Looks like no one else has started a thread so I will jump in. I went to the show Saturday at Yerba Buena Garden. The San Francisco Chronicle had carried a story listing where about 10 students would be going to begin their professional careers. Apparently since the story was run some more students got offers; I was there early and heard them comparing notes. One boy, feeling sentimental, told two girls they would not see each other again. The girls said that they would see each other at some time. But he said this was the last time they would dance together. I did not hear where, if anywhere, he was going, but one girl was headed to South Carolina and the other to Florida.
I found myself wondeing if the program was printed by students. The cover said "Sunday, May 13" although it was Saturday and the entry for Western Symphony referred to First Movement, Second Movement, Fourth Movement ... wait, doesn't #3 belong there?
Enough of that.
The program began with Konservatoriet. I suppose that is a good student program since it has roles for various levels of skill. Frankly, I liked the children best. They were cute, performed their simple steps well, obviously were having a blast and their parents cheered their every move. The male lead also looked very good. His name is Patrick Doe and he is en route to Memphis. I am not technically proficient as many here, but he made no errors that I could see and did not miss a beat when one of his shoes flew off.
Next was Amplitude Goldberg, a new ballet choreographed by Nicolas Blanc and danced by 3 pairs of students from the SF Ballet Trainee Program. Blanc was introduced in the audience and took a bow. A woman sitting by him I think was Yuan Yuan Tan. Blanc left before the program began, maybe he wanted to watch from elsewhere although he had a good view from where he sat. Anyway, the kindest thing I can say is that he is a much better dancer than choreographer. It was explained (the education director of SF Ballet School, whose name I did not catch, acted as MC, essentially providing the background usually given in program notes) that it has no plot but is "a slice of life". I am not sure what slice it was. Much of the choreography looked awkward. That was not the fault of the dancers; it was the steps themselves. In a plotless ballet the theme or mood should be clear but this was not. It was not even about just dancing to the music. I am not sure what it was about. I think the dancers, the most skilled students, deserved a better vehicle.
Western Symphony was by far the best, both in choreography (Balanchine) and in the dancing. Of course, the two go together; good choreography brings out the dancers' talents. Western Symphony is of the same genre as Rodeo, based on tales of the American Old West. But while Rodeo depicts what happens on the ranch, Western Symphony shows the cowboys slicked up and going into town to impress Roadhouse Girls in fluffy skirts (although in those days a "daring" short skirt displayed the woman's ankles). Patrick Doe returned, even stronger, in the first movement, squiring a graceful, but slightly cooked, Claire Stallman (she needs to remember what happens to fair skinned dancers in outdoor shows!), backed by a strong corps of cowboys and fluffy-skirted girls. The second movement was even better; Kevin Yee-Chan (who will be joining Smuin Ballet) was surrounded by a group of adoring, diminutive women, but had eyes only for Suzy Spaulding. He pursued her with elegant grace, until she danced away, leaving him to shrug and return to the four adoring women. But the star of the piece, and the afternoon, was Diego Cruz Alvarez in the 3rd movement and finale (with his partner, Kelsey Hellebuyck, in a wild hat). Strutting across the stage, waving at the audience, he displayed not only solid technique but good looks, high energy, a constant beaming smile and the ability to project personality that really cannot be taught. Diego will be an SFB apprentice next year and will no doubt spend a year or two in the back row of the corps for the good of his soul, but look for him in future. He reminded me of Gonzalo Garcia in Garcia's corps days. In fact, he already seems to have a following of class girls who yelled "Go Diego" repeatedly. The finale, featuring the 3 lead couples joined by a fourth, was a high energy supercharged dance that pefectly showed the energetic students. This time, not just the parents cheered.
Last edited by crandc on Thu May 18, 2006 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.