Balanchine thought that wondering what a ballet was about was like pondering the theme of a flower. Cunningham averred that a dance was as fraught with meaning as stepping in to a diner for a cup of coffee. Puzzling over “themes” in dance marks you as a yokel, and the closest most sophisticated choreographers will come to indulging you is to defer to the music or some other structural element unlikely to yield answers.
Ballet Memphis in “Devil's Fruit.” Photograph by Ari Denison
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