Category Archives: dancing

Pacific Northwest Ballet First Look Evolution

PNB Principal Dancer Carrie Imler with Ken

Last evening, Ken and I attended the black-tie opening night celebration of Pacific Northwest Ballet; First Look Evolution 2011 at McCaw Hall.  The evening began with a cocktail reception and dinner backstage prior to the ballet performance.  The menu was great and in addtion to the entree of beef tenderloin with roasted potatos and summer squash corn ratatouille included my favorite which was a delicious peach and endive salad with Serrano Ham, arugula and Banyuls vinaigrette.  

Sarah & John Rindlaub with Carrie Imler

We were seated with PNB Principal Ballet Dancer, Carrie Imler, who was not dancing until the next evening.  Also seated at our table were Sarah & John Rindlaub and Gaylee & Jim Duncan.  The event was filled with friends and other PNB ballet aficianados including Dan & Michele Heidt, Peter Horvitz, Aya Hamilton, Lynn & Frank Lindsay, Leena & Mel Sturman, Norma Cugini, Gail James, Rian & Peter McLeod, Caroline Goedhart, Betty Tong, Margaret Dell’Osso, Jane & David Davis, Sandra Dunn, Sharon Richardson, Bob Cremin, Carole Ellison, Jeanne Tweten & Jim Leslie and dozens of others.  (Ken doesn’t actually admit to being a ballet aficianado, but I am still working on him!)

Following dinner, PNB Artistic Director, Peter Boal, announced and introduced several dancers new to PNB this season and on stage announced the promotions of both Lesley Rausch and Rachel Foster as Principal Dancers  Each was presented with a big bouquet of flowers onstage to thunderous applause. 

Carrie Imler

The performance was incredible.  It was ALL WHEELDON, a program with all works choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and included Carousel (A Dance), Polyphonia, Variations Serieuses and After the Rain pas de deux.  My personal favorites were Carousel and the After the Rain pas de deux.  Carousel was exquiste with Principal Dancers, Carla Körbes and Seth Orza dancing the lead roles and After the Rain was breathtakingly beautiful danced by Principal Dancers, Maria Chapman and Karel Cruz.  At the performance I sat next to PNB Soloist Dancer, James Moore, who was cast to dance the After the Rain pas de deux on the next night with newly announced PNB Principal Dancer, Rachel Foster.  I didn’t hear him even breathe during the entire performance by Maria and Karel.

After the performance, the evening ended with an onstage dance party, where the party patrons and professional ballet dancers had a wonderful time dancing together into the wee hours. 

Stewart Kershaw and PNB – The End of an Era

Last weekend I attended the final PNB performance of the season featuring Stewart Kershaw conducting the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra for the last time.  Stewart was the visionary that 25 years ago built the PNB Orchestra, that has recently been referred to in the New York Times as “possibly the best ballet orchestra in the country”.  He has conducted The Nutcracker so many times that he has totally memorized the entire musical score.  Though gone from PNB, he will still have a chance to interact with the musicians, because he will continue to serve as the Music Director for the Auburn Symphony, and most of those musicians are also members of the PNB Orchestra.  See photos of Stewart and Peter Boal, PNB Artistic Director, above at the post performance reception.

In addition to saying farewell to Stewart, we also said goodbye to ballet dancers, Jordan Pacitti and Mara VinsonJordan is retiring to pursue his fragrance business, but I know I will certainly miss seeing him onstage.  He danced beautifully last week in his final performance of Red Angels and in a fun encore romp featuring a rug!?  He received a standing ovation.  Mara was also exquisite dancing the role of Swanhilda in the final act of Coppelia and she will be missed too!

A Dance Tribute to Brady Richardson

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a fascinating studio rehearsal for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s new production of Coppelia in honor of past PNB board member, Microsoftee, and friend, Brady Richardson who passed away a year ago from cancer.  We all still miss Brady!  His wife, Sharon, in the purple dress in photos above hosted the studio rehearsal in his honor and invited those of us that had donated to PNB in Brady’s name to join her.

A studio rehearsal is always the most interesting opportunity to see dancers at work, because you can really see how hard they are working.  They are close enough that you hear their loud breathing from the exhausting, athletic moves that they are making.  Plus, you can see how hard their muscles are working as the men lift the women, etc. while making it all look effortless and graceful.  Brady and Sharon have both been very active supporters of PNB and many of the dancers have been invited to their home on a regular basis.

Sharon continues to actively support PNB and has been an active and involved member of PNB STARS, the womens’ auxillary group that raises money for PNB as well as provides educational opportunities.  The top photo is of several of the STARS members who attended the rehearsal including Susie Ostrander, Carrie Lee, Amy Andersen, Lisa Hanna, Sharon Richardson and Cindy Lee.

Jordan Pacitti, in the 2nd and 3rd photos above, a PNB Corps de Ballet dancer and audience favorite, who is retiring at the end of this season, is dancing the role of Dr. Coppelius, in several of the upcoming ballet performances this week and next.


Jenna Fischer needs “A Little Help”

Last evening we had the opportunity to soak up an incredible panoramic view of Lake Union on the 24th floor of the WEST 8TH building (along with a glass of wine or a martini) at JJ McKay’s cocktail party.  He invited friends to join him to meet friends, Joe Gressis and Dena Hysell, who were premiering their new indie movie, “A Little Help”, starring Jenna Fischer (see photo of Jenna Fischer above with Stacy Lill and me).
It was an intriguing place for a party which included a vast open, unfinished space with no walls, lighting or HVAC, but perfect for an afternoon party before the sun went down.  There were scores of friends and interesting people there to meet Jenna and wish Joe and Dena well including Piper & Billy O’Neill,  Heather & Michael Sandoval, Afshan Lakha, Betty Tong (see photo of Betty, JJ and me above), Kim Richter, Stacy and Greg Lill, Princess Lada and Larry Schuiski, Vanessa Strickland (see Vanessa & Betty 3rd photo above) and Nancy Auer, recently retired from Swedish Medical Center.  Also attending were Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Ballet Dancers, Lucien Postlewaite, recovering from a recent operation and sporting hip new glasses and Olivier Wevers, who will be dancing the role of Dr. Coppelius in the upcoming new production of Coppelia which opens next week at McCaw Hall.
In addition to recognizing the party honorees, JJ also made a birthday toast to Marnie Rosen and we joined in a decidedly off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday” in her honor.  It’s the thought that counts!

Salsa Dance Lessons Reward

Following our Beginning Salsa I class at Century Ballroom on Monday evening, JJ McKay and Steve & Fredda Goldfarb and I visited Molly Moon for an ice cream treat to reward ourselves after a sweaty class of practicing four different right-hand turns.  We are having fun along with around 50 other people learning to dance the salsa.  Of course, Steve is a little (a lot?) ahead of the rest of us, since he danced the salsa in the Plymouth Housing Group Seattle Dances competition a couple of months ago!

Sherry! Sherry, Baby . . .

Saturday night, friend Sherry Raisbeck celebrated her 60th birthday in style!  Sherry has amazing zest for life and was dressed head to toe in 60’s attire.  See top photo of Sherry and me above.  Along with 250 of their closest friends, Ken and I joined Sherry and James Raisbeck at their incredible home where we… Continue Reading

Not a tutu in sight.

Thursday evening, Ken and I attended opening night of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s repertory program, 3 by Dove.  At the pre-performance donors’ dinner, in addition to sitting with friends, Dan & Michelle Heidt, Sharon Richardson, and others, we had the opportunity to sit at the same table with Parrish Maynard, who was in town to stage… Continue Reading

Cathi and Marcelo win the Peoples’ Choice Award!

Oh! What a night! Last Saturday evening after months of preparation, I had the opportunity to participate in the new Plymouth Housing Group fundraiser, Seattle Dances! competition featuring local “celebrity” dancers paired with professional dancers. Though I had said “NO” five times before I finally said “YES”, I have to admit that it was so… Continue Reading

We are winners at Seattle Dances Competition!

Last night was an amazing fundraising event at the Fremont Studios to benefit Plymouth Housing Group!  The event was “Seattle Dances” and was a sell-out with 450 people in attendance.  The venue looked spectacular with giant screens, bright pink and black table clothes and napkins and mirror balls everywhere!  The guests came early to participate… Continue Reading

It is almost here – Seattle Dances!

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see the rest of the competitors who will be dancing in the Seattle Dances dance competition on Saturday evening. I was impressed with what each of the non-professional dancers has accomplished in getting ready for this big first-year fundraiser to benefit Plymouth Housing Group. Beautiful blonde Michelle Foreman Barnet,… Continue Reading