by Megan Burbank
In a low-ceilinged studio at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Phelps Center in downtown Seattle, two rows of kids from South Seattle’s Maple Elementary stand at a ballet barre on a floor of middle-gray marley. Clad in purple cap-sleeve leotards or white T-shirts and black tights, they move in unison to music played by a pianist in the corner, as former PNB dancer Eric Hipolito Jr. leads them through the first step of every ballet class ever taken: pliés, knee bends that form the basis of numerous steps still to come. As the students move through the static postures that, taken together, form the foundation of classical ballet, Hipolito interjects here and there with jokes, praise, nuggets of guidance: “Make sure there’s space between your fingertips,” he says at one point. At another: “Check if you’re early and check if you’re late.”
Continue reading Teaching Students From His Own South End Neighborhood, a Former PNB Dancer Is Bringing Ballet to the Next Generation →
The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.
We also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.
Morning Update Show — Tuesday, March 22
Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmation Hearing | LIVE — Ballet Dancer Destiny Wimpye | LIVE — Ballet Dancer Rosalyn Hutsell | LIVE — Dr. Conrad Webster of WA Department of Health | A Look Back at Dangriga, Belize!
Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 3/22 →
by Riis Williams
(This article was originally published by Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, many organizations have announced their alliance with it. But for Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet, upholding a commitment to racial inclusivity goes beyond just a Facebook post. It requires taking a hard look at the history of ballet and its Eurocentric origins.
Normally this time of year, on the heels of completing their performance season, the company would be hard at work participating in summer events and preparing for upcoming fall performances. But this year, with PNB’s studios closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, its dancers and faculty members are taking their time at home to seriously rethink the repertoire they perform, the cities they travel to, and the people they hire.
Continue reading Pacific Northwest Ballet Strives Under the Long Shadow of Classics — Notably, Racism →