Ballet NEWS | Pacific Northwest Ballet presents Cinderella


February 4-13, 2010

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109

two ballet dancers and a carriage on stage

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Seth Orza and Maria Chapman with company dancers in Kent Stowell’s Cinderella. Photo © Angela Sterling

Pacific Northwest Ballet presents 

February 4 & 5 at 7:30 pm

February 10–12 at 7:30 pm

February 5 & 12 at 2:00 pm

February 6 & 13 at 1:00 pm

Added Performance!  February 13 at 6:30 pm

SEATTLE, WA – Pacific Northwest Ballet happily announces that, following a nine-year hiatus, Kent Stowell’s captivating Cinderella makes a long-anticipated return for its McCaw Hall debut. When creating his ballet in 1994, Stowell focused on the spirit of the story, drawn from the original French fairy tale by Charles Perrault, to develop the ballet’s romantic and tender themes, a narrative of “love lost, and love found.” Roles for the entire Company, as well as some of Stowell’s most endearing creations for PNB School students, combine with more than 120 elaborately detailed costumes and vast painted backdrops to transport Cinderella from her softly illuminated memories, through misty magical landscapes to, at last, a royal palace adorned with Rococo frescos and crystal chandeliers. Here, in the midst of a swirling, scarlet-clad ballroom, Cinderella and her prince flash like precious diamonds in one of PNB’s most breathtaking moments. 

At these performances, the mighty PNB Orchestra will be led by Emil de Cou, who was recently hired as PNB’s new Music Director/Principal Conductor, and who will join the company full-time at the start of the 2011-2012 season. Cinderella runs from February 4 through February 13 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Ticket demand for the return of Cinderella is already so great that PNB has added a special Valentine’s Eve performance (with celebratory support from promotional partner Freixenet) on Sunday, February 13 at 6:30 pm. Tickets to all performances start at $27 and may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at, or in person at 301 Mercer Street.



Music: Sergei Prokofiev*
Choreography: Kent Stowell
Staging: Kent Stowell and Francia Russell
Scenic Design: Tony Straiges
Costume Design: Martin Pakledinaz
Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli
Premiere: May 31, 1994; Pacific Northwest Ballet

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Cinderella, conceived and choreographed in 1994 by Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell, is a sweet and tender story of love lost and found. In sustaining this romantic focus throughout the ballet, Stowell has departed meaningfully from earlier modern versions of Cinderella, most of which took their lead from Frederick Ashton’s 1948 production for the Royal Ballet. Drawing heavily on the English music hall tradition, especially in the depiction of the ugly stepsisters (who were danced by men en travestie), those Cinderellas, Stowell believes, were more comic-tragic than romantic in feeling. And, wedded to the original 1945 score, which Sergei Prokofiev modeled on the 19th-century ballets of Marius Petipa, they boasted more theatrical variety than narrative or emotional cohesiveness.

Restoring the continuity of Cinderella’s story and its feeling became Stowell’s guiding principle in the design of PNB’s production. Central to this conception is the contrast between the Real World and the Dream World of Cinderella’s experience. A young woman whose beloved mother has died and whose father has remarried, in reverie she revisits the happiness of the past even as she tries to cope bravely with the unhappiness of her new home life. When her fairy godmother appears, and is the same dancer as the memory-mother it is clear that the love Cinderella experienced as a child remains with her into adulthood—a deep store of wisdom and hope to guide her towards future happiness. As she meets the Prince at the ball in Act II and as he searches for and finds her in Act III, the emphasis is steadily on the realization of a love relationship which restores a lost wholeness.

To achieve this narrative and emotional continuity, some revision of the Prokofiev score has been necessary. For example, Prokofiev wrote incidental music for the play Eugene Onegin that has been incorporated into Act I, making the dance lesson a meaningful contrast between Cinderella’s natural grace and the stepsisters’ awkwardness. To further reinforce the dramatic resonance, the mazurka in Act II has been replaced by the gavotte that Prokofiev wrote for his first symphony (and which he later rewrote for his Romeo and Juliet). A waltz that ended Act I now opens Act II, so that our first musical impression of the ball is of a glorious atmosphere for romance. And incidental music from Prokofiev’s opera Love for Three Oranges provides ideal music for newly conceived entertainment at the ball—The Theater of Marvels—that re-enacts the moral and psychological issues of the entire ballet. Other source materials include Summer Day, the “Mephisto Waltz” from the opera Lermontov, and the ballet The Stone Flower. With resplendent costumes by Martin Pakledinaz and sets by Tony Straiges that evoke an exquisite 18th-century world, PNB’s Cinderella is a fully realized romantic fairy tale for our time.  [Program Notes by Jeanie Thomas]

*Music details: Cinderella, Op. 87, 1940-1944, with excerpts from incidental music to Eugene Onegin [March, Scherzo, Prince and Princess], Op. 71, 1936; Lermontov film score [Mephisto Waltz], 1941-1942; A Summer’s Day Suite [Waltz], Op. 65, 1935-1941; Symphony No. 1 in D Major “Classical” [Gavotte], Op. 25, 1916-1917; The Tale of the Stone Flower [Waltz], Op. 118, 1948-1953; The Love for Three Oranges: Symphonic Suite, Op. 33bis, 1919/1924 


ballet dancer dressed as Cinderella, sitting in her carriage

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Maria Chapman as Cinderella in Kent Stowell’s Cinderella. Photo © Angela Sterling


Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was a leading Soviet composer and brilliant pianist. He left Russia in 1918 and lived in Germany and Paris for the next sixteen years, with frequent trips to America for concert appearances. In 1934, he settled in Moscow and composed prolifically until his death. Among his best known works are the ballet scores Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella and Prodigal Son; the opera Love for Three Oranges; the children’s classic, Peter and the Wolf; the film score and cantata for Alexander Nevsky; and the Classical Symphony.

Kent Stowell was Artistic Director and principal choreographer of Pacific Northwest Ballet from 1977 until his retirement in June 2005. Mr. Stowell began his dance training with Willem Christensen at the University of Utah, later joining San Francisco Ballet. He joined New York City Ballet in 1962 and was promoted to soloist in 1963. In 1970, he joined the Munich Opera Ballet as a leading dancer and choreographer. In 1973, Mr. Stowell was appointed ballet master and choreographer of Frankfurt Ballet, and he was named, with Francia Russell, Co-Artistic Director of the company in 1975. In 1977, Mr. Stowell and Ms. Russell were appointed Artistic Directors of Pacific Northwest Ballet. His many contributions to the repertory include Swan Lake, Cinderella, Nutcracker, Carmina Burana, Firebird, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Hail to the Conquering Hero, Carmen, and Silver Lining.

In 2001, the University of Utah honored Mr. Stowell with its Lifetime Achievement Award. His other awards and honors include the Washington State Governor’s Arts Award, the Dance Magazine Award and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Seattle University. In 2004, Mr. Stowell received the ArtsFund Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, the Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was recognized by the King County Council for his achievements in the arts. On June 12, 2010, Mr. Stowell was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Washington.

Francia Russell was Artistic Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet and Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet School from 1977 until her retirement in June 2005. She is responsible for the addition to the Company’s repertory of many works of George Balanchine.

Ms. Russell’s most influential teachers were Felia Doubrovska, Antonina Tumkovsky, Vera Volkova, Robert Joffrey, and George Balanchine. She joined New York City Ballet in 1956 and was promoted to soloist in 1959. She retired from the company in 1961, danced for a year with Jerome Robbins’ Ballets USA, and taught on the faculty of the School of American Ballet in 1962-1963. In 1964, Balanchine appointed her ballet mistress of New York City Ballet. Ms. Russell was one of the first ballet masters chosen by Balanchine to stage his works. She has staged more than one hundred productions of Balanchine ballets throughout North America and Europe. In 1987, she staged the first Balanchine ballet in the People’s Republic of China for the Shanghai Ballet, and in 1988-1989, she staged the historic first authorized performance of Balanchine’s work in his homeland for the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg. From 1975 to 1977, Ms. Russell and Kent Stowell were Co-Artistic Directors of Frankfurt Ballet.

Ms. Russell’s numerous awards include the Washington State Governor’s Arts Award, the Dance Magazine Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Seattle University, and the Brava Award from Women’s University Club of Seattle. In 2004, Ms. Russell received the Arts Fund Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, the Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was recognized by the King County Council for her achievements in the arts. On June 12, 2010, Ms. Russell was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Washington.

A prolific designer for musical theater, Tony Straiges has also designed for Pacific Northwest Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. He has received a Boston Critics Award, Drama Desk Award, Joseph Maharan Award, Outer Critics Award, Phoebe Award, Tony Award, among many nominations. Models of his designs are included in museums around the United States.

Martin Pakledinaz’s costumes have been seen both on and off Broadway, in opera houses in Seattle, Santa Fe, Dallas, Brussels, Toronto, Tokyo, as well as at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His work for PNB, in addition to Kent Stowell’s Cinderella, includes new costumes for Stowell’s Zirkus Weill in 1995.  In 1997, he designed the costumes and created his first-ever set for Francia Russell’s acclaimed staging of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which PNB performed at the 1998 Edinburgh International Festival and at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London (and which returns to Seattle in April.) Mr. Pakledinaz’s other dance credits include the costumes for The Hard Nut, Orfeo et Euridice, Medium, Rhymes with Silver, and A Lake, all for the Mark Morris Dance Group; Tuning Game and Silver Ladders for Helgi Tomasson/San Francisco Ballet; and works for Lila York and Eliot Feld.


Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Kent Stowell’s Cinderella runs February 4-13 at Marion

Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center. Showtimes are 7:30 pm February 4-5 and 10-12, with 2:00 pm matinees on February 5 and 12, 1:00 pm matinees on February 6 and 13, and a special added Valentine’s Eve performance at 6:30 pm on February 13.

Ticket range: $27 – $165.  Tickets may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

Phone: 206.441.2424 (Mon.-Fri. 9am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)

In person: 301 Mercer Street, Seattle (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)

Online at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s website  (24/7)

Tickets are also available 90 minutes prior to each performance at McCaw Hall, located at 321 Mercer Street. Subject to availability.



Special activities for children and families – including crafts and dance classes – begin one hour before all matinee performances.


Subject to availability, half-price rush tickets for students and senior citizens (65+) with valid ID may be purchased in-person, beginning 90 minutes prior to show time at the McCaw Hall box office.


Thursday and Friday performances: February 4, 10 and 11 at 7:30 pm
One ticket for $15 and two for $25 for patrons 25 years and younger! To purchase tickets, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424 or visit 301 Mercer Street. This offer is good for February 4, 10 and 11 performances only. Offer is subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets. Each attendee must present valid I.D. upon ticket retrieval.


PNB is a proud participant of Seattle Center’s Teen Tix program. Young people 13 to 19 years old can purchase tickets to PNB performances and other music, dance, theater and arts events for only $5. To join Teen Tix or view a list of participating organizations, visit Seattle Center’s Teen Tix webpage.


Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For group tickets, please call 206.441.2416, email [email protected] or use PNB’s Online Group Builder.  (PNB’s Online Group Builder is available for audience members to gather friends, family and co-workers to see any performance and save.) 


Pacific Place, 600 Pine Street, Downtown Seattle

Visit the Concierge Desk on Level 1 with $100 in same-day receipts from Pacific Place and receive one free ticket to Cinderella  plus a 20% discount on additional tickets.  Limit one free ticket per person.

Friday, January 28, 6:00 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street, Seattle
Join us for an hour-long dance preview led by Artistic Director Peter Boal and featuring PNB dancers performing excerpts from Cinderella. PNB Friday Previews offer an upbeat and up-close view of the Company preparing to put dance on stage. Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank. This event is sold out. 

Sunday, January 30, 2:00 pm

Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Avenue on Capitol Hill, Seattle
PNB’s Sunday afternoon series features an hour-long discussion about Cinderella with PNB dancers in the casual atmosphere of the Elliott Bay Book Company reading room.  All Conversations with PNB are FREE.

Tuesday, February 1, 12:00 noon

Central Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Downtown Seattle

Join PNB for a free lunch-hour preview lecture at the Central Seattle Public Library. Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington will offer insights about Cinderella, complete with video excerpts. FREE.


Thursday, February 3, 2010

Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall
Join PNB artistic staff during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. Attend the lecture only or stay for the dress rehearsal. Tickets are $12 for the lecture, or $25 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s website or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street.

Listen to the Ballet! 

PNB partners with 98.1 Classical KING FM to bring listeners some of the world’s most popular ballet scores, featuring the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra direct from McCaw Hall. Tune in to KING FM for a live broadcast performance of Cinderella conducted by Emil de Cou on Saturday, February 5 at 7:30 pm. Only on 98.1 fm or online at King FM.

Pre-Performance Lectures
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing ballet to the stage. One hour before all performances. FREE for ticketholders.

Post-Performance Q&A
Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a post-performance Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers. Immediately following each performance in the Norcliffe Room at McCaw Hall. FREE for ticketholders.

three ballet dancers on stage

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Maria Chapman as Cinderella with soloists Chalnessa Eames and Lindsi Dec as her stepsisters in Kent Stowell’s Cinderella. Photo © Angela Sterling


Pacific Northwest Ballet’s informative EYES ON DANCE student matinee at 11:30 am on Friday, February 11 will feature excerpts from Kent Stowell’s Cinderella. Designed with young people in mind, EYES ON DANCE matinees are the perfect introduction to ballet for students of all ages. This one-hour matinee also includes introductions by PNB Artistic Staff, open set changes, and live music. (Note: The full PNB Orchestra does not play at this performance.)

EYES ON DANCE tickets are available to school groups purchasing 15–200 tickets*. Schools are responsible for their own transportation. Scholarship tickets for students participating in the free- or reduced-price lunch program are also available. To purchase tickets, call the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424 (Mon–Fri 9am–6pm; Sat 10am–5pm).

PNB’s Outreach and Education department encourages teachers to pair student matinee performances with additional EYES ON DANCE activities (such as PNB study guides, PNB Fieldtrips, and pre-performance or post-performance workshops) designed to complement and expand students’ viewing experiences. For more information about EYES ON DANCE, please contact Rochelle Rapaszky at 206.441.9411×4229 or [email protected].

* Please note that the Cinderella EYES ON DANCE school matinee is reserved for school groups of 15 or more students in grades Pre-K through 12. For group rates to other Cinderella performances, please contact PNB group sales manager at 206.441.2416 or [email protected].

Cinderella is made possible in part by Media Sponsor KOMO 4, Supporting Sponsor Dilettante Chocolates, Community Partner Perkins Coie, and Promotional Partner Freixenet. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2010-2011 Season is proudly sponsored by Microsoft Corporation. Additional season support is provided by Artsfund, National Endowment for the Arts, PONCHO, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, 4Culture – King County Lodging Tax, the Wallace Foundation, Washington State Arts Commission, and William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Schedule and programming subject to change. For further information, please visit Pacific Northwest Ballet’s website.

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