Seattle Dance Collective Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Noelani Pantastico has
announced she will retire from Pacific Northwest Ballet after an illustrious 25-year
career to join the faculty of the prestigious Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, the
place where she began her professional ballet training. Although moving from
Seattle, she will remain in her leadership role with SDC.
Noelani describes her decision to retire as one full of emotion:
“Leaving this magnificent career is one of the most difficult, heart-wrenching decisions of my life, but I am fortunate to be taking this leap with a clear sense of purpose and overwhelming excitement for what’s to come. I am thrilled for the opportunity to return full circle to my roots and give back to my alma mater - and to the dance world - by sharing my vast learning and experience with CPYB students. I know this will be an enormously rewarding chapter to support the next generation of aspiring artists.”
Noelani first joined PNB in 1997 and has delighted audiences ever since, both here and abroad, with her exquisite technique and unmatched artistry. Her thirst to deepen her contributions to the dance world and explore new possibilities has been a constant guide. Inspired by the provocative choreography of Jean- Christophe Maillot, Noelani moved to Europe in 2008 and spent seven years with Les Ballet de Monte-Carlo before returning to PNB in 2015. Recognizing a need to provide artists more opportunities to collaborate and to give audiences a deeper understanding of the art form, she and fellow principal dancer James Yoichi Moore founded SDC in 2019 - a venture which has been one of the most important personal and professional endeavors of their careers. And now, Noelani will explore yet a new pathway, by becoming a teacher and mentor to talented students poised to soon enter the world of professional dance.
Reflecting on Noelani’s announcement, SDC Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director James Yoichi Moore expressed gratitude and admiration:
“I’m extremely lucky to have had the honor and privilege to dance with one of the premier ballerinas of our time. Noelani’s love of dance and dedication to her career has been a huge inspiration for me and so many others. Working with her both in and out of the studio, I am continually in awe of her profound commitment to whatever challenge she takes on and although I will miss her dancing tremendously, I take comfort in knowing that through this transition she will have a positive impact on the dancers of the future.”
Noelani’s final performances will be in PNB’s upcoming run of Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo et Juliette, a ballet that is close to her heart, having originated the role of Juliette at PNB and then performing it with Maillot’s Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo during her tenure with the company.
For tickets to Romeo et Juliette(February 4-13) visit pnb.org.
To learn more about Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet visit cpyb.org.