PNB School 2023/24 School Year Highlights

From PNB School’s Halloweek to the launch of our new Dance for All program, there’s lots to celebrate from PNB School’s 2023/24 year! Keep scrolling to read the highlights of our 2023/24 school year and see some fun photos.

Petite Finale

Over 300 of PNB School’s Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet students (ages 5–7) danced for family and friends in the School’s annual Petite Finale performances, held in May. After demonstrations of classroom work and individual class pieces, the young dancers were treated to performances of excerpts from Coppélia by Level VII and VIII students. Following the performances, proud families and friends snapped photos during a reception hosted by the PNBS Parent/Guardian Association.

NEXT STEP

The NEXT STEP performance returned to On the Boards in 2024. NEXT STEP provides opportunity, infrastructure, and support to grow tomorrow’s choreographic talent while providing a unique performance opportunity for our Professional Division dancers. This annual choreographic workshop culminated in a one-night-only performance of new works by PNB Company dancers Luca Anaya, Melisa Guilliams, Elle Macy/Dylan Wald, Noah Martzall, Amanda Morgan/Christopher D’Ariano, and Lily Wills on June 4, 2024.

PNBS Halloweek

It’s the spookiest day of the year at PNB, as students show off their creative costume skills.

Dance for All

Dance for All launched in the 2023-2024 school year, thanks to a generous grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Dance for All offers inclusive creative dance classes for students of all abilities and mobility levels, and centers in supporting students who are neurodiverse and students with disabilities. In addition to offering classes at the Francia Russell Center, Dance for All holds movement stations at PNB’s sensory-friendly performances and brings dance to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Family Matinee: Harold and the Purple Crayon

This year’s annual Family Matinee was a hit with Seattle audiences. This year’s production was a PNB premiere of Harold and the Purple Crayon based on the popular children’s book series by Crocket Johnson with choreography by Robyn Mineko William and Terence Marling to the music of Andrew Bird. Former PNB Company dancer William Lin-Yee narrated the hour-long production. For the third year in a row, PNB’s Community Education department partnered with local organization Sensory Access to provide a sensory-friendly performance to welcome neurodiverse audiences of all ages.

New Voices: Choreography and Process for Young Women in Dance

This year was productive and inspiring for PNB School’s year-round student choreography class, New Voices: Choreography and Process for Young Women in Dance!

Level VII and VIII students met once a week with PNB Faculty member Eva Stone, exploring choreographic concepts while creating solo and group choreography. Students presented their work in class regularly to give and receive constructive feedback. Three studio presentations were held allowing students to perform their choreographic creations for an audience of family and friends. New Voices II students had the opportunity to co-create and present an original work on a larger stage at PNB’s DISCOVER DANCE performance in November. Choreographer Dani Rowe met with students to share and answer questions about her experience as a professional choreographer. Additionally, all New Voices students attended performances by PNB and Compania Nacional de Danza, the National Dance Company of Spain. These collective experiences provide an enriching foundation for students to draw upon as they explore the art and craft of choreography. We are excited to see what the future holds for them!

Community Education

This year, over 1,235 elementary-school students from 19 local public schools participated in PNB’s DISCOVER DANCE and DANCE TO LEARN in-school residencies. Students explored dance concepts while collaborating to communicate ideas through movement. Central to these programs is the practice of arts integration, connecting dance concepts with another area of study. Students created dances communicating stories (English language arts), glue properties (science), the rock cycle (science), and more!

Students in PNB Productions

Performing on the McCaw Hall stage is a unique opportunity for students. This year PNB School students of all ages and all 40 Professional Division students performed over 300 times onstage in PNB Company productions of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Swan Lake, Coppélia, Crystal Pite’s The Seasons’ Canon, and the all-student production of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bravo!

Photo credits: Featured photo – Halloweek photo courtesy of PNB School faculty and student. PNB School students in Petite Finales, photos © Lindsay Thomas. PNB Professional Division Students in Lily Will’s Isle of Woman, photos © Lindsay Thomas. Halloweek photos courtesy of PNB School faculty and students. Deborah Kenner in class with Dance For All students, photo © Lindsay Thomas. PNB School students in Harold and the Purple Crayon, photo © Lindsay Thomas. New Voices II students at Discover Dance, photo © Eva Stone. PNB Faculty and Seattle Public School students, photos © Joseph Lambert/Jazzy Photo. PNB School Professional Division students and PNB Company members after performing Crystal Pite’s The Seasons’ Canon, photo © Angela Sterling. PNB School students in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, photo © Angela Sterling. PNB School students in Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake, photo © Angela Sterling. PNB School students in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, photo © Angela Sterling. PNB School students in Coppélia, photo © Angela Sterling.