Roses sailed through the air at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Season Encore last night, which featured the final company performances from Lucien Postlewaite. The beloved principal dancer, known for the passionate intensity of his performances, has accepted a position with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. Last night, he performed three times (four, if you count an artfully filmed performance of “Cylindrical Shadows”): a mesmerizing tidbit from George Balanchine’s “Prodigal Son,” the shimmering whole of Balanchine’s “Apollo,” and the balcony pas de deux from “Romeo et Juliette,” danced with his beloved friend Kaori Nakamura. The chemistry between the two of them seemed to fill McCaw Hall with perfume; you believed, watching them swoop and twirl and gaze, that they were teenagers drunk with love. It was a beautiful performance, the kind where you feel as if they’re moving as one — followed by an enthusiastic standing ovation and several curtain calls, with Postlewaite alone at the end waving goodbye. In recent years, Season Encore tributes have been given to dancers at or near the end of their ballet careers (Louise Nadeau, Ariana Lallone); it’s nice, though bittersweet, to see someone move on at the height of his powers. Au revoir, Lucien — you’ll be very much missed. He may be back next season for a guest appearance in “Romeo and Juliette”; should be a very hot ticket indeed.
Postlewaite in “Romeo et Juliette,” with Noelani Pantastico — former PNB principal who Postlewaite will be joining at Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. (Photo by Angela Sterling)