Q&A with dancers from The Intermission Project

“‘Intermission’ implies a period of time spent between. In 2021, most artists find themselves frozen in isolation, caught in between – between what their normal was, the lights, the curtain, the stage and the audience; and what their post-COVID 19 “normal” will look like. A nine-part film project presented in three acts, The Intermission Project aims to capture the emotional and cerebral journey we have found ourselves on this past year. The work was designed to be viewed at one’s own pace – a 4-minute piece here or there, a slightly longer 12-minute act, or the full 35 minutes in one sitting. The Intermission Project leans into the questions of this state of “in between’ we find ourselves in, until the intermission ends and we can see what our next act will hold.
– Excerpt from program notes for The Intermission Project by Emma Love Suddarth

The debut of Price Suddarth’s The Intermission Project happens March 8. We’re counting down the days to the release and while we’re waiting, we interviewed dancers about their experiences with this new work. PNB dancers Leta Biasucci, Emma Love Suddarth, and Noelani Pantastico answered questions about site-specific work, their favorite part of working on The Intermission Project, and their favorite places in Seattle.


Leta Biasucci

Have you worked on a site-specific performance before this digital season?

In 2014, a couple of PNB dancers had the opportunity to work with choreographer and former PNB dancer, Andrew Bartee on a project for Wolf Trap’s “Face of America” series. The series celebrated National Parks, and we filmed at a few locations in Olympic National Park. It was my first experience dancing for film, and a pretty stunning one! Ruby Beach is still one of my most favorite places, and dancing there is a treasured memory. 

What was the rehearsal process like? 

All of the rehearsals were conducted through Zoom. We rehearsed the warehouse solo section in-studio, and we rehearsed the group Golden Gardens section both in-studio and from home. The first time Price had seen any of his choreography in person was on filming day. That was a first for me! 

What was your favorite part of working on The Intermission Project?

Price really choreographs for the individual dancer to best highlight him or her. The solo we worked on felt like he gave me the framework, freedom, and direction to feel like my best dancing self.  Any time that a choreographic process feels like the choreographer can pull something out of you that you didn’t see inside yourself, it feels like a gift. 

Do you have any favorite pandemic-friendly (i.e. outdoor or virtual) Seattle spots?

Discovery Park is probably my favorite place in Seattle. Green Lake is also a regular haunt for me and my husband (and a clamorous beagle in tow). 

What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

Reading- The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Watching- Zero Zero Zero (highly recommend!)
Listening- The Ezra Klein Show 


Emma Love Suddarth

Have you worked on a site-specific performance before this digital season?

No, I haven’t worked on a site-specific work before now, but I have worked on a medium-specific work. I was involved in a previous piece created in 2016 by Price Suddarth for a collaboration with a local virtual reality company, Pixvana. The pas de deux Silent Resonance, created on myself and fellow PNB dancer Miles Pertl, was built specifically for viewing digitally. It was fascinating to work with such different parameters and expectations than those of a live performance—how to work in relation to where the cameras were placed, countless takes as opposed to a one-shot performance, reworking and adjusting aspects during the “performance” process, etc. Finally, months later, it was a total new experience watching the finished result wearing a VR headset instead of reliving it walking to our car, just minutes after curtain.  And to think, that was just the beginning of this new digital dance world we’re diving into…

What was the rehearsal process like? 

Being that we are married, obviously Price and my rehearsal process was especially unique… and 100% of it took place in our basement, under 7-foot ceilings. For #9, which featured two other couples from within PNB, I would come down to his rehearsal/office space (aka our basement) when he had rehearsals scheduled with either of them and go through it for myself. Sometimes, if he wasn’t napping, Milo, our (at the time) 6-month-old joined me. He thoroughly enjoyed babbling some notes for his folks from his playmat. Once Price had wrapped the filmings of the other 8 pieces, we had our “rehearsal period.”  Rehearsal started promptly around 8:30 pm—or whenever we were sure Milo was down for the night—and it consisted of about 4 evenings in our basement, where we’d go through #9, and then he’d create and we’d rehearse #3. It was a constant battle of not smacking the low ceilings or running into the couch or desk. We get some good laughs looking back through the iPhone videos I took of it—it definitely was a rehearsal process like none other.

What was your favorite part of working on The Intermission Project?

This might come as a surprise, and I might be one of the few in our line of work to say it, but as a dancer I love the rehearsal process far more than the final performance. I love digging into the piece, seeing it visually and feeling it physically change with each run-through, and at the end looking back on the transformation that has taken place for me as a dancer over the working period. While the adrenaline rush of that final run-through—the performance—is special, it’s the building towards it that I find the most joy in when it comes to my job as dancer. With film, the “performance” is just another part of the process. You do numerous takes, possibly rework things in the midst of it, and continue to live in the working side of things on the shoot day(s). The end result in this case—the film—comes so much later. This whole process for me felt so much richer as an artist.

 I think it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that obviously the project was special because I had the opportunity to dance with my husband. We’ve done a handful of works together at PNB over the years—a particular favorite being Kylian’s Petit Mort—and there’s not much else like it. While there’s a particular kind of directness we can have with each other that we might not have with other partners, the levels of both joy and trust are unmatched. We knew 2020 would be a year of change and transformation for us—going from two to three with the birth of our son—but we never could know how much it would be for the entire world. Getting to dive into these familiar, safe moments together as dancers, during a time of such unfamiliar, unsettling circumstances, was a real gift.

How does this project differ from past filmed performances you’ve done?

The only film project I’d been a part of before now was the VR film mentioned previously. The biggest difference was being in a studio (as we were for Silent Resonance) versus being outside in the elements. The studio is our normal as dancers, even more so than the stage; a windy paved pathway in the heart of Discovery Park is not. By the time we finished filming, all 4 hands between Price and I were entirely numb, thanks to 39-degree weather and constant rainfall. I absolutely hate being cold, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Do you have any favorite pandemic-friendly (i.e. outdoor or virtual) Seattle spots?

Walking. Price and I love going walking. First as a couple with two bubbly dogs, then as an antsy 40+ week pregnant gal and the husband trying to keep her relaxed, more recently as sleep-deprived new parents with a baby who was too accustomed to constant motion (he was destined for it with a mom who never sits still), walks have always been a part of our day. While the pandemic robbed us of many parts of our daily routine, it didn’t take that. Seattle is a city abounding with beautiful outdoor space and we take advantage of that daily. The beautiful marina in Ballard, the spacious canal in Fremont, the wide-open expanse of Discovery Park, even the neighborhood street right outside your front door—those Seattle gems haven’t gone anywhere.

What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

 As new(ish now) parents, our house and daily routine has taken an entirely new shape. The ball pit and toybox have taken center stage in our living room; the music playing in the car is most often a Pandora Disney station (Price and I are real good at the “A Whole New World” duet); the book on my nightstand is Peggy Rathmann’s Good Night, Gorilla (read about 8 times per sitting); and the majority of “watching” in our house has become things like jogging stroller reviews by Eli on magicbeans.com. As for what’s coming next? I foresee Mr. Rogers making an appearance on our screen in the not-too-distant future…


Noelani Pantastico

Have you worked on a site-specific performance before this digital season?

Yes! My first site-specific work was a piece called PICNIC that I choreographed for the SCULPTURED DANCE performances at Seattle Art Museum’s, Olympic Sculpture Park. It was my first experience choreographing and I loved everything about it! The dancers involved took the piece and completely owned it, which made my job really fun! I got to sit back and enjoy on performance day and see and hear the joy as the audience watched them shake and shimmy.

Since then, I’ve had many site-specific experiences, especially since the pandemic. The piece ALICE by Penny Saunders was my most recent work before Price’s The Intermission Project. I’m proud of ALICE because it was a big team effort with all of the artists involved, plus it was a co-production of Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Dance Collective, the company I co-direct with James Yoichi Moore. The process for ALICE was similar to Price’s in which it was made completely via zoom.

What was the rehearsal process like?

I was rehearsing via zoom. I am fortunate enough to have space to make a little tiny dance studio in the downstairs part of my house, so it serves (and continues to serve) as a special place for special projects. Although it can be cramped, I’ve adapted as well as I can to these new processes. I realized early on that if I wanted to continue moving I had to make it happen at home. 

What was your favorite part of working on The Intermission Project?

What made the process so great was that Price really understood how to work with me under these conditions and made me feel at home with his choreography (no pun intended 😉). This allowed me space find myself in his steps and access my artistry at the same time. It’s always wonderful when choreographers understand the needs of the dancer, and I felt that day one with Price.

How does this project differ from past filmed performances you’ve done?

Honestly, they are all different and unique. I thought it was pretty amazing that Price conceptualized, choreographed, filmed, and edited the whole thing!

Do you have any favorite pandemic-friendly (i.e. outdoor or virtual) Seattle spots?

No, actually hahah…. If I’m not at the studios I am at home being safe for others and my family. 

What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

Oh gosh, It’s quite the mishmash…The last thing I watched was Blown Away on Netflix. I gravitate towards reality TV or Documentaries at the moment, anything that brings me pleasure. But like the wind I just go where Netflix or Hulu take me. For music I’m obsessed with James Blake at the moment. And for books I’m reading a recommendation from my sister called Nothing to Lose by Daniel Munro. 

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