I have seen the future, and it is wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt. At least that's what one might surmise after seeing the Pacific Northwest...

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I have seen the future, and it is wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt.

At least that’s what one might surmise after seeing the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Past, Present, and Future” program, which features a few perennial favorites and one brand-new, beautiful, label-defying piece called “Mopey.”

Created by up-and-coming German choreographer Marco Goecke, the piece is a solo work for one male dancer (Jonathan Porretta was phenomenal on Friday), set to wildly divergent music — pieces by 18th-century composer C.P.E. Bach and 1980s punk-rockabilly band the Cramps. In addition, long, affecting sections are performed in total silence.

Opening with a skulking figure sporting the aforementioned sweatshirt and tight black slacks, “Mopey” portrays the humor, angst and isolation of a teenager attempting to define himself in the world at large. Goecke employs intense bodily transformations to reflect this internal struggle.

Using an emblematic stance of youth, the dancer performs in large part with his back to the audience. Accordingly, once the heavy sweatshirt is removed, the back muscles are left to do the talking. Lucky for us they have an immense and mighty vocabulary.

Over the course of the 13-minute piece, the dancer crawls backward, propels himself via his buttocks, tickles his own armpit, twitches his leg like a dreaming dog, waves his hands like rubber pencils, punches and slaps himself, undulates, falls to the floor, and strikes a variety of masculine poses reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin, Elvis and the disco-era John Travolta.

At times hilarious, at others disturbing, the highly inventive piece masterfully embodies the chameleonic nature of teens, grasping at different postures and changing their very carriage in an instant.

Now showing

PNB: Past, Present, and Future, Friday night at McCaw Hall; repeats at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $20-$134 (206-441-2424 or www.pnb.org).

Before joining PNB as artistic director this year, Peter Boal commissioned “Mopey” for his own company in New York, and premiered the work at the Joyce Theater in 2004. In his director’s note, Boal summarizes the New York audience’s reaction to Mopey as follows: “Everyone under the age of 25 thought it was the best work they had ever seen. The over-60 crowd was generally not impressed.”

On Friday night in Seattle, the overall reaction was positive, with resounding applause and many people standing.

Boal took a risk by including “Mopey” on the PNB program. With any luck it’s one that will lead to a refreshing, wider interpretation of what’s appropriate for the PNB stage.

Also on the program are Balanchine’s classic “Concerto Barocco” (1941), former PNB artistic co-director Kent Stowell’s “Hail to the Conquering Hero” (1985) and Nacho Duato’s truly stirring “Jardí Tancat” (1983).

Brangien Davis: brangiendavis@yahoo.com