Seattle's annual music and arts festival, Bumbershoot, offers dance lovers a chance to see Seattle performers shine, as Mark Haim and Pacific Northwest Ballet stage modern work at Bagley Wright Theatre.
Want to see some of Seattle’s best dancers in action?
Check out two dance programs at Bumbershoot this weekend.
First up is a revival of Mark Haim’s acclaimed 1997 “Goldberg Variations” (1:30 p.m., Saturday). Originally an 80-minute solo set to J.S. Bach’s keyboard masterpiece, it’s being restaged as a series of “tag team” solos for 11 local dancers, plus Haim.
The piece, Haim said in a recent interview on MyNorthwest.com, strikes some highly theatrical notes, including an appearance by a “human water fountain” and one by a motionless dancer whom audience members are invited to press into action. There’s also a sequence in which all the “electronics” of the stage are lowered from the rafters, leaving only a 3-foot clearance for the dancers.
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Haim toured with “Goldberg Variations” extensively in the late 1990s, but at 48 he’s happy to leave much of the action to such local luminaries as Ezra Dickinson (Maureen Whiting Dance Company). Beth Graczyk (Salt Horse), KT Niehoff (Lingo, Velocity) and Sean Ryan (Scott/Powell).
Pianist Françoise Papillon performs the score live. The piece includes brief — and, from the sounds of it, comical — nudity. Haim jokes that he’ll be the “universal understudy” for all 30 variations, in case of any mishaps.
On Monday at 1 p.m., two of Pacific Northwest Ballet‘s finest male dancers, Jonathan Porretta and Lucien Postlewaite, will be showcased in “Ultimatim” by PNB principal Olivier Wevers — a work described as a “playful joust” drawing on the men’s “combined energies.”
Porretta will also take on Marco Goecke’s antic solo piece,”Mopey,” while Postlewaite and Carla Körbes will dance the Balcony pas de deux from PNB’s 2009-2010 season opener, “Roméo et Juliette.” (One taste of the latter should create an instant run on tickets. Jean-Christophe Maillot’s contemporary staging of the Prokofiev ballet wowed PNB audiences last year.)
Rounding out the program is Ulysses Dove’s “Vespers,” for six female dancers. PNB artistic director Peter Boal esteems Dove’s work so highly that he’s programmed an all-Dove lineup next March.
“Goldberg Variations” and PNB’s mixed repertory will both be performed in the Bagley Wright Theatre.
Michael Upchurch: firstname.lastname@example.org