LOVE & BALLET Performances in Seattle - PNB


Program Notes

Tide Harmonic

Music: Joby Talbot (Tide Harmonic, 2009; arr. 2013)
Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon
Costume Design: Holly Hynes
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Duration: 18 minutes
Premiere: May 31, 2013; Pacific Northwest Ballet (40th Anniversary Season)

The 2013 world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic was generously underwritten in part by Jeffrey & Susan Brotman.

Christopher Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic was his first creation for Pacific Northwest Ballet and the fifth Wheeldon ballet to enter the Company’s repertory. Choreographed for four couples, Tide Harmonic is set to a score of the same name by British composer Joby Talbot. Conceived as a dance work, the score has been specially arranged for Wheeldon’s ballet. Talbot describes the music as “…a kind of water symphony that, rather than constructing a poetic or narrative programme inspired by man’s relationship with water, instead focuses on the substance itself, the forces that act upon it, and the energy that flows through and from it.”

Tide Harmonic is the culmination of a long relationship between the choreographer and the artists of Pacific Northwest Ballet. “Having Chris Wheeldon create a ballet for PNB has been a dream of mine since arriving in Seattle,” said Artistic Director Peter Boal. “He has known and admired many of our dancers since his early days choreographing for the students of the School of American Ballet. As a choreographer, his sense of musicality and invention coupled with his knowledge of tradition and design are unparalleled. This was a true highlight of our 40th Anniversary Season.”

Notes by Doug Fullington.

After the Rain pas de deux©

Music: Arvo Pärt (Spiegel im Spiegel, 1978)
Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon
Staging: Damian Smith
Costume Design: Holly Hynes
Lighting Design: Mark Stanley
Duration: 8 minutes
Premiere: January 22, 2005; New York City Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: September 20, 2008

The 2008 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux was generously underwritten by Ernest & Diane Burgess.

Christopher Wheeldon’s pas de deux from After the Rain is the second half of a two-part work, the first of which features an ensemble of three couples dancing to Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa. The following pas de deux is performed to Pärt’s spare and tender duet for piano and violin, Spiegel im Spiegel. The ballerina is dressed in pink and her partner is bare-chested. In a series of unfolding partnering movements, the dancers explore the shifting emotions of their relationship.

Notes compiled by Doug Fullington.


Music: Ludwig van Beethoven (Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata”, c. 1804-1806)
Choreography: Benjamin Millepied
Staging: Sebastien Marcovici and Janie Taylor
Scenic and Lighting Design:  Lucy Carter
Costume Design: Alessandro Sartori
Lighting Supervision: Emma Jones
Duration: 24 minutes
Premiere: February 5, 2016; Paris Opera Ballet (originally titled La nuit s’achève)
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: September 23, 2016 (renamed Appassionata)

Benjamin Millepied’s Appassionata was choreographed for Paris Opera Ballet and premiered in February 2016 with the title La nuit s’achève (“The night ends”). For Pacific Northwest Ballet’s staging, Millepied has renamed the ballet in reference to Beethoven’s iconic, late-classical piano sonata to which the dance for three couples is set.

Sonata No. 23 in F minor is one of three celebrated sonatas from Beethoven’s middle period. The music is some of his most technically challenging and the mood is tempestuous; the sonata was composed just after he came to terms with his inevitable hearing loss in 1803. The title “Appassionata” (meaning “passionate” in Italian) was not given to the work during Beethoven’s lifetime, but rather was a label added by the publisher of a four-hand arrangement in 1838.

Appassionata is the second work by Benjamin Millepied to enter Pacific Northwest Ballet’s repertory.

Notes by Doug Fullington.

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
Premiere: October 5, 2012; New York City Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet Premiere: March 18, 2016

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.

© Angela Sterling

FROM APPARENT TO ABSTRACT, LOVE REVEALS DIVERSE FACES IN THIS FOUR-PACK OF CONTEMPORARY HITS. Water is thematic in Christopher Wheeldon’s undulating Tide Harmonic as well as his divine After the Rain pas de deux. Appassionata, Benjamin Millepied’s tempestuous and tender work for three couples, makes a welcome return as does Justin Peck’s delightful Year of the Rabbit, an exhilarating rush to the music of Sufjan Stevens.

Run Times

LOVE & BALLET is approximately 2 hours including two intermissions.


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May 31st | McCaw Hall

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