Sunday, April 7, 2024

Crystal Pite’s "The Seasons’ Canon" at Pacific Northwest Ballet: Apr 12 - 21 | "Max Richter on Rewriting The Four Seasons - for the Second Time" | The Guardian

After a rousing run at The Paris Opera Ballet, in which Crystal Pite's "The Seasons' Canon" received a standing ovation, the ballet arrives in Seattle this month for a return engagement at Pacific Northwest Ballet. It was at this Paris premiere, in which Crystal Pite and her dance company, Kidd Pivot, won the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse for Best Choreographer. By delivering "A Dance so Mesmerizing the Audience Leapt to its Feet", they further solidified her growing esteem. So much so, that her company has since been featured in The Guardian's Best Culture of the 21st Century (So Far), with a spotlight on, "Crystal Pite: The Dance Genius Who Stages the Impossible". After a return run in Paris, in which "Crystal Pite's Ballet Retained all its Spellbinding Power", “The Seasons’ Canon” is now here on domestic soil embodied by the Pacific Northwest Ballet's extended cast. This totals some 55 dancers, which includes almost the full body of the ballet's squad, in addition to some of the corps of the PNB School Professional Division students. In many ways, in its scale, volume, and use of mass-movement, it can be considered as a work in the lineage of William Forsythe’s three decades in the making opus, "Artifact". Like that of Forsythe's ballet, it is a celebration of the precision and geometry of dance, yet with an organic otherworldliness that belongs to Pite. This mass-movement of human form in her work can be seen as an elementary idea, bodies moving in unison and canon, but it is deceptively difficult to achieve. The symmetry and concord of these large-scale configurations of human form in motion inspires an awe which is both emotionally primal and satisfyingly intellectual in its clockwork alignment and organic fluidity. The effect is that of the dancers on stage deceptively appearing as though they are hundreds of interlocking bodies, or conversely merging as one human singularity, as though an undulating sea. Moving through patterns and speeds which mirror the music of the piece, the dance evokes the endless cycle of the seasons, both annual, and eternal. These structures are further enhanced in the reworking of the original Vivaldi composition, as expertly played here by the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, featuring Michael Lim’s assured solo violin. Max Richter's neoclassical reworking of Antonio Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" for the Deutsche Grammophon Recomposed series presents abundant opportunities to express these shared juxtapositions of angular mathic patterns and gradual, flowing, tectonic undertows. After "Max Richter gave The Four Seasons a Modern Update", with the original volume "The Four Seasons: Recomposed" in 2012, he then returned to the work a decade later, and convinced Deutsche Grammophon of the necessity of a new performance and recording. This "The New Four Seasons: Recomposed", may seem an exercise in indulgence and paradox, as Richter utilizes both classic period instruments alongside analog synthesizers, yet the composer convincingly rationalizes this reworking for The Guardian, "Max Richter on Rewriting The Four Seasons - for the Second Time".