Aretha Franklin’s voice surges warm and bosomy from the sound system, singing the 1960’s Sam Cooke classic, A change is gonna come . . . As she sings, two dancers cavort below, an inane little chirping noise intrudes, and what we gather are tweets from the choreographer David Roussève appear above, emoticons and all. His favorite note from Aretha is about to come, he tweets. Listen for it . . . That one. The one that makes him feel mmmm. The way Wendy and Ryan are dancing, that’s the way that note makes him feel, he says. And he goes on to tweet that he didn’t understand how he felt about this song as a young black boy. As a grown black man, he understands. But he still doesn’t understand how he feels when he sees this . . . the song cuts, shots sound, we see grainy video of an unarmed young black man being shot by police officers. The dancers convulse and tremble. A dance can communicate how he feels, Roussève tweets. But is it enough?
Ryan Smith and Wendy Rein in duet by Ann Carlson. Photograph by Andrew Weeks
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