PNB's Tribute to Ulysses Dove

Published in the August/September 2009 issue.

Although Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels—a cyclone of a contemporary ballet for two couples, set to a ferocious score for electric violin—premiered 15 years ago, it continues to enthrall audiences and inspire dancers. “When you’re dancing it, there is a sense of urgency, an infectiousness,” remembers Peter Boal, artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet, who was a member of the original New York City Ballet cast. “You feel as though it could be your last performance.” Dove died two years after the work’s première; that feeling of urgency was poignantly real to him. “His doctors didn’t think he should even be alive,” Boal says. “It was amazing to watch dance actually sustain life.”

Since his arrival at PNB in 2005, Boal has relished building the company’s collection of Dove’s work. (Boal set Red Angels on the company himself during his first season at PNB.) “Because Dove choreographed for so many companies and never had his own, he was robbed of a legacy,” explains Boal. “At PNB, I have a wonderful opportunity to present his choreography."  This August PNB will show the fruits of Boal's labor with an all-Dove program at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.  Red Angels will be danced alongside Vespers and Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, August 19-23