Pacific Northwest Ballet
McCaw Hall
Seattle, WA

March 20, 2022
Beauty and the Beast

Dean Speer

I once heard the creator of this ballet, Bruce Wells, talk about his original concept of making one-hour story ballets geared to a general audience that were kid-friendly. He stated that they were intended as a kind of “Ballet 101” whereby audiences would be exposed to all of the elements of a typical story kind of ballet — music, costumes, sets, theatrical lighting and effects, and the hierarchy of ballet (use of principal parts, soloists, and corps de ballet). Each of his short ballets uses a narrator to help things along. In this case it was Jasper McCann (who has a superb voice). Wells also wanted to show common dance patterns and always includes a grand pas de deux.

Deploying a platoon of PNB’s well-trained School students, Beauty and the Beast is the fourth of Wells’ creations in this guise and it more than meets expectations.

Pacific Northwest Ballet
and Pacific Northwest Ballet School Students
in Bruce Wells’s “Beauty and the Beast”
Photo by Angela Sterling

Belle was danced by Rosalyn Hutsell, Beast/Prince by Andrew Buckley, The Merchant by Larry Lancaster, Enchantress by Alessandra Nova, and Gaston by Dylan Calahan. Additional cast included Courtiers, Villagers, Peasants, Gaston’s Admirers, Pages, a Pas de Quatre, and the Enchantress’s Attendants.

With various recorded music by the French composer Leo Delibes, it’s a tuneful ballet that was entertaining, filled with excellent dancing, and superior choreography. A keeper for sure.