Love Stories: The Timeless Art Of Romance

Pacific Northwest Ballet honors five classic love scenes in one sweeping collection.

The 2011-12 season at Pacific Northwest Ballet takes a turn for the romantic with “Love Stories,”  a stunning collection of vignettes that showcases the many tempers of the heart. The show is scheduled to premiere Friday, Nov. 4, and will run until Sunday, Nov. 13. Tickets ($28–168) are available online.

The program begins with Divertimento from “Le Baiser de la Fée,” a piece originally choreographed in 1972 by George Balanchine for a Stravinsky Festival in New York City. The composer’s compassionate and haunting score was originally dedicated to fellow Russian, P.I. Tchaikovsky, while the actual story of “Baiser de la Fée” is based on “The Ice Maiden,” a children’s tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

The program’s second selection is Jerome Robbins’ “Afternoon of a Faun,” which depicts a naïve exchange between two dance students. Robbins’ variation of Vaslav Nijinsky’s famous ballet was first performed by New York City Ballet in 1953. Claude Debussy’s “Prelude a l′Après-midi d′un Faune” accompanies this brief, powerful performance.

Third is Jean-Christophe Maillot’s balcony pas de deux from “Roméo et Juliette,” without which no collection of love stories could be complete. This iconic scene from Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy — one of the most cherished in all of theater — is beautifully coupled with music by Sergei Prokofiev.

Chosen for the penultimate act is the Black Swan pas de deux from “Swan Lake,” a traditional ballet that is considered by many to be Tchaikovsky’s finest. A compelling depiction of seduction, obsession and betrayal, the classic scene is brought to life by choreographer Kent Stowell, whose dancers twirl and sway to the haunting score.

Tchaikovsky appears yet again in the final act, a dazzling scene from the great Russian’s 1889 classic, “Sleeping Beauty.” Robert Hynd brings us his interpretation of “Act III: Aurora’s Wedding,” in which Princess Aurora and Prince Florimund are pronounced husband and wife before a chorus of angels and fairy tale characters. No love story should be complete without a happy ending, after all.

Pacific Northwest Ballet at McCaw Hall  |  321 Mercer St., Seattle  |  (206) 441-2424