Pacific Northwest Ballet
March 20, 2022
Beauty and the Beast
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.
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.