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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:32 pm 
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Victoria Looseleaf reviews Program B from Wednesday, November 12, 2008 in the Los Angeles Times:

LA Times


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:38 pm 
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Cross posted from BA:

I saw both Saturday programs yesterday, and felt fortunate that the fires didn't affect my plans. It was odd to go out at intermission and see smoke turn the sky gray-orange.

Anyway, for the program itself, I was disappointed. The dancers are beautiful (OMG Nutnaree's feet!), but the choreography didn't live up to them. Short, probably unfair impressions:

Helgi's 5th season: cheesy, insipid music (by Karl Jenkins of diamond music fame ie. Palladio) with mechanically soulless movement. Totally forgettable, except for a nice pas in the middle for Katita and Davit.

Morris's Joyride: loved the Adams score, and Pascal Molat had a scorching solo as the guy in the short gold unitard, and clever and occasionally musical choreography, but it didn't hang together, and seemed entirely pointless.

Elo's Double Evil: goofy piece with the guys doing commercial jazz dance in jazz outfits, and the girls in classical tutus occasionally doing jazz isolations along with ballet. It reminds me of expensive restaurants trying to spiff up comfort foods, like high-end mac-n-cheese. Elo's piece looked like expensive competition dance.

Possokhov's Fusion: it's like a modern version of those jingoistic czarist ballets about the far east with stereotypes that appeal to the contemporaneous views (eg. La Bayadere). There was a really nice pas, and the lighting and set design were beautiful and worked well together, but his fusion of the dervish dancers with contemporary ballet didn't work, and felt forced at times. For example, at the end, the ballet dancers adopt the dervish vocab (basically jazz torso isolations), and that felt trite since there was no buildup to it.

Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour: clever, beautiful, soulless. He has this trick of showing us his cleverest move right at the end as the curtains come down or the lights go dark, making me wish he'd started with that trick, and expanded on it. The loden green couple's pas that ended in the woman being manipulated as a kite was breathtaking, but isolated as a trick. He has a lot of talent, but doesn't seem to have anything to say.

Balanchine's 4Ts: it was remarkable watching this last, as none of the preceding pieces had advanced the art beyond (or even approached) this 62-year old piece. However, I didn't like SFB's dancing of it: too legato, smooth, and lacking in personality or a point-of-view. Everything was weighted the same. In many ways I preferred LA Ballet's performance of it, even if it was done with more modest technical means, which had more dirt, more roughness, and more physicality.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:04 pm 
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Andre, your mac&cheese analogy was perfect. Couldn't agree more. And I'm ROTFL.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:14 pm 
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San Francisco Ballet will present two programs at Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, beginning tonight (Tuesday, November 25, 2008) with a mixed repertory program ("Four Temperaments," "Joyride," "Within the Golden Hour"), and continuing with five performances of Helgi Tomasson's "Giselle." Jean Battey Lewis previews the company's performances in the Washington Times:

Washington Times


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:58 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
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The San Francisco Treats: Ballet Rich in Rare Delicacies
By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 27, 2008; Page C01

Is San Francisco now ballet's new boomtown? This is where you'll find the nation's oldest ballet company, the San Francisco Ballet, which last April marked its 75th anniversary with a New Works Festival that produced 10 world premieres. If solid gold was conspicuously absent from that affair, the effort yielded a handful of interesting works, more than can be said for the ballet output of any other city in any recent season.

Lucky for us, an appearance at the Kennedy Center is also part of this company's birthday celebrations. Armed with two of the best of its festival premieres -- one by Mark Morris, the other by Christopher Wheeldon -- the troupe on Tuesday night gave one of those rare performances that starts strong, continues to build and ends in heady gobs of Chantilly cream and Cointreau.

Delicious, sophisticated and very satisfying stuff, indeed. (The company's stay in town continues tomorrow through Sunday, when it performs "Giselle." )

The troupe opened the program with a classic: a polished account of George Balanchine's "The Four Temperaments." It's no surprise the dancers shone in this work. Former New York City Ballet principal Helgi Tomasson has led the company for nearly a quarter century; he was a reliable and courteous Balanchine dancer, and he is a serious and tasteful director. His dancers have a uniform appearance: linear and lifted up in the ribs. They show us the classical vocabulary stretched to the extreme, as Balanchine intended. Legs swing up to high noon, feet are arched like talons, spines bend back to tomorrow, particularly in the case of Taras Domitro, a recent Cuban acquisition who danced the "Melancholic" variation in "Four Temperaments."

Domitro looks young enough to play the title role in "Billy Elliot." This boyishness coupled with his ability to fold himself over backward, or to wheel around and plunge precipitously to the floor, made his solo all the more poignantly desperate. Another moment to relish was the unhurried musical ease in Vanessa Zahorian and Joan Boada's pas de deux in the "Sanguinic" variation, where Paul Hindemith's majestic score seemed to swirl around them like water.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:35 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
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San Francisco's 'Giselle': Precise Yet Passionless
By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 1, 2008; Page C01

It's not a good sign when the most interesting dancer in "Giselle" is Hilarion, the rough local boy whom Giselle has dumped for that mysterious, good-looking charmer Albrecht. Hilarion is not supposed to outgun Albrecht for our affections. Ordinarily, he serves the purpose meted out to all second fiddles: to prove that no matter how honest and true your intentions, how generous your nature, how plump your offering of freshly killed game, she'll still pass you over for the devastatingly hot Mr. Wrong.

But in the San Francisco Ballet's dull "Giselle," performed over the weekend at the Kennedy Center Opera House, who cared about Giselle, or Albrecht, or Giselle's mother, or the surprise visit by Albrecht's fiancee or any of the other characters who usually get our attention? Encumbered by a curiously languid reading of the Adolphe Adam score, the ballet was cleanly danced by this company of excellent technicians, but it was so clean it was sterile. And so sterile it was boring. Except for Pascal Molat's Hilarion, who wore a beard and a leather jacket and who blustered around like he had some good red blood in his veins. Surely there was a Harley waiting for him in the wings.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:24 pm 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews each of the casts of "Giselle" at the Kennedy Center in the New York Times:

NY Times


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:44 pm 
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Jean Battey Lewis reviews the Kennedy Center run of performances in the Washington Times:

Washington times


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:18 am 
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GIA KOURLAS in The New York Times on Sarah Van Patten in New York:

"If you’re lucky, you may have witnessed a dancer who shocked the senses. This year the honor went to Sarah Van Patten, a principal with the San Francisco Ballet, who was enthralling in George Balanchine’s “Four Temperaments.” In her pas de deux with Tiit Helimets, performed in October as part of the company’s season at New York City Center, Ms. Van Patten, unguardedly beautiful, used her lean body and jewel-like eyes to elucidate the prickly allegro power in the Sanguinic variation. She stopped time."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/arts/ ... odayspaper


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