All Wheeldon

Pacific Northwest Ballet has opened its season with a mixed bill that might not seem that mixed—four works all by Christopher Wheeldon. In some single-choreographer programs, you get the feeling the artist has one point to make, and makes it over and over again; while other artists are all over the map, still searching for their personal style. Wheeldon is placed nicely in the middle, with a substantial technical background underpinning a wide-ranging curiosity about dancing of all sorts. Uniting these four works is Wheeldon’s mastery of the classical vocabulary; even if they’re not made exclusively of such vintage steps, they’re rooted in the ballet lexicon. Thus, in the After the Rain duet, arguably the least “ballet”-like work here, classroom skills anchor the swaying elasticity. A textbook leg extension is canted to the side (as if the dancer is a statue about to topple), while gently floating hands soften a classical arm gesture. On opening weekend, both duet couples evoked a sense of calm after great trials. SANDRA KURTZ

Fri., Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Sept. 24, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 2, 1 p.m., 2011

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