The Pacific Northwest Ballet began in 1972 as the Pacific Northwest Dance Association and was part of the Seattle Opera. Still operating today as both a ballet company and a professional ballet school for potential company dancers, the ballet is one of the most well-attended in the United States, having 11,000 reported annual subscribers in the greater Seattle area.
School & Company
Pacific Northwest Ballet is a great place for aspiring professional dancers to study because, like the School of American Ballet feeds into the New York City Ballet, PNB's students become potential members of the company. While some dancers join the company after having studied and trained elsewhere, many dancers begin attending the school as teens or even as children, and go on to become professional members of the company.
The company has around 44 dancers, two of whom are apprentices. The soloists and principals are featured dancers, many of whom are former corps de ballet dancers with PNB, others of which were brought in from other companies. The two yearly apprentices are students of the school who dance in the company as well, with the goal of becoming company members at the end of their apprenticeship.
Pacific Northwest Ballet Behind the Scenes
Dancers in the company recently started a less formal website than the PNB official website where tickets can be bought and upcoming shows considered. This 'backstage' website, called 'Unleashed', is an opportunity for people to really get to know the person behind each talented dancer. PNB Unleashed offers interviews and 'Day in the Life' stories with dancers from the company as well as offering links to recent news articles about the company and dancers. The website has been a great success because many dance enthusiasts are curious about who the people are behind the makeup and costumes.
PNB Famous Dancers
Some famous dancers from PNB are Louise Nadeau, who retired in 2009, Carla Korbes, Ariana Lallone, and Peter Boal.
Louise entered PNB in 1990 and graced audiences with her last performance in June of 2009. She was known for her exceptional grace, sense of timing, and precision; also hailed as a breathtaking ballerina, she was a highlight of performances at PNB for the 17 years that she was a principal dancer there. Peter Boal is the current artistic director of both the company and the PNB school. Boal was a soloist and principal dancer for the New York City Ballet, after studying at the School of American Ballet since the age of nine. He retired from NYCB in 2005, and became a pivotal person with PNB following his onstage career.
Ariana Lallone has danced with PNB since 1987 when she was an apprentice with the company. She was promoted to soloist in 1993, followed by becoming a principal in 1994. Her stunning style has wowed audiences for years.
Carla Korbes hails from Brazil and was invited to join the School of American Ballet by Peter Boal when he performed with her as a visiting artist in Brazil. Upon moving to America, she performed for years with the New York City Ballet before joining Pacific Northwest in 2005 as a soloist. Since 2006, she has danced with PNB as a principal dancer.
PNB's style is one of professional ballet with a graceful edge. Tying together the traditional influences of Balanchine with the modern edges of ballet, PNB is one of the premiere performing ballet companies in the US.