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 Post subject: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 6:22 am 
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Program III - Sept. 22, 7:30 pm & Sept. 25, 2:30 pm & 7:30 pm
Preview by Mary Ellen Hunt


Note: in the Saturday matinee, Wheeldon's “Rush”is replaced by Ratmansky's "Le Carnaval des Animaux" (see Program I).

George Balanchine's “Allegro Brillante”

Graceful and courtly, George Balanchine’s “Allegro Brillante” is one of those rare ballets that can show you almost instantaneously whether someone is a good dancer, a great dancer, or a ballerina. Can she mesh groundedness with noblesse? Generosity with technique, par excellence? There will be no doubt when the Cuban-born Lorena Feijoo dances with Vadim Solomakha on the opening night of this program. When Vanessa Zahorian led this ballet over a year ago, she dive-bombed unforgettably secure turn combinations, but was still finding her way with the style. Now, it will be the London audiences who will have the chance to mark her growth in the role.

Natalia Makarova's pas de trois from “Paquita”

Should you have the fortune to see Guennadi Nedviguine in this test of classical nerve, brace yourself for some of the cleanest technique around. Last year he, along with Vanessa Zahorian and Katita Waldo, delivered a detailed classical trio with a brio that sent waves of murmurs through the audience. In the summer performance, corps member Frances Chung took Waldo’s part with a sunny brilliance that left no doubt that she’ll be one to watch for the future. In fact, treats abound in both casts -- the alternate trio features Jaime Garcia Castilla, whose sailing elevation and a sly humour as the God of Love in Mark Morris's "Sylvia" last season delighted fans.

Helgi Tomasson's “7 for Eight”

Set to the music of J.S. Bach, Tomasson’s neo-classical “7 for Eight” puts the dancers through some fiendish paces, with intricate footwork, flashing duets and tidy solos for technical masters of the likes of Joan Boada, Nicolas Blanc, Gonzalo Garcia and Pascal Molat. At the center of this universe of speeding particles, though, is the exquisite duo of Yuan Yuan Tan and Yuri Possokhov, dancing the two mysterious central pas de deux. With a second cast that includes former Royal Ballet School student Nutnaree Pipithsuksunt with Pierre-Francois Vilanoba, aficionados of the company may have to go at least twice.

Christopher Wheeldon's “Rush”

Wheeldon’s love of geometry is written all over “Rush” which is driven by the jazzy music of Bohuslav Martinu’s "Sinfonia La Jolla." The ballet took off with daredevil speed when the affectionately-termed “mommy cast” – featuring the three ballerina moms of the company, Katita Waldo, Kristin Long, and Tina Le Blanc – took the stage over the summer. The pairing of Blanc and LeBlanc, (Nicolas and Tina, respectively) was a fortunate one, bringing the punctuation of wit to the ballet, while Waldo and Damian Smith stretched out into never-ending lines in their dreamy pas de deux.

<small>[ 18 September 2004, 08:33 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 6:42 am 
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Casting is now available for London:

SADLER’S WELLS THEATRE, LONDON
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET PRINCIPAL CASTING

PROGRAM 3
September 22, 25(mat), 25(eve), 2004

PLEASE NOTE ALL CASTING SUBJECT TO CHANGE

*premiere in role

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 7:30 PM—OPENING NIGHT

ALLEGRO BRILLANTE
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Roy Bogas
Lorena Feijoo, Vadim Solomakha

PAUSE

PAQUITA PAS DE TROIS
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Frances Chung, Guennadi Nedviguine, Vanessa Zahorian

INTERMISSION

7 FOR EIGHT
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Michael McGraw
Yuan Yuan Tan, Yuri Possokhov
Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia
Rachel Viselli, Joan Boada
Liz Miner, Nicolas Blanc

INTERMISSION

RUSH
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Julian Jacobson

Tina LeBlanc, Kristin Long
Nicolas Blanc, Pascal Molat
Katita Waldo, Damian Smith

-----------------------------------------------

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2:30 PM

ALLEGRO BRILLANTE
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Roy Bogas
Vanessa Zahorian, Sergio Torrado

PAUSE

PAQUITA PAS DE TROIS
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia Viselli
Frances Chung, Jaime Garcia Castilla, Rachel

INTERMISSION

7 FOR EIGHT
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Michael McGraw

Nutnaree Pipithsuksunt*, Pierre-François Vilanoba*
Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia
Rachel Viselli, Joan Boada
Liz Miner, Nicolas Blanc

INTERMISSION

LE CARNAVAL DES ANIMAUX
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Julian Jacobson, Caroline Palmer

Lion: Ruben Martin
Swan: Muriel Maffre
Elephant: Amanda Schull
Cockerel: Stephen Legate
Hen: Nicole Starbuck
Hens: Megan Low, Joanna Mednick
Horses: James Sofranko, Pablo Piantino
Kangaroos: Erin McNulty, Jaime Garcia Castilla
Turtles: Pauli Magierek, Frances Chung, Brett Bauer, David Arce
Birds: Megan Low, Pauli Magierek, Joanna Mednick, Frances Chung

-----------------------------------------------

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 7:30 PM

ALLEGRO BRILLANTE
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Roy Bogas

Lorena Feijoo, Vadim Solomakha

PAUSE

PAQUITA PAS DE TROIS
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia Zahorian

Frances Chung, Guennadi Nedviguine, Vanessa

INTERMISSION

7 FOR EIGHT
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Michael McGraw

Yuan Yuan Tan, Yuri Possokhov
Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia
Rachel Viselli, Pascal Molat
Liz Miner, Nicolas Blanc

INTERMISSION

RUSH
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Julian Jacobson

Tina LeBlanc, Kristin Long
Nicolas Blanc, Joan Boada*
Katita Waldo, Damian Smith

<small>[ 18 September 2004, 08:42 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2004 5:45 pm 
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Another superb programme, and I will write more, but just to say Mr Nedviguine is not only a superlative dancer, but receives applause in a wonderful manner reminiscent of Nureyev.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2004 9:11 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Quote:
Originally posted by Michael LL:
...Mr Nedviguine is not only a superlative dancer, but receives applause in a wonderful manner reminiscent of Nureyev.
Very interesting you say that. That is almost what Lucy said when she returned to SF from NYC and saw Nedviguine for the first time. She compared him to Misha. Most SFans appreciate him (I've followed his career since before he was a principal dancer) but maybe it takes a professional ballet person or serious balletomane from elsewhere (like New York, London or Paris) to actually understand Guennadi's contribution to the dancing world.

Not to imply the press' lack of respect for the US West Coast, but I have a feeling that if Guennadi were dancing for a London or Paris based company, he might very well be a superstar in the ballet world.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2004 10:08 pm 
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Isn't Nedviguine great? He did a lovely Don Q. last year with Tina LeBlanc -- as you can imagine, the variations were jaw-droppers.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 5:12 am 
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Location: London/Chicago
I had a friend tell me the other day that San Francisco Ballet did not impress him on Monday night. I then had another friend tell me she was not impressed by SFB’s performance in New York a few years ago. Embodiment, what the dancers do, and apprehension of that embodiment, what an audience member sees can and invariably contradict each other. Well I will have to suggest to my friends that perhaps they did not see a program of works of their liking or maybe the dancers were a bit off those nights. What I saw 22 September at Sadler’s Wells was awesome. One can only imagine what the differences were that I saw and what my friends saw but one thing is for sure. Most discussions of SFB remark on the eclectic repertory and the personality and technical achievements of the dancers and indeed these were the most accomplished aspects of this performance. From the precision of Balanchine to the showcase piece of virtuosity in Makarova after Petipa PAS DE TROIS to the neo classical expressions of Tomasson and Wheeldon SFB gave evidence of its extensive body of work. SFB dancers' depth and breadth of technique set a standard of proficiency. Choice of music and design economical and stunning in its ability to narrow the vision or broaden scope to create a landscape of vibrancy defined the richness in aesthetic expression. All this characterizes what it means in 2004 to be a repertory classical ballet company.

Balanchine’s ALLEGRO BRILLIANTE began with the ensemble of couples in blue and immediately recalled similar configurations and approaches to movement and design of other Balanchine ballets. When Lorena Feijoo and Vadim Solomakha entered the first impression was this ballerina seemed rather compact and not endowed with the lushness in moves expected to match the music. This first impression was just a minor lull. Somewhere around one of those beginning piano solos in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Op 75 Feijoo switched gears and navigated between spot-on pirouettes to lush balancés with the arms to match. Feijoo had transcended and added the length with dexterity most associated with Balanchine’s work.

Makarova’s staging of the PAS DE TROIS FROM PAQUITA dating from 1980 has a history dating from 1846. It is this work that gives evidence of the eclectic vision of artistic director Helgi Tomasson. The vision is to choose a repertory supported by a school that provides the technical training necessary to underpin choreography, music and design that span almost two centuries. To have the dancers to perform this repertory is the other challenge. PAS DE TROIS is a soloists’ vehicle to display technical prowess of line, beat and jump meshed with personality. Frances Chung, Guennadi Nedviguine and Vanessa Zahorian were exceptional and representative of SFB’S expertise with the classics.

The second half of the program demonstrated SFB’s expertise in performing the neo classical. Tomasson’s 7 FOR EIGHT presented the neo-classical, illustrating there are yet more inspired interpretations of the often heard and used Bach piano concertos. Handsomely played by Micheal McGraw this performance was simply stunning. This work was about sumptuous details. All the way down to the beautifully tailored “V” sculpted backs of the female dancers’ costumes designed by Sandra Woodall to the lighting design of David Finn this work illustrated its pedigree extended from Balanchine. This work was also an indication of evolution. This work illustrated its 21st century inclinations in the elegance coupled with dramatic extensions of Yuan Yuan Tan to the spatial and musical counterpoint with classical and modern dance hybridity in the duet of Nicolas Blanc and Gonzalo Garcia.

It was this hybridity of classical, modern and minute essences of jazz also noted in Christopher Wheeldon’s RUSH that confirmed the current benchmark in breath and depth for the dancers' technical skill in SFB and in the United States. Credit Tomasson for SFB not just continuing the classical ballet legacy with the presentation of reconstructions and revivals. SFB also enriches its particular repertory of classical ballet by taking informed approaches from “neo” and contemporary innovations. In RUSH Mark Stanley’s vibrant lighting design to offset the scenic and costume design of Jon Morrell’s vibrant orange, maroon, purple, ocean and royal blue costumes for the dancers was an inspiration of visual art for the cyc that countered the dancers’ live visceral sculptures and spatial patterns. It was Balanchine who broke the line of ballet and added the angularity of modernity he was surrounded with in America when he choreographed works like Agon that pushed classical ballet into its neo era. There were some of these approaches in RUSH that being non literal and non narrative hinted at in drama of movement taking place. Bohuslav Martinu music with its classical and bits of jazz marked its hybridity and this hybridity was echoed in the dance. Slight hip shimmies for soloist, modern dance approach to slipping into and rising from the floor, angularity in the arms and a sense of vast landscapes in some of the solo and ensemble work confirmed Wheeldon’s openness and American ness to varied movement styles. This was the palette of choice to create the movement languages of Tomasson’s 7 FOR EIGHT and Wheeldon’s RUSH. The temperament of the dancers was where the drama lay, bringing to line, gesture, and the transition from move to move their participation and contribution in making these works distinctive neo classical ballets.

<small>[ 23 September 2004, 11:43 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 9:54 am 
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Posts: 218
And another wonderful evening. Here are the comments of a couple of people I spoke to right after the performance:

Julie Ackroyd: 'I liked the 2nd 2 pieces best. The dancers have such wonderful speed. This is the first time I have seen this company and I am really impressed.'

Myrna: 'A great evening. Yuan Yuan Tan was amazing in 7 for 8. I also liked the stunning lighting design.'

Sarah: 'Tonight I have seen SFB for the first time and I think the variety of ballets was fabulous. I especially liked the 3rd and 4th pieces.'

<small>[ 23 September 2004, 08:35 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 11:37 am 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Quote:
Originally posted by THEA NERISSA BARNES:
Most discussions of SFB remark on the eclectic repertory and the personality and technical achievements of the dancers and indeed these were the most accomplished aspects of this performance. From the precision of Balanchine to the showcase piece of virtuosity in Makarova after Petipa PAS DE TROIS to the neo classical expressions of Tomasson and Wheeldon SFB gave evidence of its extensive body of work. SFB dancers' depth and breadth of technique set a standard of proficiency. Choice of music and design economical and stunning in its ability to narrow the vision or broaden scope to create a landscape of vibrancy defined the richness in aesthetic expression. All this characterizes what it means in 2004 to be a repertory classical ballet company.
Thanks for that assessment, Thea. Note also that, unlike other artistic directors with a high quality school to draw from like SAB, Paris Opera Ballet School and Royal Ballet School, Helgi Tomasson has had to blend together an eclectic collection of dancers with highly varied training into one company. If you keep in mind that virtually every dancer graduated from a different school, what he has accomplished in unifying the corps de ballet is impressive!


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 3:22 pm 
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Posts: 350
Location: San Francisco
Quote:
Originally posted by Azlan:
Thanks for that assessment, Thea. Note also that, unlike other artistic directors with a high quality school to draw from like SAB, Paris Opera Ballet School and Royal Ballet School, Helgi Tomasson has had to blend together an eclectic collection of dancers with highly varied training into one company. If you keep in mind that virtually every dancer graduated from a different school, what he has accomplished in unifying the corps de ballet is impressive!
There are, though, many students (homegrown and recent SFBS transplants) coming from SFBS and joining the company. The "finishing touches" that the students receive are evident in the corps' presentation. And while there are still many different styles of epaulement and such, I think that this continuity will become more obvious as the company moves forward.

<small>[ 23 September 2004, 05:23 PM: Message edited by: RaHir ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 5:14 pm 
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
True. 40% of the companies dancers received some or all of their training at SFBS.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 5:28 am 
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Posts: 15
Location: London
SFB Programme III

Wednesday night was a second chance to see what wonderful dancers and broad repertory San Francisco Ballet are 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 SFB are 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 Liz 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 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.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 8:26 am 
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I think that the men of SFB are currently stronger, and more individual, than the women. Several of them would look very good in the Macmillan repertoire - I feel they are good actors who don't get much chance to show that particular talent.

It would do Nedviguine good to guest with ABT or RB, so we could see more of him in the full length classics. I think he would make a splendid Solor, for instance.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 5:46 am 
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Quote:
San Francisco Ballet Sadler's Wells, London

by CLEMENT CRISP
the Financial Times

The women of the ensemble are alert, well-mannered, musically sensitive, their dancing ever-responsive to the choreography. The level of the male dancing is high and there is an enthusiasm and an acceptance of every challenge...
more


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 11:23 am 
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Quote:
Originally posted by LMCtech:
True. 40% of the companies dancers received some or all of their training at SFBS.
Yes, that gets truer everyday. It's finally good to see that the school is becoming a reliable feeder to the company, which can only mean this company will get even better.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - Balanchine/Petipa/Tomasson/Wheeldon
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 12:55 pm 
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I'm very happy that Tina LeBlanc -- my favorite woman in the company -- and Guennadi Nedviguine -- one of several favorite men -- have received such favorable notice. I agreed with the comparison to Bruhn (which may have been in another thread). I think he has Bruhn's attention to line and precision, and his ease, but with Russian power.


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