How It’s Done: Visions—and Variations—of Sugar Plum

Timeless as it may be, The Nutcracker has undergone a number of face-lifts. Yet for all the changes in setting, story and characterizations, the Sugar Plum Fairy variation always looks the same—well, sort of. A loose blueprint of Lev Ivanov’s original choreography serves as a go-to model for almost all Sugar Plums (or adult Claras,More »

Classic Beauty

No role defines classical ballet more than Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. She embodies both youthful innocence and elegant majesty. Although cursed to sleep for eternity, Aurora has an inner radiance that proves too strong for the evil spell. Prince Désiré’s saving kiss—the symbol of true love—awakens the princess from her slumber and marks her initiationMore »

Feisty Finesse

Still winded from a run-through of Swanilda’s 10-minute Act III pas de deux, Lesley Rausch walks through her variation with Pacific Northwest Ballet ballet master Otto Neubert. “You have a killer instep; show that to the audience,” says Neubert. As they move along the diagonal together—a kind of pas de cheval into chassé pas deMore »

Training Ground

In The Wings: Jenna Nelson   At Pacific Northwest Ballet School   By Rosie Gaynor   Folks don’t always notice Jenna Nelson right off the bat. She has what Pacific Northwest Ballet School principal Abbie Siegel calls “a quiet strength.” It’s a steadfast presence that doesn’t beg for attention.   Once you spot her, though,More »