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San Francisco Ballet - ‘Allegro Brillante’, ‘Paquita’ Pas de trois, ‘7 for Eight’, ‘Rush’

by Rosie Waters

September 22, 2004 – Sadler’s Wells, London

Wednesday night [September 22] was a second chance to see what wonderful dancers and broad repertory San Francisco Ballet is lucky enough to have. They really are a fabulous company and it’s refreshing to see such strong dancers, in personality as well as technique, bringing such fresh repertory to London.

The opener was a lovely performance of Balanchine’s “Allegro Brilliante.” An ideal fizzing curtain raiser, this was danced strongly by Vadim Solomakha and the corps de ballet. Lorena Feijoo was mesmerising with her sultry performance and luxuriant movement and this performance showed how at home the company is with Balanchine.

Natalia Makarova’s staging of Petipa’s “Paquita” Pas de Trois was a frilly costumed showpiece. Guennadi Nedviguine was stunning in this: a real virtuoso without being flashy. Frances Chung and Vanessa Zahorian danced strongly alongside him with wit and precision.

Helgi Tomasson’s “7 for Eight” to Bach was the highlight of the evening for me. This is a very satisfying pure dance work, put together with real craft. I loved Sarah Woodall’s costumes, with the men dressed simply in black t-shirts and trousers and the women wearing very chic little black dresses (I want one…). The ballet opens with a hypnotising opening pas de deux for Yuan Yuan Tan and Yuri Possokhov. Danced almost entirely on the spot it gives Tan another opportunity to show off her amazing legs and extraordinary presence on stage.

Also worth a special mention was Joan Boada in his solo, excitingly danced, and Boada again in his pas de trios with Elizabeth Miner (who I really liked in everything she danced in both programmes I’ve seen) and Rachel Viselli, where the dancers’ infectious enthusiasm really came out.

The evening finished with Christopher Wheeldon’s “Rush” which I enjoyed at the time but it failed to leave a lasting impression on me. This ballet felt more emotional to me than the other Wheeldon pieces I’ve seen, with Katita Waldo in particular infusing the main pas de deux with real feeling. This is a ballet that’s easy on the eye and enjoyable to watch but I found it ultimately unfulfilling.

Edited by Jeff.

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