When American Ballet Theatre principal Michele Wiles founded BalletNext with New York City Ballet alum Charles Askegard shortly after decamping from ABT in 2011, the plan seemed to be the usual ballet-star vanity project: gala fare alternating with good to terrible contemporary vehicles for the dancer-directors and their guests. This proved true for the first season. But by 2014 Wiles, now alone at the helm, had largely given up on other choreographers, taking on the job herself with an assist from Brooklyn flexmeister Jay Donn in a cartoonish play of opposites.
Michele Wiles and Tiffany Mangulabnan in “Strange Flowers.” Photograph by Elizabeth Johanningmeier
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