CriticalDance Forum

San Francisco Bay Area 2006
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Author:  LMCtech [ Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:49 pm ]
Post subject:  San Francisco Bay Area 2006

From the Contra Costa Times.

This 'Nutcracker' sure to impress

AN EXCITING production of a holiday classic will light up the Village Theatre stage and promise to leave visions of sugarplums dancing even in Scrooge's head this season.

"Impressions of the Nutcracker," presented by the San Ramon Valley Dance Academy, is back for its 22nd year with new costumes, new sets, new choreography and new surprises all along Clara's journey through the "Land Of The Sweets."

Husband-and-wife team Ed and Gayle Farley of San Ramon, while new as directors of the production, are familiar faces locally, having starred in the leading roles of Sugar Plum, Herr Drosselmeyer and Spanish Chocolate as well as choreographing and designing costumes for about 18 of the 22 productions.


Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:26 pm ]
Post subject: 

Guidi revives 'Nutcracker' for fellow believers
By Laura Casey

As the Oakland Ballet's celebrated founder Ronn Guidi sips from his extra-hot latte in Montclair's Egg Shop, a man with graying hair comes up to pat him on the shoulder and welcome him back into the local spotlight.

"We need you, Ronn," the man says to Guidi, who is noticeably shy of the attention.

As Guidi tells the story about why he decided to bring his "Nutcracker" back to Oakland's Paramount Theatre, Dec. 22 to 24, the scene at the Egg Shop does not seem so unusual. People do this to him all the time.


Author:  RaHir [ Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:00 am ]
Post subject: 


S.F. Ballet enlightens Clara's journey
Rachel Howard
San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday, December 16, 2006

Everyone loves unwrapping shiny new things at Christmastime, but the true test of a "Nutcracker" is how it ages. San Francisco Ballet's $3.5 million production looked dazzling when it premiered two years ago. It looked even better Thursday, when the company gave it an opening-night performance full of spirit and warmth.


Author:  bcx [ Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:07 am ]
Post subject: 

I saw a number of casts of SFB's Nutcracker this year; by the time December rolls around I've so missed seeing the company that I'm happy to go to Nutcracker frequently. Every performance I saw was completely sold out, and the response of the audience was enthusiastic. If nothing else, SFB is introducing tens of thousands of people (many of them children and young people) to ballet through its Nutcracker. The company put on two performances a day, six days a week for the month of December--30 sold-out performances in an opera house that seats about 3,000.

In terms of the performances I saw: Tina LeBlanc is at the height of her power as one of the company's prima ballerinas: her movements are strong and beautiful, and she makes them look absolutely effortless because they seem to flow from within her. Tiit Helimets is a partner who softens and warms Yuan Yuan Tan's dancing in a way no other partner seems to; it's just what her extraordinary but often distant technique seems to need. Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun is rapidly becoming an absolute star of the company--she is simply radiant in her on-stage presence, and supple and sensual in her movements. Vanessa Zahorian surprised me with her expressiveness and acting ability (Sarah Van Patten's specialty); and Elana Altman's strength and elegance are becoming more and more evident and enjoyable to watch.

Helgi's Nutcracker is not a great Nutcracker; but it does what his choreography often does: it showcases his dancers. I think SFB is an enormously attractive company, but I sometimes wonder if all the talk in the last few years comparing SFB to great historical, international companies is actually helpful. What if SFB is simply a great regional company, with occasional flashes of word-class brilliance? That is increasingly how I find myself thinking about them. This season's Nutcracker confirmed me in that view. And it also whetted my appetite for the demanding and promising repertory season that will begin next month (and will most likely not play to sold-out houses).

Author:  crandc [ Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:28 pm ]
Post subject: 

I don't want to give a play by play since it's been done other years and the ballet has not changed. I do agree that it showcases the company dancers; in that way it is somewhat similar to Stern Grove; you see a little of a lot of people instead of a lot of a few (not sure if the sentence quite makes sense).

So just a few comments: I agree on Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun. This is the 2nd consecutive year she danced the Arabian in the performance I attended and it's getting hard to think of any other woman in that role. Kristin Long is fast becoming a favorite of mine; she danced the Grand PPD in the performance I saw and she is a consummate professional who seems incapable of NOT giving a great performance. I really wish the Dance of the Flowers choreography could be tweaked; it is some of the weakest and not worthy of some of the best music (IMHO) in the ballet, not to mention the regal Muriel Maffre.

Oh yes, one final note (this post is not in any consecutive order), one of the women in the French (not sure who, sorry) put a little extra sass in her performance!

December 26 afternoon is usually not crowded but this was packed. If nothing else it will help put the company in the black. And once again credit to the very fine and very professional ushers and other SFB staff.

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