The man behind the conversations - PNB's Doug Fullington

As Pacific Northwest Ballet gears up for its final season under the leadership of artistic directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, PNB lecturer Doug Fullington will moderate a number of public events to let people peep behind the curtains and see the inner workings of a ballet company.

"Conversations with PNB" will fea-ture talks with dancers, choreographers and other artists associated with the production. For the first time, the series will be presented downtown at the Elli-ott Bay Book Company, 101 S. Main St.

Fullington's love of the artform developed in his teens. "I used to check out dance music from the library - I had some weird interests as a kid," admitted Fullington, who founded and directs Seattle's Tudor Choir because of an early love of Renaissance music. When not running Tudor Choir, Fullington acts as a ballet historian at PNB, often providing articles for programs and teaching dance history classes for the school. Last spring, he created PNB's first film festival, which featured documentaries and dance films celebrating the works of Georg Balanchine.

Although he has worked with the company for a number of years, Fullington's title is more recent. "I never used to have a title," joked Fullington, who says that even he has a hard time defining exactly what he does at PNB, "but eventually 'Lecturer' appeared after my name in the program."

Fullington is also a self-taught translator of a now-defunct Russian system for recording dance steps. This system, developed in the 19th century by dancer Vladimir Stepanov (1866-1896), was used for approximately 20 years to record many works in the famous Maryinsky Theatre repertory. After the Russian Revolution, copies of these notations left Russia and ended up at Harvard University. Fullington discovered a book about the Stepanov system and a key to its translation in the University of Washington library. He gradually learned to translate the dots and dashes into steps, turns and leaps. This talent led to the world premiere of a reconstruction of Marius Petipa's "Le Jardin Animé" during last summer's school performances.

His training as a musician, as well as his familiarity with dance, helped Fullington to recreate Petipa's original choreography. Working with Pacific Northwest Ballet School faculty member and former PNB principal dancer Manard Stewart, Fullington would read out the steps recorded as Stewart went through the motions. "It's a lot like sight-reading music," said Full-ington. Stepanov's system turned out to be a remarkably accurate as well. "Almost, every time Manard would stop and say a step didn't feel right," said Fullington, "I'd look at the score and realize I read that step wrong."

Fullington spent this summer working a new program book that chronicles and celebrates Stowell and Russell's work at the company. PNB hopes to have the book done in time for the opening of "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet" this month.

For the lecturer side of his job, Fullington has moderated several "Conversations with PNB" in the past. The series has moved outside the school and into the more prominent venue downtown to draw more people. This is part of the PNB's continuing efforts to connect with their audience, said Fullington.

And not all the questions will be about the art of dance, he added. "Some-one always asks about the business side," said Fullington, who often spends part of his time explaining how particular numbers must be licensed from their creators and how PNB gets permission to perform a certain number.

Fullington will also continue PNB's pre-show tradition of doing a short talk each evening before a performance, including pre-performance lectures for PNB's first ballet of the season, "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet."

For the "Romeo and Juliet" lectures, Fullington expects to spend some of his time talking about the music of Tchaikovsky, which choreographer Sto-well picked for his version of the classic tale of star-crossed lovers. For the "Conversation" at Elliott Bay, Fulling-ton will quiz the "couples" dancing the lead roles about their own interpretations of the famous pair. "Dancing Romeo and Juliet: A Conversation with PNB Dancers" starts at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, at Elliott Bay. For a full schedule of the remaining "Conversations," check

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