First impressions.<P>Well, a mixed evening at Oakland Ballet. I was really looking forward to seeing Fokine's "Les Sylphides" but...<P>I think it commendable for Oakland Ballet to perform classic, non-Balanchine works. However, I kept thinking how I would love to see a performance of this ballet done with more finesse. There also seemed to be too many members in the company who just plain weren't good enough for a work like this, to put it bluntly. In a ballet like "Les Sylphides" where the costumes focus attention on the feet, it was almost unbearable to watch if you are a ballet afficionado (an exception being Erin Yarbrough). The Oakland audience seemed to lap it all up though.<P>However, the company looked great in the two contemporary works: Val Caniparoli's "Bow Out," a jazzy ballet with lots of arches and curves that reminded me a little of Paul Taylor's "Cloven Kingdom" and Caniparoli's own "Slow" for SFB; and Robert Moses' "Union Fraternal," danced to a commissioned Caribbean score by John Santos. Again, the audience seemed to enjoy the Latin flavor and, admittedly, there were moments of brilliant athletic partnering but I found the work longish and the music a little disappointing. I suspect this work would look much better on the choreographer's own company, Robert Moses 'Kin.<P>But then again, this is just my humble opinion and after watching a dozen dance performances in the last couple weeks or so, who's to say I'm not turning into a bitter critic?
<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited November 11, 2000).]