Seattle ballet dancers take to locations in Olympic National Park to film for 'Face of America'
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Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
Lindsi Dec of the Pacific Northwest Ballet dances on the Marymere Falls trail at Lake Crescent during filming for a segment of “Face of America,” a production celebrating America's national parks.
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Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
Producer Joe Bruncsak helps Leta Biasucci of the Pacific Northwest Ballet onto a natural stage on the Marymere Falls trail at Lake Crescent.
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Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
Along the Marymere Falls trail at Lake Crescent, dancer Leta Biasucci of the Pacific Northwest Ballet pauses during filming of a segment for “Face of America,” a production celebrating America’s national parks.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Sighted this spring in the woods: Nymphs, raven-haired, wearing white blouses.

Along the Marymere Falls Trail at Lake Crescent, Lindsi Dec and Leta Biasucci walked, then climbed, then danced ever so subtly atop a fallen tree.

Surrounded by emerald-green ferns and moss, they turned their faces upward to a steady, light rain.

Dec and Biasucci are dancers with the Pacific Northwest Ballet of Seattle, and Marymere Falls — like Rialto Beach and Hurricane Ridge — are the Olympic National Park sites chosen for “Face of America,” a production at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Va.

So it was that the dancers and their entourage — PNB choreographer Andrew Bartee, artistic director Peter Boal, two HD video producers and a support crew from Wolf Trap — ventured into the snow, showers and wind of the Olympic Peninsula last week.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon they filmed four Corps de Ballet dancers — Dec, Biasucci, Chelsea Adomaitis and Elle Macy — moving through the natural setting.

The footage will be part of the Aug. 27 performance at Wolf Trap of “Face of America,” a series celebrating U.S. national parks.

Terrence Jones, president emeritus of the Wolf Trap Foundation, dreamed up this idea some 15 years ago and has since shepherded dance companies into Everglades, Glacier and Mammoth Cave national parks.

“I love both dance and nature. I've loved the parks since I was a kid,” Jones said last Thursday while awaiting the PNB performers' appearance on the Marymere trail.

But “Face of America,” he added, is not a narrative about the history of the national park system.

Instead, Jones said, the dance reflects “how you feel when you're in the park.”

The performers warmed up inside a vehicle parked near the Storm King Ranger Station then walked up the trail to the spot where the cameras and videographers, all shrouded in rain gear, were set up.

When producer Joe Bruncsak took Dec's hand to help her onto the fallen log that would be her stage, she stepped onto it with grace as other crew members joked that she was the one steadying Bruncsak.

Dec then moved in slow motion, her features serene as she brought a hand to her cheek then stretched out her arms and moved them in an arc around her hair.

This isn't big, dramatic dance. Choreographer Bartee integrated the performers into their environment rather than trying to upstage the forest's grandeur.

He knows better, being a Northwesterner from Everett.

The day before, high on Hurricane Ridge, the four women danced in Coach boots — as “it was seriously snowy,” said Boal.

When the phone call came from Wolf Trap asking to commission his dancers, it was a wonderful surprise, he added.

He was hoping, though, that the crew would choose June, not April, for filming.

But Seattle ballet dancers aren't fragile when it comes to weather, are they?

“Some are,” Boal said. “We left them at home. We brought the campers.”

Jones, for his part, is aiming for enchantment. “Face of America” is created to “show people how special the parks are,” he said.

“Our hope is that this will make them want to explore more.”

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 28. 2014 12:05AM
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