If you live in Seattle, or you’re planning a trip there, then you should know that being a Seattleite – if even for a few days – isn’t complete without seeing a Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) production. Director’s Choice, a perennial season favorite, opens tomorrow November 7th. The two ballerinas on this flyer are extraordinary dancers and exemplary people. I know that because I was honored to have danced with them when I trained with PNB.
Director’s Choice features four show-stopping pieces selected by Artistic Director, Peter Boal. Choreographer David Dawson portrays the intoxicating bliss of dance set to the music of Bach in A Million Kisses to my Skin. In contrast, Nacho Duato’s Rassemblement is a powerful portrayal of the yearning to escape oppression set to Haitian slave songs. Before After is a duet replicating another type of yearning—the tumult of the soul when love ends. The program’s world premiere is Debonair, by Justin Peck of the New York City Ballet. Its long, central pas de deux will leave the audience wondering whether they’ve witnessed a romance or a flirtation.
There are many fabulous dancers in this Company, but today I’m focusing on Lindsi Dec, the front lady in the above picture. She is one of the best dancers in the world, but if you met her she would never let on. She’s one of the most genuine people I’ve known.
I danced with Lindsi when I was about 13 and she was in the Professional Division. A visiting choreographer auditioned a number of dancers for a premiere. He took everyone into a studio at once and tested us without knowing what experience we had. I was among the youngest, but in one miraculous moment, he chose me as a soloist. I attributed his decision to too much wine at lunch:)
When he finished assembling his troupe and taught us the choreography, I was terrified! My role required an intricate, upside-down lift, and I hadn’t even begun pas de deux training. Normally, dancers start without having their feet leave the floor, much less being upside down soaring through the air.
Lindsi sensed my concern and immediately came to my rescue. She helped me with the moves, and enlisted other dancers to spot me. Because of her, I pulled off a role that was far above my level. I’ve watched Lindsi’s rise in the ballet world ever since. As she has, the caring side of her hasn’t changed.
Here’s a picture my dad snapped of me at PNB when I was a little older. He snuck outside and did it while I was in the studio taking barre.
So, if you’re able to attend Director’s Choice – or any PNB program – and see Lindsi dance, now you’ll know that she is a gem on and off the stage.