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San Francisco Ballet
Kicks Off 2009 Season

2009 Opening Gala: 'Russian Treasures'
by Catherine Pawlick -- January 21, 2008, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, California

As tuxedos and evening gowns, diamonds and furs filtered into the War Memorial Opera House on Wednesday night, it was clear this wasn’t just any night at the ballet. On the heels of last year’s milestone celebration, the gala performance that introduced San Francisco Ballet’s 76th season this week began as the who’s who of San Francisco came dressed in their best to watch not only the ballet, but the other guests of the evening.

Program 1: 'Prism,' 'Diving into the Lilacs,' 'The Four Temperaments'
by Becca Hirschman -- January 27, 2009, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco

The city may be experiencing a slight chill, but last night, San Francisco Ballet opened Program 1 with sizzling pizzazz. There was nary a tutu in sight, but the dancers onstage displayed classic technique combined with a refreshing sincerity, providing the perfect warmth to melt any cold winter’s night.

Program 2: 'in the middle, somewhat elevated,' 'Naked,' 'Ibsen's House'
by Becca Hirschman -- February 3, 2009, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco

San Francisco Ballet’s initial program may show off its dancers’ liquid limbs, but Program 2 displays their steely attack and strength.

Forums Flashes
Direct from the CD forum...

Royal Danish Ballet in Barcelona
by CarolinaM

I enjoyed the show very much. Although the program was not what I wanted most to see and that this so great difference in styles seemed a bit odd, one could really appreciate how a company who is preserving the tradition of one of the top romantic choreographers is also able to dance the most impressive contemporary pieces with great command.

To read more, click here

English National Ballet's
'Alice in Wonderland' in Hong Kong

by David Mead

English National Ballet’s production of “Alice”, first seen in 1995, certainly brings Lewis Carroll’s characters to life. They are all here, the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Mock Turtle, Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts, and many more, brought to life through Derek Deane’s choreography, Paul Kieve’s illusions, and Sue Blaine’s outstanding costumes based on the Tenniel pictures in the original book.

To read more, click here


Silja Schandorff: Danish Prima Ballerina
Interview by Gunild Pak Symes
"Yes, I always need to come back with fresh eyes and alter things – also, because you change, yourself. So, you are a different person. You have experienced different things in your life. So, I want to bring that to the stage."

DVD Review: San Francisco Ballet's 'Nutcracker'
Reviewed by Leland Windreich
The San Francisco Ballet is not only the oldest ballet company in North America, but it was the first to produce a full-length production of "The Nutcracker" in the West. The year was 1944, and director Willam Christensen and a company of unpaid local dancers and ballet students introduced a version which would ultimately be emulated by hundreds of companies, both modest and mature, to create a production in their community as a seasonal attraction.


American Ballet Theatre - 'Allegro Brillante,' 'Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux,' 'Pillar of Fire' and 'Brief Fling'
by Carmel Morgan -- February 18, 2009 -- The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Opera House, Washington, DC
The American Ballet Theatre (“ABT”) presented an extremely diverse mixed repertoire program in Washington, DC, including works by Balanchine, Tudor, and Tharp. The dancers likewise showed distinct personalities. The wide range of choreography and styles resulted in an interesting amalgamation of talent and emotion.

Pacific Northwest Ballet's 'Jewels'
by Dean Speer -- January 31, 2009, Seattle, Washington
Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of “Jewels” is certainly one of the glories of its current season. Grand ballet at its finest. And the dancers were fortunate enough to have not one but two original cast members coach its dancers for the opening ballet, “Emeralds” – the effervescent Violette Verdy and the tall and elegant Mimi Paul.

Washington Ballet's 'Highland Fling''
by Carmel Morgan -- February 12, 2009, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC
In a program titled “Highland Fling,” perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day romance, the Washington Ballet premiered one classical and one contemporary ballet, each with either Scottish or Irish flair – August Bournonville’s “La Sylphide” and Lila York’s “Celts.” The addition of a handful of guest artists, in particular American Ballet Theatre’s David Hallberg and Joel Prouty who has danced with Boston Ballet, raised the caliber of the Washington Ballet’s performance. Indeed, “Highland Fling” left everyone in high spirits.

Eugene Ballet's 'Swan Lake'
by Dean Speer -- February 14 , 2009, Eugene, Oregon
One of ballet’s most formidable con artists is Odile, the Black Swan of Act III “Swan Lake” who mesmerizes hapless Prince Siegfried into believing she is actually the pure and innocent Odette with whom this noble has already pledged his love. The actual mechanics of this spell are the 32 fouettés that dazzle our hero during their pas de deux. Of course, this successful deception is only discovered after he swears eternal love to her, thus breaking his vow to Odette.

Another Balanchine: David Gordon's 'Trying Times'
by Mark Franko -- December 11-20, 2008, Dance Theater Workshop, New York City
We go to the theatre wanting to know why David Gordon is interested in Balanchine. Not just in Balanchine, but in his breakthrough work “Apollo”, premiered in 1928 but still in the repertory of the New York City Ballet. “Apollon musagète”, as it was originally called, was the ballet through which Balanchine understood, as he recounted it, that dance should not exceed what the music tells us; that the fate of dance as expression hangs in the balance of music (in this case, the Stravinsky score was instructive to him), and that a certain reserve is both desirable and necessary for good choreographic composition.

Japan Dance Now
by Becca Hirschman -- January 29, 2009, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California

The Mariinsky Ballet - 'Don Quixote'
by Carmel Morgan -- January 15, 2009, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Opera House, Washington, DC

Check back weekly for updates

editors' choice

· Vancouver International Dance Festival, March 3-April 4, 2009
March 3-April 4, 2009 -- Various venues, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
The Vancouver International Dance Festival Society and Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad present a diverse roster of local, national and international dance artists.

· Tampere Dance Current Contemporary Dance Festival
April 21-26, 2009 -- Finland
Dance Current will present the most interesting works of the Finnish contemporary dance scene from both established and up-and-coming choreographers and dance artists.



For ballet-dance magazine

Executive Editor
Kate Snedeker

Focus Editor
Elizabeth McPherson

Executive Editor 2003-2005
Mary Ellen Hunt

Senior and Supervising Editors
Lori Ibay, Holly Messitt

Associate Editors
Dean Speer, Francis Timlin, Lisa Claybaugh, Azlan Ezaddin

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