Pam Tanowitz is a choreographer of conflicted interests. “When I talk about narrative and non-narrative, I feel like I want it both ways,” she said in an interview with the Joyce Theater in 2013. She cites George Balanchine and Merce Cunningham as her two greatest influences, artists whose methods and techniques lie at opposite poles of virtually every spectrum. She comes from a background in contemporary (and mostly Cunningham) style, but says that she enjoys working in ballet. This interest has sometimes gone awry. In 2012 she presented the stuffy “Untitled (Blue Ballet)” at the Kitchen, with a cast drawn from American Ballet Theatre. She publicly acknowledged that the work was a failure, and went back to the drawing board with bare feet and less rules. “I’m trying to make the issues I['ve] had worth it,” she said.
Pam Tanowitz's “Broken Story (wherein there is no ecstasy)” at the Guggenheim. Photograph by Christopher Duggan
One way to get to know the history of a company is through the “liner notes” of its “Swan Lake” production, and for those of us continuing to build an admiring familiarity with Pacific Northwest Ballet via its digital season offerings, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell’s “Swan Lake” provides an interesting glimpse into PNB prior to Peter Boal’s leadership.FREE ARTICLE