NY culture visits Wenatchee

Ailey II
The Wenatchee World

By Rick Steigmeyer

Tuesday night's performance by the Alvin Ailey II dance troupe at the Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee was emotionally moving, dance-in-your-seat fun and intellectually challenging. It was the best show I've seen at the PAC, and I'm not just saying that because I could sit in my theater seat watching a New York caliber performance with a glass of local wine in my hand.

Intellectually stimulating, yes, but darn awesome as well to see a dozen dancers who have dedicated their lives to honing every muscle in their beautiful bodies to perform intoxicating choreography learned at one of world's best dance schools. To think, a New York dance company here in Wenatchee. These were the company's junior performers, but excellent.

The dancers performed three separate productions that showed a whole range of movement in ballet, modern and hip hop dance forms. Jessica Kinsey, PAC executive director, said the center was very lucky to snag the famed dance group on their national tour. Attendance was very good and appreciative so she hopes similar shows will be in the center's future.

The near-capacity audiences may have been left speechless, but not drinkless. This is a wine column, after all, so I feel required to mention some nice changes at PAC. Wine and beer sales are now allowed at all PAC performances since the center obtained its liquor license last summer. Liquor isn't sold at children's shows or at performers' request, , said Sue Brodley, PAC office manager.

What's newer yet, is that drinks are allowed in the performance hall and not just in the foyer during intermissions. I actually didn't imbibe Tuesday, but many of the people around me watched the show while sipping Ryan Patrick and Stemilt Creek wines or bottled beer. Whether the drinks added to the experience or not, it was a very relaxed group that seemed more awestruck than tipsy by the end of the show.

"We're trying to create a full theater experience," said Brodley. "We're still testing it. So far, there's been no disasters."

Kinsey added that a lot of theaters are trying the idea out to create a more social and friendly atmosphere. Local wines are served in trying to promote the valley's wine industry, she said.

"It's something new and it's certainly helped us with our concessions," Kinsey said.