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 Post subject: San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 10:41 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 255
Just some brief impressions. I'm sure someone else will write a review with all the techincal terminology correct :cool:
1. Allegro Brillante: Did not quite get into this, but I did like the pas de deux with Zachary & Zahorian (you KNOW I've been waiting to say that!). One of the corps dancers caught my eye, I think at first because she had such a huge smile even from my seat I noticed. Not sure which woman she was, can someone help? Two of the women were dark, one had light brown hair, one was in between. It's the in-between woman I'm thinking of. Lousy descrption but best I can manage!
2. in the middle, with elevation: This was a balet I'd never heard of. At first I thought "no"; the music was discordant and the ballet looked too athletic for my taste. But after a few minutes I was intrigued, then fascinated, then very disappointed it was so short! Great work by Maffre and Villanoba. Definitely the audience favorite. One I'd like to see a second time, although I'm not sure if/when that would happen. I was thinking the (dumb) question "but what is it about"? It seemed to me to be about conflict, I saw reall conflict between the dancers. I'd be interested in hearing others' thoughts.
3. Waltz Project: a fun little ballet. Loved seeing Amanda Schull's "teenybopper" with David Arce's "cool". Julie Diana was herself, beautiful. Catherine Baker looked very sexy in red halter leotard.
4. Paquita: cancelled as it got too cold to dance. Disappointing but nothing to be done; no one can control the weather. The dancers came onstage in costume and applauded the audience, audience applauded back.

Was it just me or did anyone else notice a lot of very very rude people? The entire ballet there was a parade of people back and forth, back and forth. I'm sure it must have been disruptive to the dancers and was VERY disruptive to me. I was seated halfway up the slope between benches and reserved tables so the parade was right in front of me. Part was the fault of volunteers who apparently thought there were breaks when there were not; during "in the middle" and between first and second movements of "Waltz Project" they let a ton of people in, who then paraded back and forth trying to find seats up front! Then some idiot seated behind me was yakking into a cell phone during the first movement of "Waltz Project" giving the person on the other end of the line a play-by-play account! The woman sitting next to me was so fed up she left in the middle and said she was not coming back to Stern Grove. I talked to 2 volunteers who blew me off and a third who said to write to them which I will do as soon as hotmail is back up.

&nbsp

<font size=-2>[Edited by Azlan to clarify title]</font size>

<small>[ 28 July 2003, 06:25 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2003 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Seattle, WA,USA
As a first time SFB and a Sterns Grove virgin, I can say that it is quite an event. There was an audience rudness factor, but I think that it was more than balanced seeing all the little toddlers running around and getting into trouble, which I think is part of the spirit of the event. Its a good change to get out of the rarified atmosphere of the theatre. Also, in regrds to the audience acting appropriately, I will say this, that when the last performance of show was cancelled due to the weather being to cool for the safety of the dancers, the audience actually clapped in support and stood up - somehow I doubt that would happen at a Stones concert. Cheers for the San Fran audience! :)
About the ballet itself, I would agree with all of the above, however I have seen "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated" danced several times quite well, and although I hate to say this definitively, with my very limited knowledge of ballet, I would bet that there may not be more than one or two dancers in the world that can equal Muriel Maffre dancing that piece. Even I could see Paris Opera Ballet technique dripping off of her, and she is really one of the artisitc jewels of the Bay area. As my good friend said - she is a heavy hitter. Wow.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2003
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 8:14 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1451
Location: San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Ballet
Stern Grove Festival: 'Allegro Brillante,' ' In the middle, somewhat elevated,' 'The Waltz Project'
July 26, 2003 -- Sigmund Stern Grove, San Francisco

Dancing outside in the summer has its hazards. In New York last year, a friend reports, Merce Cunningham performed in the rain, their dancers dodging puddles backstage in their bare feet. Another Critical Dance reader wrote me that at Trisha Brown's show at Damrosch Park (also in NY), a police helicopter circled overhead scanning the crowd with spotlights until the dancers had to stop. And in San Francisco, it's always about the fog.

Sigmund Stern Grove, where the San Francisco Ballet gives a highly anticipated free performance every summer, can be burning with sunlight or shrouded in fog, or sometimes both in an hour. Last Sunday though, the fog rolled in overnight and kept the mercury fluctuating at the Grove above and below 60°F, which was where the dancers' union had set the tipping point between show or no show.

One can't blame them at all. Three years ago, the dancers voted to give a dance-what-we-can performance to a grateful crowd. They were in extra layers, we were in extra layers, everyone was freezing, but happy to see dance, and so it was this year.

Happiest of all this year, was getting to see Muriel Maffre rock the Grove once again in an excerpt from William Forsythe's "In the middle, somewhat elevated." Maffre electrified the audience with this pas de deux in 1995 and her interpretation has only gotten edgier and better since then. Partnered by a solid Pierre-François Vilanoba, Maffre took their industrial-themed contention to new heights by bringing the audience into the game. Sharp whacks of the leg from front through seconde, exquisitely phrased little rond de jambes and or off-balance balances would be followed with an unnerving glance out to the audience, as if to say, "Whose side are YOU on?" Vilanoba worked with an elegant groundedness, stalking around her, acting as a both a counterbalance and a motivator of her movements. But with each extension of her knee, or hip thrust off to the side, Maffre filled the spaces he created and solidified her control.

Peter Martins' "The Waltz Project" could only suffer by comparison. Where Forsythe's phrases are filled with anticipation ("Where will she put that foot next?"), Martins' choreography is filled with puzzlement ("What is he trying to do?"). SFB showed only seven out of the eleven waltzes that make up the piece, but I'm willing to bet that only a few people noticed the piece had been cut. As always, Julie Diana Gave a coolly sophisticated reading of her adagio pas de deux with Brett Bauer, and Amanda Schull gave a winning performance as the All-American Girl to David Arce's bored James Dean in "Dejavalse." Catherine Winfield compact technique served her well in a duet with Steve Norman, and Pauli Magierek and Zachary Hench lent a nice playfulness to both the "Red Garnet Waltz" and the "Minute Waltz."

Hench was particularly fine in "Allegro Brillante," which opened the afternoon. Although he and Vanessa Zahorian seemed imperfectly matched -- her hard-edged brilliance just never melded with his lanky noblesse -- it was a pleasant enough outing of the George Balanchine romance. Zahorian is still developing her sense of musicality, and has yet to unravel the quirkiness of Balanchine phrasing, although technically speaking she was on fire, dive-bombing the steps and hitting her combination double-triple pirouettes.

Musicality and phrasing was what I had been anticipating, no, salivating over, with Kristin Long cast as the lead in "Paquita." Long hit some tantalizing turns during the warm up at intermission, but as the dancers voted, and the thermometer was consulted, the temperature continued to drop and the company finally had to drop their closing piece. It was a shame, because it would have been a first look at Long's "Paquita," and I've no doubt it would have been filled with small gems, but perhaps next time.

The company travels to Edinburgh for the festival in August and then will bring two programs, including Yuri Possokhov and Helgi Tomasson's "Don Quixote," to Los Angeles after that.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2003
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 8:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 62
Location: California
Quote:

S.F. Ballet dances exquisitely among trees and fog until Stern Grove declared too cold for tights

Octavio Roca
SF Chronicle
Tuesday, July 29, 2003


Some of the season's most beautiful dancing happened Sunday at the Stern Grove Festival -- but that was just half the story. The other half was canceled.

We may call this summer, but this is San Francisco, and it can get downright cold. So cold that San Francisco Ballet could not finish its free performance at the outdoor festival.
More...


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2003
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2003 7:41 pm 
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Posts: 1451
Location: San Francisco, CA
BTW, Thanks for your notes, crandc. A few of the younger students from my studio were there and they must have been sitting near you, because they said the same things. They mostly missed "In the Middle" because people kept stopping in the middle of the path to watch it, completely blocking those who were sitting there since 8 am.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2003
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 10:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 255
"In the middle" and the first two movements of "Waltz Project" were the most disrupted. I do want to stress most of the audience was great. Unfortunately it only takes a couple hundred jerks to cause problems for 9800 others!
Also, sorry about the truncated and non-proof-read initial post. I thought I had some time at work (confession time) to post, then all he!! broke loose and I had to quickly finish the post.
I have not heard back from Stern Grove or SF Ballet yet, if I do I'll let people know.
For those of you who are dancers, are you aware when members of the audience are wandering around? I imagine it must be a distraction.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2003
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Well actually there was a woman in front of us whom, when fighting for a space, informed a lady that " She did not own the park". For a moment there I thought I would have to thow one of my compnions in there to break up a cat fight! :eek:


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 4:30 pm 
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Wait, Matthew, which one of us were you going to throw??!


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2003
PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 7:05 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA,USA
As strong and fit as you are Mehunt, I was thinking of throwing Azlan in first to try to be a mediator, and if that didn't work, throw Lucy in there to put the hammer down. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2003
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 8:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Why do you need Lucy as a backup...


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