THE WEEKLY HERALD   EVERETT, WASHINGTON
Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012

PNB’s ‘Don Quixote’ vibrant

REVIEW | By Dale Burrows
For the Weekly Herald
Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Kaori Nakamura with company dancers in Alexei Ratmansky’s “Don Quixote.”

Photo by Angela Sterling

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Kaori Nakamura with company dancers in Alexei Ratmansky’s “Don Quixote.”

For me, the first word on “Don Quixote” is Cervantes. What changed last Saturday afternoon at McCaw was the last word.
It used to be “Man from La Mancha,” the pop musical. Now, it is Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Don Quixote.” What they do with the senile old man who sets out to right all wrongs is absolutely mind-boggling.
The appeal of “Don Quixote” is “grounded in the foolishness of preferring pretense and an elevated view of oneself to the happiness available from ordinary life,” writes PNB board President Joe G. Norman Jr. in the program.
That statement pinpoints this production’s focus. Sets, costumes, props, musicians, performers – everything supports the notion that life lived humbly is life lived robustly.
Here, the title character doesn’t die dreaming “The Impossible Dream.” He lives awakening to the sight of young, working-class lovers united at last.
Eight shipping containers delivered the period-designed costumes, wigs, props and towering sets from Amsterdam to Seattle via the Panama Canal. The idea was to stage the modern look that Alexei Ratmansky had created to show off his choreography for The Dutch National Ballet’s “Don Quixote.” The fortune PNB must have spent was worth every penny. Sunny Spain vibrates clear, warm, festive colors like you can’t believe.
No one speaks. No one sings. When the performers aren’t dancing, they mime, and mime so perfectly you can’t help but catch the gist. The overall effect is that of lively talkativeness going on almost all of the time.
The music is gorgeous. The dance is classical with a Spanish flair. This is ballet updated – big, bright and bold, and life affirming – definitely a world class production.
Bravo, PNB.
Reactions? Comments? Email Dale Burrows at grayghost7@comcast.net or entertainment@weeklyherald.com.
‘Don Quixote’
WHEN: Through Feb. 12
WHERE: McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle
TICKETS: 206-441-2424, www.pnb.org