Pacific Northwest Ballet travels to Paris for the first time this summer, and artistic director Peter Boal couldn't be happier.
"I think we have a tremendous reputation, but people outside the greater Seattle area haven't seen this company," Boal says.
That will change after PNB's two-week stay with the French festival Les Étés de la Danse, which hosts a different international company every summer. A PNB residency had been in the works for several years when Les Étés de la Danse decided to produce a larger celebration of choreographer Jerome Robbins this summer, inspired by his centennial. New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet and Russia's Perm Opera Ballet Theatre will join PNB for that one-week tribute.
Marina de Brantes, president of Les Étés de la Danse, says the festival worked closely with the Robbins Rights Trust and Jerome Robbins Foundation to identify ballet companies with the choreographer's work in their repertoires. Boal, formerly a principal dancer at NYCB, had a long personal relationship with Robbins, so PNB's inclusion made sense. The company will perform Opus 19/The Dreamer, one of more than a half dozen Robbins' works in their repertoire.
After the tribute, PNB will stay on for another week, presenting eight more contemporary ballets, including commissions by Twyla Tharp and Christopher Wheeldon, along with Crystal Pite's monumental Emergence and Ulysses Dove's Red Angels. "I wanted to bring our signature works that we had done very successfully," says Boal.
Les Étés de la Danse presents Hommage à Jerome Robbins June 25–30 and Pacific Northwest Ballet July 3–7 at La Seine Musicale in Paris.