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What’s a Ballet-Lover to Do? Figuring Out PNB’s Busy Spring Season…
Rosie Gaynor
Posted March 29, 2008


The Concert—which, as you can guess from the picture, is more about the concert audience than the concert music—appears in PNB’s All Robbins night. (Seen here, Benjamin Griffiths with Carrie Imler and Jonathan Porretta. Angela Sterling)

    Don’t bother asking Seattle ballet fans to do anything most of April or early June: we’re busy. And if your friend likes modern dance, well, you can count out some of May too. There is too much going on! 

    Just four days after the fabulous Alvin Ailey Dance Theater leaves town, PNB starts up its spring programming. All told, the company is giving about 20 more performances per year than, say, 10 years ago…and a lot of those extra performances take place in the spring.  

    There is actually one patron who has tickets to each and every one of PNB’s upcoming 25 or so performances. For the rest of us, though, a little picking and choosing is probably necessary. If you’re not sure which show/s to attend, the following notes might help.

The Full Meal Deal

April 3–13:                 A Midsummer Night’s Dream

April 17–20:               Spring Dance Festival: Laugh Out Loud 

April 9:                       Choreographers' Showcase

May 29–June 8:         All Robbins

June 8:                      8 Encores

June 14:                    PNB School Recital


April 2  & May 28:       Dress rehearsal plus lecture

April 1  & May 27:       Lectures at SPL

May 18:                     Talk at Elliott Bay Book Company

April 5 & 13:               Children's Dress-up Matinees

April 19:                     Backstage Bash


Like it Pretty and Pink:

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream is your best bet. This is a charming telling of the tale, prettier than Shakespeare’s. It’s the most classical of the remaining shows this season. April 3–13. 

Want Some Fun Right Away?

    This year’s spring festival is called Laugh Out Loud. Try for the April 19th evening program, dubbed “Best of the Fest.”(Best of the Fest originally had so much crammed into it that earlier this month PNB dropped one piece. It’s a full night of dancing!) Because of the post-performance party (see Backstage Bash below) there’ll likely be a little extra energy in the audience on that night, which adds to the fun. April 17–20. 

Want Some Fun in June?

    The All Robbins rep features the hilarious, character-rich spoof The Concert. I’d buy a ticket just to see that. However, there’s also the charming sailors-ashore ballet Fancy Free, which is pretty much all about having fun. Add to that the beautiful In the Night, and you’re set for a great evening. May 29–June 8. 

Want Amazing Dancing?

    Then I’d go to the 8 Encores performance. PNB did a similar show two years ago, revisiting the “best” bits of the season. It was a rush of excitement…from start to finish…from the back of the stage to the back of the auditorium. June 8. 

Want to Introduce Someone to Ballet?

    I’d recommend the Laugh Out Loud festival or, for something just a little more formal, the All Robbins night. You’ll have a fun evening and a lot to talk about afterwards.  

Want to Introduce Someone to Ballet—Next Year?

    $5 Fridays!!! See below. 

Want to See Some World-Class, Current Choreography?

    Try the Laugh Out Loud festival. Program A and the Best of the Fest night both feature two major, current choreographers. One is Susan Stroman, who not too long ago added two more Tony Awards to her collection for The Producers. The other is the much raved-about wunderkind Christopher Wheeldon. They shared an American Choreography Award in 2000 for their movie Center Stage; their works will be sharing the stage here this spring. April 17, 18, 19. 

Want to See Some Brand-New Choreography?

    Try the Choreographers’ Showcase. PNB dancers try their hand at choreography. It’s creative, personal, uneven, surprising, risky…and it makes you think about what makes good dance. I love it!  Some of the pieces go on to have a life after the Showcase. Last year, they choreographed on students; this year most of the works have been choreographed on members of the professional company. It’s mostly hardcore fans and students at this one-night show, which in itself makes for a fun, noisy evening. The cheapest tix are only $10… 

Missed the BalletsTrockadero Last Time They Came to Seattle?

    “Katarina Bychkova” (aka Joshua Grant) brings “her” attitude and hairy chest to The Dying Swan in the Laugh Out Loud festival (Program B and the Best of the Fest night). I’ve only seen the Trocs once, but I remember that it was fun and funny to see these big men on toe shoes. Strangely, at times it was also moving.  

Big Kids Who Like to Party?

    Backstage Pass is throwing its annual post-performance Bash on the Best of the Fest night. I’ve had to skip it two years in a row, only to hear stories of great fun missed. I’m going this year. If you’re 21 or older, you can come too. April 19, $50 or $100.  

Little Kids Who Like to Party:

    There are two children's dress-up matinees during A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Crafts and adorable mini dance classes. April 5 & 13.

Money Matters

    If budget is the big concern, not to worry. It’s true that the Second Tier seats that used to be so cheap in the old, old opera house are now inexplicably expensive, but there are lots of less expensive options. Check out some of the ones listed below.


    Many PNB lectures and talks are free.  

    I can’t make the noontime, Seattle Public Library previews (Doug Fullington and, I understand, sometimes videos), but hopefully you can. The next ones are April 1 and May 27.  

    I’ve been to many of the Sunday afternoon talks at Elliott Bay Book Company, however, and enjoyed them. (The next one is May 18). They’re calm, but I always come away with my perspective widened and a feeling of gratitude to be living in our arts-rich town, glad to have shared the afternoon with ballet lovers, and wondering why there are only about 20 of us there. There’s something to be said for being five feet away from passionate artists and getting to hear them talk. 

On a Budget and Able to Plan Ahead:

    Your best bet would be PNB’s $5 Fridays. These one-hour, open-to-the-public, studio rehearsals are a great chance to see dance up close, or to see what it’s like without making a huge commitment. They’re sold out for the season, however. Next season’s $5 Friday tix go on sale sometime in the summer.= 

On a Budget:

    For $20 you can buy the cheap seats for any of the upcoming shows. These are Gallery Floor and Orchestra Front. Unless you get the innermost seats in Gallery Floor, you’ll only see part of the show. Still, part is better than none.  For Orchestra Front you might want to avail yourself of the free seat cushions near the coat check, since the floor dips a little in that section. Call or check the website for availability, as these cheap seats can sell out quickly.  

    For $20, you can also go to a dress rehearsal and sit in a much nicer seat. (This comes packaged with an interesting lecture too.) It really is a rehearsal, which means you often lose a little intensity and perfection. But it’s a fair trade off, since you get to see a some behind-the-scenes action towards the end. April 2 & May 28. 

On a Budget and 13–18 Years Old:

    Rush tickets are yours, for $5 and a little time spent registering at Present your Teen Tix keychain and ID 90 minutes prior to performance. This discount is subject to availability, so call the box office in advance to check on availability. 

Young and On a Budget:

    For $15, youngsters 25 and under can attend the first Friday performance. Better yet: if there are 2 of you, it’s only $25. April 4 & May 30.  

Student & Seniors On a Budget:

    Half-price rush tickets are available to students and seniors (65+) carrying ID, beginning 90 minutes prior to curtain time at the McCaw Hall Box Office. This discount is subject to availability, so call the box office in advance to check on the likelihood that you’ll get in. 

Going With the Gang:

    PNB’s group ticket program now allows you to create an online group...where folks log in and pay for the tickets themselves. So, you and nine other people get the savings without the hassle of chasing each other down for money. For more info, check out



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