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Category: Ballet

1917 RUSSIAN REVOLT: IN BALLET

1917 RUSSIAN REVOLT: IN BALLET

The San Francisco Ballet world premiere “Optimistic Tragedy” is a story ballet, but it can’t decide if it will tell a story or just put on a stunning exhibition of male dancers. Yuri Possokhov created a large-scale half-hour work with silent film (much of it from Eisenstein’s “Potemkin”) and videos of crashing surf to portray, not just the launch of the 1917 Russian Revolution in Odessa, but also revolutions in general. To achieve this, line after line of restive Russian…

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A PRICELESS SEGMENT AMIDST A NIGHT OF BALLET

A PRICELESS SEGMENT AMIDST A NIGHT OF BALLET

A jewel of a ballet segment emerged in the middle of a premiere, within the middle of a San Francisco Ballet program (No. 1). The new work is by the Czech choreographer Jiri Bubenicek, ”Fragile Vessels,” using the beloved Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto music. The slow movement I could see becoming a popular excerpt on its own, with just three dancers emerging from a tangle on the floor. The leading lady (the fast-rising principal Dores André) dances with one, then…

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SMUIN’S DANCES LIVE ON

SMUIN’S DANCES LIVE ON

His ‘Stabat Mater’ Eloquently Marks the 9/11 Anniversary By Paul Hertelendy  artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance  Week of Sept. 25-Oct. 2 , 2016 Vol. 19, No. 4 WALNUT CREEK, CA—It never fails–election year brings out inconsistencies galore. For instance, the Smuin Ballet, a Bay Area staple for more than 20 years, has now renamed itself the Smuin Contemporary American Ballet. And the first work on its fall season is choreographed by——an Australian, Stanton…

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SMUIN BALLET: PREDICTABLY ATTRACTIVE

SMUIN BALLET: PREDICTABLY ATTRACTIVE

But Are These Modern Ballets Mired In the Past? By Karl Toepfer artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area dance Weeks starting May 15, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 71 The San Francisco Ballet is such a powerful cultural presence in the Bay Area and in the world that other local ballet companies must struggle mightily to achieve a sustaining level of recognition from audiences, donors, and arts councils. Local companies must show what ballet can do with much…

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OLD-RUSSIAN TRAGEDY AT S.F. BALLET

OLD-RUSSIAN TRAGEDY AT S.F. BALLET

‘Onegin’ in Dazzling Return Trip By Paul Hertelendy artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance Week of May 1-8, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 66 The brilliant evening-length “Onegin” is back at the S.F. Ballet, chockful of elevated drama, dancing, and the elegant old-Russian milieu. You can nod toward Pushkin for the plot, and to Tchaikovsky for the (unfamiliar) music, but ultimately it comes down to the genius of the choreography by the late John Cranko…

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INNOVATIONS AT OAKLAND BALLET

INNOVATIONS AT OAKLAND BALLET

But Where Did They Forget the Toe Shoes? HAYWARD—-Give the plucky Oakland Ballet an A for innovation, and something lower for execution. In years of ballet-going, you are very unlikely to witness what this chamber-ballet troupe did on its most recent program: Dance a whole evening to live vocal music. No rhythm section, no beat, no percussion, no instrumentalists at all. You are also unlikely to see a non-balletic ballet evening like Oakland’s: A whole evening without a single dancer…

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START WITH TIARAS, TUTUS

START WITH TIARAS, TUTUS

And the Ballet Crowd Will Go Wild Two modern pieces, a world premiere that roused the crowd, and a throwback to the glories of St. Petersburg studded the S.F. Ballet’s latest program April 7 at the Opera House. However you may relish the new pieces, I don’t think you can dismiss recalling old St. Petersburg and the 19th-century Mariinsky Theatre, though you had to be troubled here by immense waves of applause at the first up-curtain on merely viewing the…

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S.F. BALLET’S ARCTIC ‘SWAN LAKE’

S.F. BALLET’S ARCTIC ‘SWAN LAKE’

If you’re looking for sheer technical perfection, you cannot excel or exceed the newly revamped version of the Helgi Tomasson “Swan Lake” that opened at the S.F. Ballet. From that first ingratiating flow of 30 swans in an arrow-straight line (opening the so-called White Act) to the lovers ultimately hurling themselves lakeward in a Russian Liebestod, this is the most romantic story ballet of them all. In between, the lines of swans were as letter-perfect as the cadet drill teams…

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A DANCE-TILL-YOU-DROP PREMIERE

A DANCE-TILL-YOU-DROP PREMIERE

By D. Rane Danubian artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music and dance Week of Jan. 29-Feb. 5, 2016 Vol. 18, No. 42 The new Forsythe ballet is like a 1,800-second group max-out-workout regimen at the gym, to see which dancer would drop first. No one did, happily. Only that at the end I left my Row N seat feeling totally exhausted. Modernist William Forsythe, an expat who has enjoyed a huge career in Europe, is presenting…

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HOT S.F. BALLET PREMIERE BY SCARLETT

HOT S.F. BALLET PREMIERE BY SCARLETT

‘Fearful Symmetries,’ with J. Adams score A ho-hum S.F. Ballet night burst into flame figuratively with a world premiere created by a man last seen in the low-profile corps de ballet. The Opera House crowd stood spontaneously to applaud and cheer choreographer Liam Scarlett’s “Fearful Symmetries,” a high-energy pulse-quickening modern ballet. Doing his second work for the SFB, Scarlett shares the current bill with Balanchine and Mark Morris—-pretty good company!! The flamboyant, fast-flying piece for 16 is sexy and contemporary,…

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