Director's Choice - Pacific Northwest Ballet

“DIRECTOR’S CHOICE gives us a glimpse into Boal’s brain, showing us the kind of dance we might see more of if arts funding grew on trees.” –The Stranger

THREE CONTEMPORARY BALLET WORKS, two with music by young American singer/songwriters. Gibson’s electrifying Rush kicks off a trio of works featuring PNB premieres by two rising stars in the world of dance – Alejandro Cerrudo’s Little mortal jump and Justin Peck’s trailblazing Year of the Rabbit. Cerrudo is Resident Choreographer for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Peck is New York City Ballet’s resident choreographer. This trio of contemporary works offers an energetic mix of speed, sculpture, and fresh musical offerings.

Program Notes


Music: Bohuslav Martinu (Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano, and Tympani, H. 271, 1938)
Choreography: Paul Gibson
Costume Design: Mark Zappone
Lighting Design: Lisa Pinkham
Duration: 24 minutes
Premiere: November 7, 2002 (Mercer Arts Arena); re-staged March 18, 2016 (McCaw Hall); Pacific Northwest Ballet


Paul Gibson © Angela Sterling

The return of Paul Gibson’s Rush to PNB is generously underwritten by Glenn Kawasaki.

Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) wrote his Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano, and Tympani in troubled times, and the moods of anger and despair that pervade this piece reflect his concern for the future of his homeland. The work was finished on September 29, 1938, a day before Czechoslovakia was signed away to Nazi Germany as a result of the Munich Agreement.

Choreographer Paul Gibson knew nothing of the concerto’s historical significance when he first heard a recording recommended to him by then PNB conductor Stewart Kershaw. Instead, he was swept away by the dark force and dense textures of the score, one that began almost immediately to inspire dance imagery.

Rush was Gibson’s second ballet for PNB and his most ambitious offering to date.  A work in three movements, it requires an ensemble of nine couples: a pair of principal dancers, four demi-soloists, and a corps de ballet of twelve. Plotless and free of any literal statements, this abstract neo-classical ballet explores a course that Martinu’s tense and turgid music has inspired.

Notes by Leland Windreich; edited by Doug Fullington, 2015.

Little mortal jump

Music: Beirut (“A Call to Arms” and “La Banlieue”), Andrew Bird’s Bowl
of Fire (“Beware”), Alexandre Desplat (“See How They Fall—Dans Les Champs De Ble” and “A Self-made Hero—Theme de Heroes”), Philip Glass (“Glassworks/Analog: Orange Mountain Music Archive: Closing”), Max Richter (“The Haunted Ocean 5” and “November”), Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan (“Fawn”)
Choreography: Alejandro Cerrudo
Staging: Pablo Piantino
Scenic Design: Alejandro Cerrudo
Costume Design: Branimira Ivanova
Lighting Design: Michael Korsch
Duration: 26 minutes
Premiere: March 15, 2012; Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: March 18, 2016

Hubbard Street Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo. Photo by Jim Newberry.

Hubbard Street Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo. Photo by Jim Newberry.

The PNB premiere of Alejandro Cerrudo’s Little mortal jump is generously underwritten by Jeffrey & Susan Brotman.

Little mortal jump, resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo’s tenth piece for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, is a bubbling blend of different styles and genres that distills into a fluid, cohesive whole. As a dance, it fuses the technicality of movement, the theatricality of the stage, and the dark humor inherent in relationships. As an experience, Cerrudo aims to transport his audience—to “make them forget what they did today, and what they will do tomorrow,” he says. From cubes that serve as frames and obstructions to diversely characterized couples to vastly contrasting music, Little mortal jumpis layered with unexpected twists and turns. This work is a step in the evolution of Cerrudo’s choreographic style, of which he says, “I challenge myself to create more complex works and to do things that I haven’t done before.”

Notes courtesy of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Year of the Rabbit

Music: Sufjan Stevens (Enjoy Your Rabbit, 2002), orchestration by Michael P. Atkinson
Choreography: Justin Peck
Staging: Craig Hall and Janie Taylor
Costume Design: Justin Peck
Lighting Design: Brandon Stirling Baker
Duration: 30 minutes
Premiere: October 5, 2012; New York City Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: March 18, 2016

Justin Peck © Alberto Oviedo

Justin Peck © Alberto Oviedo

Principal support for the PNB premiere of Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit is provided by Marcella McCaffray and Bob Benson, with additional support from Gilla Kaplan and H. David Kaplan.

Justin Peck’s acclaimed Year of the Rabbit is a collaboration with American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens and is set to Stevens’ Enjoy Your Rabbit, an electronica album and song cycle based on the Chinese zodiac. The ballet features a new orchestration of the score by Michael Atkinson that was created specifically for the ballet. Year of the Rabbit is an elaboration of Peck’s Tales of a Chinese Zodiac, which was created in 2010 for the New York Choreographic Institute.

Notes courtesy of New York City Ballet.


Pre-Performance Lectures—Free

Join Education Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington or a guest speaker for an engaging 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design, and the process of bringing ballet to the stage. One hour before performances, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, McCaw Hall, Free Admission. More Information.

Post-Performance Q&A—Free

Join Artistic Director Peter Boal and Company dancers for a question-and-answer session following the performance. Immediately following each performance, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall, McCaw Hall, Free Admission.  More Information

Young Patrons Circle Night

Friday, March 25 at 7:30 pm

Join members of PNB’s Young Patrons Circle (YPC) in an exclusive lounge for complimentary wine and coffee before the show and at intermission. YPC is PNB’s social and educational group for ballet patrons ages 21 through 39. YPC members save up to 40% off their tickets. Learn More.

Programs, dates, and venues subject to change.


*First Time in Role
Guest Artist

Casting subject to change.

Running Time

DIRECTOR’S CHOICE is approximately 2 hours including two intermissions.

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In The News

“Riveting – endlessly fascinating! This was an edge-of-your-seat exciting program from start to finish.”
Philippa Kiraly, —The SunBreak
“…innovative and fresh, and exciting in its own way.”
Marcie Sillman, —And Another Thing...
“DIRECTOR’S CHOICE is where Peter Boal flies. Repertory works (often contemporary, but not always) that reflect his adventurous spirit, chosen not so much for their safe rapport with audiences but for a chance to push the company in unexpected directions.”
Moira Macdonald, —The Seattle Times

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