Sub-Freezing Ballet: Andrew Bartee Branches Out

This morning, it was 23 degrees on Hurricane Ridge in Washington's Olympic National Park. Down on Rialto Beach, the waves poured around huge rock formations and signs warned tourists they must use bear-proof canisters for storing all food. On the Marymere Falls Trail, a mist hung in the old growth forest that shelters a 90-foot waterfall.

 

It’s hard to imagine a troupe of ballet dancers performing in any of these locations, but Pacific Northwest Ballet is taking the plunge into site-specific work. This Wednesday, Thursday and Friday—weather permitting—company members will take to the hills, beach and mountains to perform a new work by corps member and rising choreographer Andrew Bartee. The dancer’s choreographic career has ramped up lately. The Olympic Park work, which will be shot by Blue Land Media, will become part of a piece that integrates dance, film and music by the Chromatics and premieres at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts on August 27. Bartee, who also dances and choreographs for Seattle’s Whim W’Him and other local companies, has been experimenting with various formats. So far, none include bears.