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 Post subject: San Francisco Ballet - 2008 Season
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 1:43 pm 
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13 new company members and several promotions for 2008...

San Francisco Ballet Announces Dancer Promotion and New Company Members
for 2008 Repertory Season

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Thursday, May 10, 2007—San Francisco Ballet has announced the promotion of one company member and the addition of thirteen new dancers for the 2008 Repertory Season. James Sofranko has been promoted from corps de ballet member to soloist. Gaetano Amico, Ludmila Campos, Sasha De Sola, and Christopher Mondoux, all apprentices during the 2007 Repertory Season, join the ranks of the corps de ballet. In addition, Maria Kochetkova joins the Company as a principal dancer, Julianne Kepley and Mateo Klemmayer join the Company as soloists, and new San Francisco Ballet corps de ballet members include Clara Blanco (Blanco was previously with the Company from 2001–2006), Charlene Cohen, Damir Emric, Ashley Muangmaithong, Kendall Teague, and Luke Willis. The Company roster now stands at 74 dancers.
All changes effective July 1, 2007.

Promotion
James Sofranko, born in Marion, Indiana, and raised in Cincinnati, joined San Francisco Ballet as a corps de ballet member in 2000. Sofranko trained at institutions such as The Harid Conservatory in Florida, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Houston Ballet Academy. In 2000, Sofranko received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Juilliard School. He danced a number of prominent roles during the 2007 Repertory Season, in works such as Jacques Garnier’s Aunis, Lar Lubovitch’s Elemental Brubeck, Yuri Possokhov’s Firebird, and Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free.

New Company Members
Born in Moscow, Russia, Maria Kochetkova trained at the Bolshoi School and danced with The Royal Ballet and Russian State Ballet prior to joining English National Ballet in 2003. She was promoted to soloist in 2007, and has performed lead roles in a variety of works, including the lead role in Giselle and Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.

Born in Atlanta, Julianne Kepley trained at Atlanta School of Ballet and the School of American Ballet. She danced with Atlanta Ballet for eight years, prior to joining the Joffrey Ballet in 2002. Kepley has performed a variety of works in the Joffrey Ballet’s repertory, including Gerald Arpino’s Italian Suite, George Balanchine’s Apollo and Square Dance, and John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew. Kepley also performed the principal variation from Le Vivandiere pas de six in Robert Altman’s 2003 feature film The Company. Mateo Klemmayer was born in Glekhen, Germany, and trained at Ballet Gymnasium Essen-Werden and Hamburg Ballet School. He has danced with a number of companies, including Boston Ballet and Zurich Ballet, and most recently was engaged as a first artist with Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Gaetano Amico was born in Salem, Oregon and studied at the School of American Ballet, the Kirov Academy of Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet School before being appointed an apprentice last season. Born in Valladolid, Spain, Clara Blanco previously danced with SF Ballet from 2001 to 2006, and rejoins the Company after a one-year engagement with Birmingham Royal Ballet. Ludmila Campos was born in Rio de Janeiro, and trained at Brazil’s Escola de Danças Maria Olenewa, The Harid Conservatory, and the San Francisco Ballet School, prior to being named an apprentice in 2006. Charlene Cohen was born in Aurora, Colorado and trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the School of American Ballet. In 2000, she joined Miami City Ballet as a coryphée, was promoted to the corps de ballet in 2001, and was named soloist in 2007. Born in Winter Park, Florida, Sasha De Sola trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet prior to joining the Company as an apprentice last season. Damir Emric, born in Capljina, Bosnia Herzegovina, most recently danced with Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley. A Bay Area native, Christopher Mondoux was born in Berkeley and participated in the San Francisco Ballet School’s Trainee Program prior to his appointment as an apprentice last year. Ashley Muangmaithong hails from Walnut Creek, California, and trained at Delta Ballet Academy, under Helga Ishikata, and at the San Francisco Ballet School. She participated in the School’s Trainee Program for two years prior to being named as an apprentice with Oregon Ballet Theatre in 2006. Born in Waynesville, North Carolina, Kendall Teague trained at the South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and Humanities prior to joining Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, where he has performed leading roles in a variety of works, including Balanchine’s Theme and Variations and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Luke Willis was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and trained with Marcia Dale Weary at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. For the past three seasons, he danced with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

New Apprentices
Former San Francisco Ballet School students Owen Gaj and Sean Orza will join the Company as apprentices for the 2008 Repertory Season. In this capacity, they will take Company class and perform corps de ballet roles in the Company’s diverse repertory. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Owen Gaj trained at Boston Ballet School, the San Francisco Ballet School, and Princeton Ballet School. He also danced as a member of American Ballet Theatre Studio Company prior to being named as an apprentice. Sean Orza was born in Walnut Creek and received training from the San Francisco Ballet School and the School of American Ballet.

The Company is currently preparing for its upcoming tour to the Reykjavik Arts Festival in Iceland, where they will perform a mixed-repertory program of works by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson. Renewal subscriptions are currently on sale for San Francisco Ballet’s 75th Anniversary Season, January 29 through May 6, at the War Memorial Opera House. For information, call the Ticket Services Office at 415.865.2000, or click here.
* * * *

Promotion/Level
James Sofranko, Soloist

New Company Members/Level
Maria Kochetkova, Principal Dancer
Julianne Kepley, Soloist
Mateo Klemmayer, Soloist
Gaetano Amico, Corps de Ballet
Clara Blanco, Corps de Ballet
Ludmila Campos, Corps de Ballet
Charlene Cohen, Corps de Ballet
Sasha De Sola, Corps de Ballet
Damir Emric , Corps de Ballet
Christopher Mondoux, Corps de Ballet
Ashley Muangmaithong, Corps de Ballet
Kendall Teague, Corps de Ballet
Luke Willis, Corps de Ballet

New Apprentices
Owen Gaj, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company
Sean Orza, San Francisco Ballet School


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 2:52 pm 
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Congratulations to James Sofranko for his well-deserved promotion! When I saw Fancy Free this season, I assumed he'd be the sailor who does the first variation, because of his compact build and his propensity for speedy dancing. To my surprise, he was the lyrical second sailor, and performed the part beautifully. I'd always enjoyed his dancing in the speedy roles, but I hadn't realized that he was so versatile.


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 3:16 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
djb wrote:
Congratulations to James Sofranko for his well-deserved promotion! When I saw Fancy Free this season, I assumed he'd be the sailor who does the first variation, because of his compact build and his propensity for speedy dancing. To my surprise, he was the lyrical second sailor, and performed the part beautifully. I'd always enjoyed his dancing in the speedy roles, but I hadn't realized that he was so versatile.

On a similar note, I was surprised when he performed the Theme from Elementals duet with Elizabeth Miner. I don't think I would have pictured him in a romantic part, but they were wonderful. This was a great season for James and I am so happy - I have been waiting for him to be promoted. Congratulations!!!! My only regret was not being able to go to Muriel's farewell and see them perform their duet from Elite Syncopations.

Welcome back, Clara!!!

The 75th Anniversary Season will definitely be great!!!


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 9:05 pm 
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This sounds exciting! I may have to camp out in SF for this:

Quote:
San Francisco Ballet to Host New Works Festival, Celebrate 75th
Stephen West, Bloomberg

The San Francisco Ballet will mark its 75th anniversary next year with a spring festival of 10 new works by 10 choreographers, a PBS special and a U.S. tour, along with a regular season of programs.

``To celebrate the 75th, I decided I wanted to look forward'' and help produce new works, Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson said today at a news conference at the city's opera house, where the troupe completed its 2007 season last weekend. Tomasson, who has led the company and its ballet school for 20 years, said it's ``critical for me to provide a forum to choreographers for new works.''
more


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 11:28 am 
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Yay! So many names I know so well. Congrats to all the new company members. I look forward to seeing tham all on stage.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 11:43 am 
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From the SF Chronicle. A preview of next year. Sounds pretty exciting.

Quote:

Ballet's big leap forward
10 world premieres, Jerome Robbins tribute will mark troupe's milestone year
Rachel Howard, Chronicle Dance Correspondent

Thursday, May 10, 2007


San Francisco Ballet will crown its 75th anniversary season with a New Works Festival of 10 world premieres in 2008, as well as an international tribute to the company with visits by the New York City Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada and Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, the Ballet announced Wednesday.

The season, which also includes a tribute to Jerome Robbins and the return of the classic story ballet "Giselle," will run Jan. 29 to May 6. San Francisco Ballet will then embark on a four-city national tour in September, including engagements at New York's City Center and Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center.


more...

I love it when they do programs of new works. One of my favorite memories of the last few years was watching the two nights of premieres during the last new works festivals in 2000 or 2001, whenever it was. Very exciting.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 2:53 pm 
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From the Stephen West (Bloomberg) article:

Quote:
The Robbins program features ``Fancy Free,'' ``In the Night,'' and a new production of ``West Side Story Suite.'' Tomasson, who was ``discovered'' in his native Iceland by Robbins and hired by him as a dancer for the New York City Ballet in 1970, said the program was a memorial to his mentor, who died 10 years ago. ``West Side Story Suite,'' with music by Leonard Bernstein, will stretch the troupe in new ways.

``I have fantastic dancers here in the company,'' Tomasson said, ``but did you know they can sing?''

I'm looking forward to this! I just returned from the Alumni weekend at my alma mater, the North Carolina School of the Arts, where I saw the all-school production of West Side Story. I've seen the movie innumerable times, but seeing the show live was a new treat. Have any of you out there seen the suite? Does it include any dialogue, say, to introduce the dances?


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 4:23 pm 
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Greetings
I've seen "West Side Story Suite" several times and there's no real talking, except possibly a few lines before 'America', some yells and single word utterances. The dancers do sing quite a bit, including solos in "America" and "Cool", though there are generally 3 - 5 professional singers either in the pit, just off stage or as non-dancing corps to help fill out the chorus and two of them also sing "One Hand, One Heart" during Maria & Tony's pdd (Tony and Maria are purely dancing roles, except for the very end).

WSSS isn't quite the same as "West Side Story" - Robbins adapted the musical to the ballet/dance stage so whilst the main storyline is the same, the ballet doesn't exactly follow the musical. Most noticeably the ending is upbeat, with the entire cast singing "Somewhere" together. Having all the dancers/characters come together to sing at the end is very poignant and brings a sense of peace and reconciliation, which seems especially relevant in recent years.

A bit of trivia - among the dancers playing (and singing ) Griff have been Nikolaj Hubbe, Damian Woetzel and Ethan Stiefel. Jock Soto was the original Bernardo, a role also played by James Fayette, whose wife Jenifer Ringer is the most recent Anita. Robert LaFosse who played the role in 'Jerome Robbins' Broadway', was the original Tony. The most recent Tony is Benjamin Millepied who one might consider to be Robbins' last protege, having debuted in "Two & Three Part Inventions" when it was created on SAB. Maria, as an all dancing role, has generally been played by a younger dancer in the corps.

Also, West Side Story is set in the neighborhood where Lincoln Center now is located,

There are a few images from WSSS in our foci photo galleries, both in the NYCB foci and also in the musicals foci. You can access the galleries via the link the menu bar at the top of the page.

Kate


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 5:21 pm 
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I didn't read the cast biographies of the NCSA production until after the show. To my surprise, several very good dancers (including the guy who played Riff) were actually in the drama department.


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:02 am 
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This should be interesting. Is Helgi going to make his dancers sing? I hope not.


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:24 am 
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PNB did a piece that required the dancers to sing a couple of seasons ago, and they sang really well, including even some solos.

--Andre


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 1:25 pm 
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If you do WSSS the dancers have to sing; it's part of the audition for the roles.

But you'd be surprised how well the dancers can sing, including the whole cast at the end. I've never seen a performance at NYCB where anyone had trouble with the singing, and that includes foreign-born dancers.

Kate


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 11:28 am 
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I hope they bring in a vocal coach. As a singer (and someone who worked in opera for years) I cannot stand mediocre singing. The comapny has very good integrity and I hope they do it "right".


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 11:29 am 
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Another question. We're the dancers mic'ed in the performance you all saw?


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 1:56 pm 
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There was no sound amplification involved in PNB's "Silver Lining." Doug Fullington (who conducts his own group of professional singers) handled the vocal preparation.


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