Artistic Director’s Notes – Season Encore 2022

Doctor, nurse, social worker, scientist, esthetician, aerialist–just a few of the professions our dancers have embraced after retiring from the company. Emotions at PNB’s Season Encore run high as we recognize departing dancers for their myriad contributions to the company, while mourning the fact they will no longer perform for us again. But when we think of the doors that are opening on the other side of retirement, we are filled with excitement for their futures.

Tonight, we bid farewell to three company dancers following the September retirement of Emma Love Suddarth in Alejandro Cerrudo’s Little mortal jump and the February farewell to Noelani Pantastico performing her signature role of Juliet for the last time. These two dancers are greatly missed, but they are already happily writing their next chapters.

Guillaume Basso has been with the company for the past seven years dancing in dozens of ballets from Petipa to Pite and creating his own choreography along the way. Guillaume now turns his focus to teaching at Adage Ballet Studio and devoting himself to his education and practice of yoga. We are grateful for Guillaume’s warm presence, affable manner, reliable partnering, and warm spirit.

Sarah Pasch spent the fall semester teaching second grade. She has long aspired to be an elementary school teacher and now embarks on her chosen second career. Imagine having the Dewdrop leading lessons on climate change, or the principal dancer in Rubies giving lessons on geology! Sarah has always been a quiet leader in the studio helping others to learn counts, patterns, steps, and musicality. These skills will transfer seamlessly to the academic classroom where Sarah will continue to be an inspiration.

Josh Grant joined PNB twenty-one years ago. After three years in the corps de ballet, he joined National Ballet of Canada and later Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. His triumphant return as the Dying Swan in PNB’s Laugh Out Loud Festival led to his return to PNB, and since then, Josh has stepped into a multitude of featured roles demonstrating the full range of his talents. Josh is a prized partner, but he is also a commanding presence, offering a counterpart and defining relationships with his partners. I recall his memorable star turn in Chris Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic, his angular attack in William Forsythe’s New Suite, his riveting opening duet of Crystal Pite’s Emergence, and his tender passion in Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven. Josh, like Sarah and Guillaume, turns his focus on teaching. Josh and husband Chris Montoya opened Dance Conservatory Seattle, a school that puts accessibility first. Their school is free of ballet’s entrenched concepts of gender, body type, age, and ability – instead focusing on empowerment, acceptance, and the joys dance offers. We thank these dancers for the joy they have offered us over many years. How comforting to know they will continue to give and inspire.

Peter Boal


Featured photo: Sarah Pasch and PNB Company dancers in David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to My Skin, photo © Lindsay Thomas.

Photos: Guillaume Basso and Abby Jayne DeAngelo in rehearsal, photo © Angela Sterling. Sarah Pasch in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, choreography by George Balanchine © The Balanchine Trust, photo © Angela Sterling.

Joshua Grant and Laura Tisserand in George Balanchine’s Agon, photo © Angela Sterling. Joshua Grant in PNB company class, photo © Lindsay Thomas. Joshua Grant and Maria Chapman in Christopher Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic, photo © Angela Sterling.

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