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Subject: "PNB, Silver Lining" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2860
Reading Topic #2860
Lynette H

04-07-02, 03:09 PM (GMT)
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"PNB, Silver Lining"
   Silver Lining, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Sadlers Wells, 3rd July 2002

This was an evening which failed to add up to the sum of its parts, which is a pity – some of the parts seemed so promising. Silver Lining is a full evening work based around the music of Jerome Kern, choreographed by PNB’s artistic director, Kent Stowell. It boasts a large cast, a huge number of costume changes, and a soprano and baritone to perform some of the numbers. So much new work seems to be set to resolutely unmusical accompaniment: music actually made for dancing is very welcome. However, despite some flashes of charm and vitality, it didn’t gel overall. Some seats emptied at half time: but there again, a few people got to their feat to applaud at the end. A real mixed reception for you.

The first half was set to earlier, more unfamiliar tunes, and probably came off better. Ensemble pieces generally worked better than duets. When the singers were on stage it was often difficult to concentrate on the dancers, and the dance just didn’t seem able to conjure up the level of emotion the singers were suggesting – it was, for the most part, rather expressionless. One bright spot was a duet for Louise Nadeau and Oliver Weevers where there was some real chemistry and a strong projection of personality, and the dancers looked as if they were having real fun. Otherwise it was general purpose vitality. The men got an energetic workout in one number, and they looked perhaps happier dancing without partners. All this bustling energy was fine for a while but rather limited in range. There was a repetitiveness about the vocabulary: if in doubt kick your leg up as far as it will go and smile a lot.

The second half was trickier territory to negotiate, involving some classic Fred and Ginger numbers. How could you compete with memories of Astaire’s fluency ? When there was one brief tap routine, you realised how much the music had been missing the percussive sound of tap. Some of Stowell’s choices seemed oddly inappropriate: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes was accompanied by the most classically styled and very cool pas de deux for Kaori Nakamura and Le Yin. The contrast between music and style was disconcerting and there were some real problems in the partnering department.

The dancers of PNB seem a good humoured and lively bunch – I’ve never before seen a dancer perform a solo straight after getting out of a tiny box where she was made to ‘vanish’ by another dancer acting as a stage magician. But they (and the audience) could do with something rather more substantial to get their teeth into – let’s hope the mixed bill offers rather more challenges and variety.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: PNB, Silver Lining Bruceadmin 04-07-02 1
     RE: PNB, Silver Lining Renee Renouf Hall 11-07-02 2

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04-07-02, 07:59 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: PNB, Silver Lining"
In response to message #0
   Thank you Lynette...

Some photos just came in from the delightful John Ross:

A fine Romance

We're Gymnastic(!)

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Renee Renouf Hall

11-07-02, 05:55 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: PNB, Silver Lining"
In response to message #1
   A Fine Romance looks like Patricia Barker and Jeremy Blanton or Stanton (I hope he will forgive me), who moved up to Seattle from S.F. Ballet. I've not seen Silver Lining, but my guess is that it is a work which is an Americanism with nostalgia which works primarily for Americans. Some works do that. I've seen two or three such works, enjoyed them, but can also see why they might not get a European/English response. I have great respect and affection for the Stowell family - both Francia and Kent have many local ties, in addition to son Christopher, but the creators or American molasses and English treacle may well not utilize the same formula.

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