Pacific Northwest Ballet Presents "Emergence"

SEATTLE, WA – For the second program of its 43rd season, Pacific Northwest Ballet provides a crystal-ball look at the next generation of dance makers with EMERGENCE, a program of four contemporary works. PNB audiences have been counting the days until they could see Crystal Pite’s Emergence again, and PNB dancers have felt the same way. Kiyon Gaines’ Sum Stravinsky was another immediate favorite when it debuted in PNB’s 2012 ALL PREMIERE program. The Calling, a haunting work by choreographer Jessica Lang, artistic director of Jessica Lang Dance, receives its PNB season premiere, alongside a world premiere by PNB’s own Price Suddarth. 

EMERGENCE runs for 7 performances only, November 6 through 15 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $30. For more information, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at

“This program reflects our Company well,” said PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal in his program notes for EMERGENCE. “The range of pieces is vast, with music from the 12th and 21st centuries. The choreographers are young: all four were born after 1970. They are a diverse group and yet they share the common denominator of having developed as artists and choreographers in an environment that was encouraging to their creativity and experimentation. They were accepted for who they were, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, or income, and they were asked to find out what they had to say. Perhaps that’s the answer we’re all looking for: acceptance and encouragement for all.”


The line-up for EMERGENCE will include:

Sum Stravinsky

Music: Igor Stravinsky (Concerto in E-Flat, “Dumbarton Oaks8-v-1938,” 1937-1938)

Choreography: Kiyon Gaines

Costume Design: Pauline Smith

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

Running Time: 18 minutes

Premiere: November 2, 2012

Sum Stravinsky is Kiyon Gaines’ second ballet choreographed for PNB’s mainstage repertory, following M-Pulse in 2008. It premiered during the Company’s 40th Anniversary season. In his program notes, Mr. Gaines wrote “The creation of Sum Stravinsky is particularly special for me because it gives me a chance to both return to my roots as a choreographer and to give a special gift to PNB in its fortieth year. I was inspired by the Balanchine/Stravinsky relationship and also knew I wanted to add to that some of the influence of [PNB Founding Artistic Director] Kent Stowell. In my research for music by Stravinsky, I kept landing on the Dumbarton Oaks concerto. Kent had choreographed his own Dumbarton Oaks many years ago, and I remember watching it and thinking to myself, ‘This is one of the ballets I would absolutely love to dance.’ Creating Sum Stravinsky has given me this wonderful opportunity to revisit the music and create movement that expresses how the music makes me feel. As a choreographer, Balanchine is one of my biggest influences, and I am still amazed each time I see his works at how adept he was at moving large groups around the stage and creating great patterns, shapes, and formations. This is something I also wanted to explore while creating Sum Stravinsky.”

The Calling (PNB Season Premiere)

Music: Anonymous (“O Maria, stella maris,” French late12th-early 13th century)

Choreography: Jessica Lang

Staging: Jessica Lang and Kanji Segawa

Costume Design: Elena Comendador

Costume Concept: Jessica Lang

Lighting Design: Al Crawford

Running Time: Five minutes

Premiere: October 15, 2006 (as part of Splendid Isolation II); Ailey II, Baltimore, MD

Jessica Lang is a choreographer and the artistic director of Jessica Lang Dance. Hailed as "a master of visual composition" by Dance Magazine, she has created more than 80 works on companies worldwide including Birmingham Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Japan, Joffrey Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and New York City Ballet's Choreographic Institute, among others. Ms. Lang is a New York City Center Fellow for 2015 and the recipient of a 2014 Bessie Award. She has received numerous grants from organizations such as the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the NEA, and the Choo San Goh Foundation, and a 2010 Joyce Theater Artist Residency supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation helped launch her own company in 2011. Ms. Lang is on faculty of American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School as well as a teaching artist for the “Make A Ballet” program. She has been commissioned by Birmingham Royal Ballet to create a premiere in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Ms. Lang is a former member of Twyla Tharp's company, THARP!

Signature (World Premiere)

Music: Barret Anspach after Antonio Vivaldi (2015)

Choreography: Price Suddarth

Costume Design: Mark Zappone

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

Running Time: 30 minutes (est.)

Price Suddarth studied ballet at Central Indiana Dance Ensemble, the School of American Ballet (SAB), and Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and he attended summer courses on scholarship at PNB School, the Rock School, SAB, and Miami City Ballet. Mr. Suddarth joined PNB as an apprentice in 2010 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2011. In 2012, he was chosen as one of Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to Watch. His choreographic career began at SAB’s student choreographic workshop in 2007, and he has subsequently worked with regional companies in the United States. Mr. Suddarth has created regularly for PNB’s NEXT STEP choreographers’ showcases, and in 2012 he was commissioned to create a ballet for PNB School's Annual School Performance. He was invited to present his works at the 2012 Regional Dance America Gala performance and at the 2014 Chop Shop: Bodies of Work Contemporary Dance Festival.

A Pacific Northwest native, Barret Anspach composes chamber music, orchestral music, pop music, and ballet scores. He graduated in 2010 with a Master of Music from The Juilliard School. Mr. Anspach’s commissioned score for Signature marks his second orchestral premiere for PNB (his first was created for Andrew Bartee’s 2012 arms that work). He has also been commissioned by Joel Sachs for the New Juilliard Ensemble and has collaborated with a variety of artists in other disciplines, including performance artist Rachel Mason, choreographer Zack Winokur, photographer/filmmaker Michael Hart, and musician Jenn Ghetto. He and songwriter Seth Garrison form the dream pop group Night Cadet. Mr. Anspach lives in Seattle and is the brother of long-time Company dancer Jessika Anspach.


Music: Owen Belton

Choreography: Crystal Pite

Staging: Hope Muir

Scenic Design: Jay Gower Taylor

Costume Design: Linda Chow 

Lighting Design: Alan Brodie

Running Time: 28 minutes

Premiere: March 4, 2009; National Ballet of Canada (Toronto)

PNB Premiere: November 8, 2013

Crystal Pite is known as one of the most innovative and exciting choreographers at work today. National Ballet of Canada artistic director Karen Kain commissioned Pite to create an original work for the company as part of a program of new work by Canadian choreographers. The result, Emergence, brought audiences to their feet and went on to win four Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Choreography, Outstanding Performance and Outstanding Sound Design/Composition by Owen Belton.

A riveting dark-hued work that casts a swarming, scurrying group of dancers, insect-like, in an eerily subterranean universe, Emergence dramatizes through its mesmerizing choreographic attack the ways in which the instinct for creating social forms seems hard-wired into life itself. Pite’s inspiration for the work came from reading Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software by American popular science theorist Steven Johnson and considering parallels between the social organization of bees and the hierarchical nature of classical ballet companies. 

Johnson’s statement that “simple agents following simple rules could generate amazingly complex structures” became a touchstone for the piece. Pite was interested in individual expression and in collective problem solving through movement, often favoring the visual and kinesthetic appeal of the eccentric over the mundane and the grotesque over the beautiful. Pite rarely works with dancers en pointe and was attracted not only to the dancers’ ease of movement but also to the potential for a creature-like effect. 

Key to Pite’s vision for Emergence was her collaboration with composer Owen Belton, who uses both acoustic and electronic instruments, often in combination with computer processing techniques, to arrive at atmospheric palettes of sound and tone. Pite and Belton incorporated drone-like sounds of bees along with sounds of marching to signify the power and ominous presence of the body politic. [Notes courtesy of National Ballet of Canada.]


Tickets ($30-$187) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

  • Phone - 206.441.2424 (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
  • In Person - 301 Mercer Street, Seattle (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
  • Online - (24/7)

Subject to availability, tickets are also available 90 minutes prior to showtimes at McCaw Hall.


Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For group tickets, please call Group Sales Manager Julie Jamieson at 206.441.2416, email or use PNB’s online contact form at


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