Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Season Encore June 11-15, 2023 celebrating principal dancer Lesley Rausch’s career as a dancer was indeed bittersweet. But, with eight separate pieces (many, excerpts) on the program, it was indeed a reveling in Rausch’s rich career as a dancer. The first four pieces of the program featured huge talents—Elle Macy in Penny Saunders’ Wonderland, Rausch and Lucien Postlewaite in Balanchine’s Duo Concertant, Angelica Generosa and James Kirby Rogers in Alejandro Cerrudo’s Black on Black on Black, and Clara Ruf Maldonado and Kuu Sakuragi in PNB’s Giselle (peasant pas de deux). Also powerful was Kiyon Ross’s …throes of increasing wonder, in which over a dozen dancers performed in this hard-hitting, driving piece. In Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lucien Postlewaite’s big jumps and flexibility and Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan’s articulate dancing—joy personified—impressed.

In Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Dylan Wald and Dammiel Cruz-Garrido easily kept up with Rausch’s moves—both technical and lyrical. A powerhouse of a femme fatale, Rausch delivered a sizzling performance.

Rausch’s last dance—the closing piece on the program, an excerpt from Act II of Swan Lake, included James Kirby Rogers and Otto Neubert. Rausch gave a performance again of demanding contrasts—her fast, agile feet, her gorgeous, slow-motion attitude into extension, penché in which she seemed to float, soulful arms. Lesley Rausch leaves Pacific Northwest Ballet as one of its most exquisite ballerinas, a flawless dancer, and one who has inspired so many others in their ballet journey.

Image: PNB. [All images in this blog are courtesy of PNB press room, promotion, and social media]

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