Another Principal Departs PNB
When Lucien Postlewaite announced last month that he would be leaving Pacific Northwest Ballet at the end of the 2011–2012 season, the principal dancer appeared to be following in the footsteps of his husband, Olivier Wevers, the principal dancer who left PNB last year to focus on his own company, Whim W’Him. But Postlewaite’s departure to join France’s Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo was in the works long before Wevers bid PNB adieu.
In 2008, the French company’s artistic director, Jean-Christophe Maillot, helped stage Romeo and Juliet for PNB. Postlewaite says he worked closely with Maillot while preparing for his titular role, and eventually travelled to France, intent on joining the company. When Whim W’Him took off, Postlewaite’s plans were put on hold.
“It’s always been something in the back of my head,” Postlewaite says between rehearsals for Apollo & Carmina, the final production of his nine years at PNB. “Artistically and personally in my life I’ve reached a place I’ve always wanted to be. It feels strange to be upsetting that, but I feel this is the right step for my career.”
Though Wevers will stay in Seattle and continue in his role as artistic director of Whim W’Him, he says he fully supports his husband’s decision.
Postlewaite’s departure will be a huge loss for the Seattle dance community. He was the recipient of a prestigious Princess Grace Award in 2008, and has leapt across the stage at McCaw Hall as many of ballet’s great princes. Postlewaite’s technique combines athletic strength with grace, but it was the artistic soul he infused each of his roles with that made him shine onstage. For many at McCaw Hall, he embodied the magic of ballet.
“I’ve grown up with this company,” he said, “and people have watched me grow as a dancer. I’ve really loved getting to know my audience and that’s one thing I will really miss, but I’m looking forward to growing as a dancer and finding myself on this journey.”
Photo by Angela Sterling.