Written by dancer Cecilia Iliesiu.

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”

—Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

And I would say that this quote sums up the summer here in Seattle for the Pacific Northwest Ballet. With the completion of our fabulous Season 2015/16 in June and the start of the Season 2016/17 in August, the dancers have returned to the Phelps Center studios rejuvenated.

Many of us returned home or traveled the world between seasons. I voyaged to Iceland, England and Ireland with three fellow PNB dancers for three weeks and now look back at my memories of adventure as if they were a dream. (Note: everyone must travel to Iceland once in their life!)

View my travel posts

I am thrilled to tell you that I will be part of a unique project with several other PNB dancers this month.

What? Sculptured Dance

When? August 11th from 6-8p

Where? Seattle Art Museum (SAM) Sculpture Park

I love when the ballet collaborates with the local art museums because it is a chance to interweave supporters of different art forms. The event is a result of an ongoing art-building research sponsored by the generous grant from the Wallace Foundation.


This video showcases the five pieces shown at the Sculptured Dance event at the start of their creations last spring, using the studio or outdoor space as their canvas. I feel fortunate that I was chosen to be part of this event as the first of many to reach out to a general public. It’s a wonderful opportunity to show that art and dance can be for everyone.

The piece I have been working on with choreographer Donald Byrd (of Spectrum Dance Theater) and fellow PNB dancer Miles Pertl is centered around Roy McMakin’s Untitled. Our piece is the only one of the five that can physically interact with the sculpture – a double-sided cement bench with a connected iron lawn chair and metal filing box.

Cecilia Iliesiu and Miles Pertl with Roy McMakin’s Untitled.
Cecilia Iliesiu and Miles Pertl with Roy McMakin’s Untitled.

Byrd wanted to play with the idea of a multifaceted relationship between a man and a woman. The double-sided cement bench can signify the good and the bad of a relationship, the possibility of separation and the duality of personalities. The iron lawn chair can signify a past household item once shared, the remains of a relationship or an opportunity to disconnect. The iron filing box can signify physical baggage, divorce papers or a past life stored away. I’ve come up with these interpretations through a series of rehearsals spent developing my character. I wonder if you will come up with different ideas as to why McMakin connected these three objects in one piece of art.

Since this is the first of such evenings we are not sure how the public will react, but I’m excited to grand jeté up close and personal to passers-by and bring them into our story.

Cecilia Iliesiu and Miles Pertl with Roy McMakin’s Untitled.
Cecilia Iliesiu and Miles Pertl with Roy McMakin’s Untitled. (c) Lindsay Thomas.
Leta Biasucci and Benjamin Griffiths with Richard Serra’s Wake.
Leta Biasucci and Benjamin Griffiths with Richard Serra’s Wake. (c) Lindsay Thomas.


Choreography by Donald Byrd
Music by Astor Piazzolla
Danced by Pacific Northwest Ballet
Cecilia Iliesiu, Miles Pertl
Performed at Roy McMakin’s Untitled

Do. Not. Obstruct.

Choreography by Kiyon Gaines
Music by Theoretics
Danced by Pacific Northwest Ballet
Leta Biasucci, Leah Merchant, James Moore, Jonathan Porretta
Performed at Richard Serra’s Wake


Choreography and Music by Ezra Thomson
Danced by Spectrum Dance Theater
Emily Pihlaja, Andrew Pontius, Mary Sigward
Performed at Tony Smith’s Stinger

Little Bunnies (response to Roxy Paine’s “Split”)

Choreography by Kate Wallich
Music by Yan Wagner
Costumes by cuniform
Danced by Whim W’Him
Kyle Johnson, Jim Kent, Patrick Kilbane, Mia Monteabaro,Tory Peil, Thomas Phelan, Justin Reiter
Performed at Roxy Paine’s Split 


Choreography by Olivier Wevers
Danced by PNB School Professional Division
Isaac Bates-Vinueza, Zion Rivera, Kuu Sakuragi, Levi Teachout
Performed at Alexander Calder’s The Eagle

Featured photo: Whim W’Him with Roxy Paine’s Split. (c) Lindsay Thomas.