PNB prepares to launch new season with big names and a world premiere

From ultra-traditional, classic pieces to high-energy, modern movements, there's something for everyone on the bill at Pacific Northwest Ballet's 2013-2014 season. But it's this month's opening engagement that's really got the city's dance community talking.

The season kicks off next week with AIR TWLYA, which features two beloved pieces by artist-in-residence Twyla Tharp -- the Scottish-inspired "A Brief Fling" and ballroom tribute "Nine Sinatra Songs," -- as well as the world premiere of "Waiting at the Station," a new exclusive for PNB featuring the music of New Orleans recording and producing legend Allen Toussaint, who PNB artistic director Peter Boal calls "a god in the field."

AIR TWYLA represents Tharp's "eighth work by the choreographer, our third  [Tharp] world premiere, and our third all-Tharp program," Boal says.

Tharp, who is an icon of both film and dance, has been working with PNB since 2008, says Boal. "Waiting at the Station," though, is a whole new ballgame. 

"This is the biggest piece that she’s made on us," explains Boal, adding that "it’s a cast of 21, and then there’s a whole second cast."

Size isn't all that matters for this powerhouse piece, though -- in addition to the New Orleans-inspired R&B music, details like sets and vintage costumes by Academy Award nominee Santo Loquasto make the movement truly stunning.

"He's a force in film and dance," says Boal. 

Loquasto is known for his resourcefulness and creativity; in addition to commissioning all-new pieces for the number, he also borrowed a page from Macklemore's book and hit the thrift shops. 

"There was a lot of shopping going on," Boal noted, adding that the audience will be "looking at the back alley of Fremont" when they're watching the dancers move. 

Other performances for the 2013-2014 season include the contemporary KYLIAN + PITE, a mixed rep featuring a ballet by Canadian superstar Crystal Pite; the classic fairy tale "The Sleeping Beauty,"; George Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream,"; and "Giselle," which features all-new sets and costumes by Jérôme Kaplan, the French designers responsible for PNB's "Don Quixote."

Pacific Northwest Ballet's new season debuts on September 27. Tickets and more information about AIR TWYLA is available here. See PNB's full calendar here