Executive Director’s Notes: Wonderland, Waterbaby Bagatelles, Arms, Ghost Variations

Dear Friends,


Thank you for joining us for the second program of our Dance Happens Everywhere digital season. The works presented here all belong on a continuum of work conceived, created, and / or captured during the pandemic. Choreographers, stagers and dancers worked with and through COVID constraints to create this program, but the impression it leaves is anything but constrained. Rather, we’re immersed in the artists’ mind at its most capacious and inventive. Artists will always find a way to create, and this program is proof.


Normally, this time of year is amazing at PNB. Mid-November is about running, with every resource we have (and some we don’t), toward the opening of The Nutcracker. For the past 17 years, I have loved the Tchaikovsky music emanating from studios, the pause in the afternoon to see dancers learning new roles, the influx of amped-up, adorable student performers taking over the studios each evening, the kaleidoscope of candy colored costumes, sets and decorations being moved into McCaw Hall, and the PNB Revenue Team putting the finishing touches on their enormous promotions plan that aims to connect people of all ages to the beauty and joy of The Nutcracker. Show after show through the end of the run in December, the PNB Orchestra delights with decorated music stands and exquisite playing, dancers soar in new and familiar roles, our stage and costume crews, Box Office and front of house staff give everything they’ve got to bring The Nutcracker magic to you and yours. We make memories every season and I’m really missing it; we all are.


Yes, The Nutcracker is central to PNB’s business model. In a normal year, it earns around $6 million, and these revenues buoy the rest of the season in supporting artist salaries, investment in new work, community programs and so much more. And, The Nutcracker is us. PNB’s brand and character, the nature of our organizational culture, live through The Nutcracker. Each year we bring people together for an experience that reflects and embraces our community, evokes a child’s sense of wonder, and provides a balm and a boost for the spirit.


We can’t gather at McCaw this holiday season, so we’ve packaged a beautiful archival performance of The Nutcracker for you to stream from home, and you can also purchase a Nutcracker gift box from our Amusements gift shop to add to the holiday cheer. We hope you love it, and that it is a memorable part of this year’s unusual holiday season. Find more details at PNB.org, and please consider purchasing the digital download if you haven’t already. From all of us, thank you for being part of the near-and-far community of dance fans supporting PNB; you’re making a real difference for us during a difficult time. Even without a live Nutcracker, there’s magic in that too.


Warmest regards,


Ellen Walker


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