The culmination of our first-ever digital season, a celebration of departing dancers, and an enormous, heartfelt thank-you to our loyal patrons during this unprecedented past year, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Season Encore Performance bids adieu to a season like no other. Season Encore celebrates the careers of seven departing dancers: In addition to the previously-announced Laura Tisserand, Jerome Tisserand, and Steven Loch, the program will also give audiences the opportunity to bid a fond farewell to principal dancer William Lin-Yee and soloist Leah Merchant, as well as corps de ballet dancers Nancy Casciano and Angeli Kiana Mamon-Urrea. The program features performances showcasing Mr. and Ms. Tisserand and Mr. Loch, as well as world premieres choreographed by company members Ezra Thomson and Christopher D’Ariano spotlighting, respectively, Mr. Lin-Yee and Ms. Merchant.
PNB’s Season Encore Performance will premiere on Friday, June 18 at 7:00 pm (Pacific) and the program is streamable for five days, through June 22. Tickets ($29) may be purchased exclusively through the PNB Box Office, 206.441.2424, or online at PNB.org. PNB donors and subscribers will receive an email and link to watch the performance for free – our gift to you, for keeping us dancing this season.
“Season Encore offers a unique opportunity to celebrate dancers’ careers at PNB,” said Pacific Northwest Ballet Artistic Director Peter Boal, in announcing the program line-up. “Whether tenures span seasons or decades, we recognize the profound contribution each dancer makes to our company.”
“I’ve watched four men enter a studio each day for weeks and witnessed true camaraderie and friendship,” said Mr. Boal. “Ryan Cardea, Ezra Thomson, Jerome Tisserand, and William Lin-Yee are fast friends, and Ezra has made a splendid celebration of that bond. Will is – at the core – always supportive, positive, committed, musical, and downright funny. We’ve tapped him for his humor in Drosselmeier, Doctor Coppelius, Sechs Tanze, and Basilio. He’s also a Prince and a Cavalier, not only in his thoughtful partnering, but in his dancing and presence. I’ve been working with Will since he was a boy and he has never wavered in his generosity, care for those around him, and true professionalism. We are all grateful and appreciative of his contributions to PNB.”
William Lin-Yee is from San Francisco, California. He trained at Contra Costa Ballet Centre, San Francisco Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet. In 2004, he joined New York City Ballet as an apprentice and also was a Mae. L. Wien Award recipient. Mr. Lin-Yee joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2008 and was promoted to soloist in 2014 and principal in 2016.
“Leah Merchant beguiles in her interpretations of choreography by Alejandro Cerrudo, Jiri Kylian, Benjamin Millepied, Crystal Pite, and Robyn Mineko Williams,” continued Mr. Boal. Her conviction and vulnerability strike a chord in contemporary works. She is also regal and generous as Sugar Plum Fairy and Titania. Leah takes audiences on a journey; unknown and enchanting. Fellow dancer and choreographer Christopher D’Ariano captures that journey in a tribute piece d’occasion as we recognize Leah’s unparalleled artistic signature.”
Leah Merchant is from Mobile, Alabama. She trained at North Carolina School of the Arts, the School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Ms. Merchant joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 2007 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2008 and soloist in 2016.
“Nancy Casciano brought a natural talent to the stage and welcome laughter to the studio. She danced countless roles in The Nutcracker and seemed truly at home in works by Balanchine. She created two original works for NEXT STEP and taught her choreography to students in our school. Nancy now embarks on a new career, and we thank her for bringing her singular joy of dance to the stage.”
Nancy Casciano is from Atlanta, Georgia. She studied at the School of American Ballet and PNB School, and she attended summer courses at PNB School, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell. Ms. Casciano joined PNB as an apprentice in 2014 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2015.
“In 2003, Angeli Kiana Mamon-Urrea took part in an audition along with fellow third-graders for a program she had never heard of called DanceChance. Weeks later, she found herself at the barre in first position, wishing she was in her schoolyard playing tetherball. It wasn’t long until her passion shifted to ballet, and dreams of a career as a ballerina took hold. In 2015, that dream came true when Angeli became the first female DanceChance alum to join the company. Now, months after welcoming son, Apollo, into the world, Angeli is discovering and following a new path and passion.”
Angeli Kiana Mamon-Urrea is from Seattle, Washington. She trained on scholarship at PNB School, beginning as a DanceChance student in 2003. She attended summer courses at PNB School, Miami City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet. In 2014, Ms. Mamon-Urrea participated in PNB School’s exchange with the Palucca University of Dance in Dresden, where she also was a guest apprentice with Dresden Semperoper Ballett. Ms. Mamon-Urrea joined PNB as an apprentice in 2015, becoming the first female DanceChance student to join the Company. She was promoted to corps de ballet in 2016.
Featured photo: William Lin-Yee in Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote, photo © Lindsay Thomas.
Photos: William Lin-Yee and Leah Merchant in Petite Mort, photo © Lindsay Thomas. Leah Merchant in In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, photo © Lindsay Thomas. Nancy Casciano in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker choreography by George Balanchine © The Balanchine Trust, photo © Lindsay Thomas. Angeli Kiana Mamon-Urrea in The Sleeping Beauty, photo © Angela Sterling.