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Tag Archives: Pacific Northwest Ballet

  • In a relationship!

    Prinicipal Dancers James Moore & Kaori Nakamua in Roméo et Juliette


    Huffington Post has an in-depth interview with Pacific Northwest Ballet's Artistic Director, Peter Boal and Principal Dancers, James Moore & Kaori Nakamura about Jean-Christophe Maillot's version of Roméo et Juliette.

  • Valentine’s Day with Seth Orza & Sarah Ricard Orza

    Seth Orza, Soloist and Sarah Ricard Orza, Corps de Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet.  Shown here in "Petit Mort".


    Ah, Valentine’s Day! It’s the time of year when we shower our true love with tokens of affection, whether they be in the form of a box of chocolates, a gushy card, or a dozen roses (or all of the above!).

    In the dance world, Valentine’s Day can be especially wonderful as couples not only live, but oftentimes work, together. We decided to get an inside look at the blessings of Valentine’s Day through the eyes of the dancers themselves. First up is Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza of Pacific Northwest Ballet!

    Vala: “How did you two meet?”
    Seth: “We met in New York at the School of American Ballet’s when we were both 13.”
    Sarah: “We met at the summer course. Then we got together and started dating seriously when we were both at the School of American Ballet for their year round program when we were 17. And we’ve been pretty much together ever since then. We’ve been together now for 12 years and married for 2 ½ years.”

    Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza shown here at SAB Summer Course, 1995 (Age 14). Seth & Sarah met at age 13.


    Vala: “Congratulations, that’s wonderful! So what’s the best thing about being married to a fellow dancer?”
    Sarah: “Well, I think that the dance world is just so small and intimate; sometimes it’s hard to explain or even relate to people who aren’t in the world on a daily basis—what’s going on, or what the daily ups and downs are like. So, if I’m having a bad day, Seth already knows why and that’s good.”
    Seth: “We try to help each other out along the way through the pressures of ballet, performing, and all that.”
    Sarah: “Oh, and travelling. If we tour, it’s great. It’s really nice to have your loved one with you when you’re going to all those places.”

    Vala: “How do you two plan to make this Valentine’s Day special?”
    Seth: “Well…” he says with a sly tone, “it’s kind of a surprise.”
    Vala: (Laughing) “Oops! I don’t want to ruin anything!”
    Seth: “We try to do something special every Valentines day, but it’s hard after twelve years to do something different every time.”
    Sarah: “There was one year when I had the genius idea of getting chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva. So I got a dozen chocolate strawberries only to find that in the fridge at home, Seth had also gotten a dozen Godiva strawberries!” she laughs.
    Seth: “We had a lot of chocolate strawberries!” he chuckles.
    Vala: “Great minds think alike! So, do you have any last words of advice for fellow dancers out there?”
    Seth: “It’s nice being in a relationship with a co-worker—or a dancer—and it does work out.”
    Sarah: “It’s definitely a balance, though. I mean, we’re together at work all the time and then at home all the time. So sometimes there’s days when one of us has to step back and take some space—be it at work or at home. You just find that balance with spending all of your time together.”

    Seth Orza and Sarah Ricard Orza on their Wedding Day


    Vala: “Do you ever have a day when you really don’t want to be with the other person but you still have to work with them?”
    Seth/Sarah: “Oh no, never!” they laugh in unison.
    Seth: “Of course, but I think that happens in any relationship.”
    Sarah: “We have partnered together a lot, and that has challenges…”
    Seth: “Yeah, working together professionally…I mean, if she’s just around it’s one thing, but if we’re working together, it’s kind of hard sometimes.”
    Vala: “Well thank you both so very much! I really appreciate you taking the time to do this and I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!”
    Sarah: “Thank you! You have a happy Valentines Day, too!”

    by Denise Opper, Media Relations Class Act Tutu & Vala Dancewear

    This post first appeared Valentine's Day, 2010.

  • Behind the Scenes with Lindsi Dec (Pointe Magazine Cover Shoot)

    pointe_lindsi_decHere's a fun "behind the scenes" look at Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist, Lindsi Dec's photo shoot video with Pointe Magazine!

    In the shoot, Lindsi is wearing two ensembles; the first is Class Act Tutu’s V Neck Tutu Bodice (in wine) and Classical Tutu skirt in Wine/Black

    The other one (as featured on p 10 of Pointe) is Vala Dancewear’s “Siren” in one of the new fabrics/colors we are testing (consider this a sneak peek!!!), along with Class Act Tutu’s Layered Romantic Tutu in our 5-Layer “Bird of Paradise” palette.

    If you want to own one of these georgeous tutus worn by Lindsi in the Pointe Photo shoot, they are in our Sample Sale!

    Not your size? No problem! Just contact us.

  • Vala Dancewear & PNB soloist, Lindsi Dec - Pointe Magazine Exclusive

    Photo by Nathan Sayers


    "Lindsi Dec steps out from the “Rubies” corps, lowering her arms slowly, a flash in her eyes. And then she bursts into action, her 5' 9" worth of angular beauty unfurling into head-high extensions. Darting and slinking through Balanchine’s hip-jutting steps, the Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist is having the time of her life. And so is the audience." - Pointe Magazine

    Congratulations to Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist (and Vala Dancewear model), Lindsi Dec - on her awesome feature in the October/November issue of Pointe Magazine! Read all about Lindsi, her rise to fame and her incredible work ethic here.

    {PS: On page 10, Lindsi is modeling Vala Dancewear's "Siren" in one of our new colors.   Don't miss it!}

  • Book Review: Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear

    jack6.000x9.000.inddOkay, ballet fans - be honest. How awesome would it be to spend an entire year exploring the inner-workings of one of the world's most celebrated ballet companies?

    Just think: You would observe countess rehearsals, exhilarating performances, daily classes, nerve-wracking auditions and necessary board meetings. You would get to know the dancers and their artistic director, the stage hands, lighting directors, costume designers, marketers, fundraisers - even catch a glimpse of a few dance moms and their children.

    Every question would be answered. Every rumor laid to rest. Absolutely no one (and nothing) would be off limits! It would be a dream come true, right?

    Well, give yourself a good pinch because trust me - you're awake and your wish has been granted! In his newest book, Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear, best-selling author, Stephen Manes pulls back the gilded stage curtain and shares what it was like to spend a year with Seattle's own Pacific Northwest Ballet.

    Four years in the making, Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear isn’t just another textbook-ish tome; it instead reveals just how ballets are produced, marketed, and funded. In short, this beefy book – with all of its juicy gossip and first-hand dancer accounts – boldly goes where no balletomane has gone before!

    Through Manes’ watchful eye, you’ll discover many facets and secrets of the Land of Ballet such as: What it takes to keep the holiday cash-cow known as Nutcracker running year after (endless) year; how the company survived its most tumultuous, injury plagued and downright stressful staging of Roméo et Juliette; the harsh reality of “body is destiny”, and just how much a dancer will (can?) put up with - physically and emotionally - before calling it quits.

    You will be a fly on the wall during artistic director, Peter Boal’s most difficult decisions and discover why he and others in his position must be “willing to be hated”. You’re there as members of the “Who’s Who in Choreography” (Christopher Wheeldon, Twyla Tharp, Jaime Martinez, and Bernice Coppieters), give corrections and guidance for proper staging of their work. You’ll also witness the drama that surrounds a dancer's life - the fiery contentions, the painful jealousies and cherished friendships.

    Also revealed are the accounts from Pacific Northwest Ballet School students, as well as those from the oftentimes unsung "heroes of the pit" - orchestra pit, that is.

    Now although PNB is certainly at the book’s center, Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear is by no means exclusive to the Seattle crowd. In fact, this literary work of art (not exaggerating!) could have just as easily been written about any other top ballet company, from New York to London. Because no matter how you slice it, a dancer’s needs, desires, fears and frustrations are the same.

    Quite honestly, I cannot say enough great things about this book. Its exciting and insanely in-depth coverage of "life on the inside" is exactly what tired, musty-dusty dance library shelves have been craving for years! Stephen Manes has done an excellent job at conveying all the intricacies of a ballet company's success, without sacrificing a single note from the chorus of countless artistic voices behind it. (Bravo!)

    From union mandates to marketing strategies, to painful injuries to exhausting perfectionism, Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear leaves no stone left unturned and is an absolute must for the die-hard ballet fan!

    To read excerpts (Come on, you know you're dying to!) and to purchase a copy of the book in either hardcover or digital format, please visit Where Snowflakes Dance and

  • Elizabeth Murphy Joins Pacific Northwest Ballet

    elizabethmurphyLast month, Pacific Northwest Ballet announced its newest company members for the 2011-12 season. Elizabeth Murphy of Massachusetts, was one of the chosen few.

    In this article, Murphy talks about her start in ballet and how she keeps herself in top shape to keep up with the demands of her blossoming career. Read all about it here.

  • Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo's Bernice Coppieters Tackles Role of Instructor

    Bernice Coppieters in Roméo et Juliette. Photo courtesy: The Prague Post, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo


    For the past 20 years, Bernice Coppieters has danced all of the leading roles in Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo's repertoire, including Juliet in "Romeo et Juliette". (Side note: We had the privilege of reviewing Pacific Northwest Ballet's performance of this piece back in 2009, in which Coppieters' beautiful fingerprints could be seen and felt throughout the entire evening.)

    Now this gorgeously complex dancer talks about one of her most rewarding roles to date: instructor.

    In her early 40s, Coppieters' age is not a sensitive topic of conversation, as one might expect. She isn't scared of the fact that her career as an active prima ballerina is very likely coming to its end. She says she is putting her focus in a different direction, working with dancers in companies around the world who are staging Maillot's productions.
    Read more here.

  • Behind the Scenes with PNB's Media Relations Manager, Gary Tucker

    Gary Tucker--or "Sir Gary" as he is affectionately known around Vala Dancewear--is one of the many faces behind Pacific Northwest Ballet's success. As the media relations manager, Gary spends his days developing innovative PR campaigns, writing newsy press releases (can't forget those press releases!), and providing folks like me with stellar press photos. ;)

    While Gary's many talents play a crucial role in PNB's favorable status within the dance community, his sparkling sense of humor and charming wit are the icing on the cake!

    So who is the man behind the press release? How does the world of ballet--and the arts world in general--look from his perspective? We decided to go straight to the source to find out! Ladies and gentlemen, the honorable Gary Tucker... {Insert thunderous applause here}

    St.GarySo how did you become the Sir Gary of PNB?

    That’s only a title that you have bestowed upon me. My preferred title is ‘Lord High Peon’. Well, let’s see…how I got started at PNB. About four years ago, I was working for the Film Festival and then I wasn’t working for the Film Festival. Let’s leave it at that! {Laughs} Then I was enjoying the summer, did a couple of freelance gigs. And just when I was starting to think, “I should get a job because I’m running out of money!” my friend Ellen Walker - the Director of Marketing and Communications here at Pacific Northwest Ballet - called me. We’ve known each other for a thousand years and she called me in kind of a panic; I mean her message just sounded urgent. She said “Gary, you have to call me immediately!” Apparently their PR gal had given her two weeks’ notice and it was something like—ten days before the opening of Nutcracker! {Laughs}

    Oh my goodness…!

    I told Ellen I’d help with Nutcracker and then we’ll see how it goes. You know, to see if I liked it or not. And within about a day Ellen was asking, “You’ll just take the full-time job, won’t you?” {Laughs} So once I made it through that, I thought, “If I can make it through Nutcracker, then full-time should be a breeze!” Which it hasn’t been, of course! {Laughs}

    Famous last words, right?

    Yeah, it was! I’ve worked for a lot of arts organizations in town doing PR but I’d never worked on a show as big as Nutcracker, in terms of both size and expectations. As a matter of fact, when they told me what their number goals for Nutcracker were, I actually laughed because I thought it was a joke. And then I realized…it wasn’t a joke! {Laughs} But it’s fun; this is a great place to work. Everyone said I’d get the hang of it and I did, so–here I am!

    Would you say you thrive in a busy environment? Do you like to constantly go, go,go?

    Well I would like a little slow, slow, slow once in awhile! It would be nice to catch up because you’re never on top of everything. You’re constantly distracted. You’ll say to yourself, “Today I’m going to put out the Tharp press release!” Then you get to your desk, turn on your computer and the first thing that pops up is something else you have to do, right then and there. Then someone else needs something, or a photo need comes up for a magazine, and then the next thing you know, it’s the end of the day and you haven’t even looked at that press release!

    But I do like the atmosphere. I like working for arts organizations and have been working for them almost exclusively my entire career.

    What brought that about? Were you into the arts like drama or theatre when you were younger?

    I was totally into theatre when I was in school! I wanted to sing, I wanted to dance, I wanted to act-- even though I wasn’t a very good dancer or singer. I was an okay actor, though. I took ballet for 2 years at the University of Washington with Eve Green, as well as jazz with Edna Daigre. Okay, funny story; at the end of the term, there was a faculty dance concert. Well, I did not dance in the ballet portion; I danced in the jazz portion. And at the end of the show, someone from the ballet class came up to me and said, “Umm…you should stick with jazz.” Which was their kind way of saying, ‘You should get out of ballet!’ {Laughs}

    You’re right, that’s pretty humorous! I thought you had a background in dance, judging by our previous conversations. You always sound like someone who knows the business well—not just because it’s your job.

    I’m not what I would call a “dance scholar” by any stretch of the imagination, not even close! In fact, I have my little glossary of ballet terms so I can look up how to spell them. I’ll put it this way - I know enough about it that it serves me well in this position.

    How did you get from there to becoming the PR guru you are today?

    Please - You can’t call me a “guru”! (You can call me a “kan-guru.”) My first job after college was working with the city parks department putting on the Concerts in the Park series. I did this back home in Hawaii as well. Yes, I’m an island boy. :) The concert program was fun but very short-term. Then I worked for an ad agency as a receptionist, and from there I started working for a small, local theatre company [the late, great Skid Road Theatre]. Then I started working for The Egyptian Theatre just to have some additional income. I ended up working there for a long time, and it led to other film-related jobs. Fast forward (because this story could go on forever!)—I was taking a summer off from the film biz, working for the underground tours when I heard that Intiman Theatre was looking for a PR guy. I’d never worked in PR before, but at that time I was an Intiman subscriber and I thought to myself, “You know what? The Egyptian was an independent theatre and we were doing all our promotion ourselves. I can probably sell theatre!” And from that point on, I’ve been in arts PR. I’ve had stints at many fantastic arts organizations around town. But hopefully I’m here at PNB for good!

    What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into PR and “do what you do”?

    First of all, I do this because I love working for performing arts organizations. I don’t necessarily “live” to do PR. Obviously I’ve made a good career out of it, but my choice was to work in the arts: PR was just the avenue I got to take. Everyone has to decide for themselves what they want to do. If you want to get a job, any job, in the arts, develop more than one skill so that you’ll be the right candidate no matter what the position is that they’re hiring for. If you want to get a job doing PR, well there are many, many opportunities out there for the right people. (Although they might not actually pay a living wage!) But if you want to get a job doing PR in the arts, I wouldn’t look for PR jobs with a steel manufacturer or something like that.

    I would also suggest you learn how to talk on the phone, learn how to communicate clearly via e-mail (so many people do not), learn how to write a press release, and have a good attitude.

    How does your typical day begin?

    I always start off my day by…listening to NPR and reading the newspaper! I read various publications so I can keep on top of everything; that’s what you have to do in this business. That and writing press releases! I do like my diet Coke and my lattes on occasion but I don’t start my day with caffeine. Shocking! {Laughs} I like to get going on my own, without additional stimulation.

    Speaking of coffee, there was an article or little contest in Seattle Magazine awhile back called “Match the PNB dancer to their favorite coffee drink”. How did that come about?

    Well, it was more of a quiz than a contest, because the only prize was a sense of self-satisfaction, and it was on PNB’s Facebook page. Seattle magazine was doing a coffee issue and asked a bunch of Seattle celebrities what their drink of choice was, and they’d asked if I could get a dancer to do one. Not knowing the intimate details of our dancers’ caffeine habits already, I decided to just send the query out and see who replied. Well, I got about five responses and they were all pretty interesting, but the magazine was only going to use one. So I thought, “Why don’t I just see how many I can get, and we can turn it into a little quiz on our Facebook page!”

    And then we provided a link from our Facebook page to the Seattle Magazine article online, so there was a little tie-in. And Seattle magazine was so thrilled with that, that they sent a link back to us from their site.

    Wow! So that was your idea?

    It was my idea, but I got lots of help implementing it from my cohorts here at PNB, particularly Judith [Austin] who manages our Facebook presence!

    Any other interesting ballet-related PR stories?

    Last year when I was reading the sports section—I mean, how often would I find anything of use in the sports section?—But I was going through it and there was a little interview with Quincy Pondexter [then University of Washington basketball player; current team member of New Orleans Hornets]. And I thought to myself, “This guy sounds smart and funny, and he probably has a good sense of himself. I wonder if he’d be willing to be a guest Grandfather in Nutcracker!”

    I wondered how that all came to be! How did you get him to do it?

    I contacted the press department at the Huskies and they told me that, “Of all the players, he’d be the one to do it.” Quincy jumped at the idea and it was great! PNB’s Nutcracker got mentioned in so many places—including the New York Times sports section—because of Quincy. While I don’t watch sports on a regular basis, I do go through that section every day.

    You literally are a fountain of wonderful ideas, aren’t you?

    Well, thanks for the flattery, but they’re not always wonderful; For every good idea there are several more bad ones. For every “Yes” that you get, there’s at least three “No’s”. So, you just have to keep on persevering and don’t allow yourself to be dejected by defeat.

    Don't you just love him, folks? Let's give him another round of applause, shall we?  Thanks, Gary! You're the greatest!

  • Cupcakes & Conversation with Seth Orza

    Check out this fun interview with Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer, Seth Orza. Check out Seth's answer to, "What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?" "In Fancy Free, a ballet I performed with New York City Ballet, I was doing my solo and was about halfway into it when my pants split right up the back. I was wearing only a dance belt, so you could probably see everything. I had to finish the ballet with the pants ripped, which was hard to do without laughing."

    Oh my! To read more interesting tidbits from Mr. Orza, click here.

  • PNB Dancer Profile: Lindsi Dec

    As you (may) already know, Lindsi Dec - soloist with Pacific Northwest Ballet - is one of our stunning Vala models. We're pleased to announce she's PNB's latest featured dancer on YouTube. Check out her 'Dancer Profile' video here. (PS: Check out her awesome developpes!!)

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