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San Francisco Ballet

'Ballo Della Regina', 'Concerto Grosso', 'Study in Motion', 'The Four Temperaments'

by Odile GB

September 21, 2004 -- Sadler's Wells, London

San Francisco Ballet's second programme on offer once again showed off the company's abilities with a mixed bag of old and new ballets. Balanchine's "Ballo Della Regina" set to ballet music from Guiseppe Verdi's opera "Don Carlos" has the delightful breeziness of a sunny summer afternoon. This work for an all female corps de ballet and a principal couple mixes great, geometrical ensemble sections with solo variations and pas de deux. Vanessa Zahorian and Gonzalo Garcia were charming as the lead couple and executed the required fast footwork with ease. I found myself especially spellbound by Garcia's seemingly weightless execution of his variation.

"Concerto Grosso" choreographed by Helgi Tomasson to a concert by Geminiani treated us to even more impressive male dancing. The five soloists led by Pascal Molat show a whole range of powerful virtuoso steps which strangely both contrast and complement the sombre court dancing like score.

Principal Yuri Possokhov's latest work, "Study in Motion", consists of a serious of pas de deux for four couples. The men in simple black trousers and tops and the girls in flowing dresses are placed in front of a back drop of flowing white curtains. In my opinion Possokhov does a good job at bringing out the unique individual characters of the cast and exploiting their unique gifts. For example Yuan Yuan Tan's extreme flexibility is used to great effect without coming across as a show off trick. It is just part of her and seamlessly blends into her movements.

The evening closed with Balanchine's masterpiece, "The Four Temperaments". Although this work was created 58 years ago it posseses a timeless freshness and is still as powerful as it was all those years ago. San Francisco Ballet is clearly very at home in the Balanchine repertoire and the fine performances tonight were too many to count. I was especially impressed with Yuri Possokhov as Phlegmatic and Muriel Maffre as Choleric. New soloist Nutnaree Pipithsuksunt, who just graduated from the Royal Ballet School, looked good in the 3rd theme and I think is definitely one to watch. Who knows in what roles we might get to see her during SFB's next London season.

Edited by Jeff

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