A Season of Diversity at Ballet Northwest

by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS

There isn’t a ballet dancer or aficionado in the South Sound who’s unfamiliar with Ballet Northwest, one of Olympia’s premier, longest-standing ballet companies. That fact is built on Ballet Northwest’s reputation for holding performances with all the beauty and grace for which ballet is known. This August, the dance company will keep its reputation alive as it opens its 2017-2018 season, one of the most varied the company has ever produced. “We’re really excited about the diversity and quality of this season,” says Ballet Northwest creative director Ken Johnson. “The diversity between the family favorites of Mowgli and The Nutcracker, the classical grandeur of Swan Lake and the Young Choreographers Showcase and Olympia Dance Festival are what makes this season unique. We’re showcasing so many different styles of dance.”

Led by artistic directors Josie and Ken Johnson, Ballet Northwest is a community dance company that promotes local dancers and provides educational opportunities to performers and community members. The company’s upcoming 2017-2018 season will open with Young Choreographers Showcase, featuring 17 world premieres by burgeoning choreographers guiding 50 dancers. “Our productions rival the experiences audiences have in larger cities like Seattle or Portland,” said Johnson. “For audiences to realize they can have high-quality, entertaining and fun dance experiences right here in Olympia is wonderful.”

Ballet Northwest will present Eugene Ballet’s Mowgli — The Jungle Book Ballet in October, followed by The Nutcracker in December. This year’s Nutcracker will feature over 200 dancers and new sets for “The Land of Sweets.” The company will hold its ninth-annual Olympia Dance Festival in March 2018, with over a dozen local dance troupes performing ballet, ballroom, Chinese, hip-hop, Irish, jazz, Middle Eastern, modern and tap dance. In May 2018, Ballet Northwest will close its season with the high drama and haunting beauty of Swan Lake.

What: Young Choreographers Showcase

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27

Where: Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts,
South Puget Sound Community College,
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia

How much: $12

Learn more: 360-867-8824 | Ballet Northwest

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