nicholas Ade, Next Step Coordinator

Featured photo: Kiyon Gaines working on his NEXT STEP piece with PNB School Professional Division students, photo © Angela Sterling.