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 Post subject: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 6:14 am 
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<img src="http://www.ballet-dance.com/200408/imagegallery/images/image02a.jpg" alt="" />

Program I - Sept. 20 & 23, 7:30 pm
Preview by Mary Ellen Hunt


George Balanchine's “Square Dance”

Balanchine’s tip of the hat to an American folk style doesn’t have the square dance “caller” anymore, but the unique mix of formalism and folk is as delightful as ever. Last season Tina LeBlanc tore up the stage with the sort of astonishingly swift and clean pointe work that would have most dancers’ feet tied in knots. But probably the most appealing part of this light, lemon mousse confection was the playful connection she had with a boyish and bravura Gonzalo Garcia.

Christopher Wheeldon's “Continuum”

What does it all mean? Christopher Wheeldon’s “Continuum” (a companion piece to New York City Ballet's "Polyphonia") is one of those ballets likely to leave the audience wondering and thinking. There are Balanchinean echoes in the simple tights-and-leotard costumes, which play starkly against the architectural lighting, but it’s the dancers -- the spirited Kristin Long, the lithe Damian Smith, and the indomitable Muriel Maffre -- who bring a human quality to this meditative series of etudes.

Alexei Ratmansky's “Le Carnaval des Animaux”

Child-like, but not childish, Bolshoi director Alexei Ratmansky’s lighthearted ballet takes the Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals” as inspiration for a whimsical menagerie of animal-based vignettes. Everyone in the company always seems to be in high-spirits for this piece: from the gaggle of hens -- led memorably last season by Elizabeth Miner -- to Stephen Legate’s preening cockerel to the coltish James Sofranko and Pablo Piantino to Muriel Maffre’s sadly dilapidated Swan.

<small>[ 18 September 2004, 08:26 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 6:37 am 
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Casting is now available for London:

SADLER’S WELLS THEATRE, LONDON
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET PRINCIPAL CASTING

PROGRAM 1
September 20 and 23, 2004

PLEASE NOTE ALL CASTING SUBJECT TO CHANGE

*premiere in role

SEPTEMBER 20, 7:30 PM—OPENING NIGHT

SQUARE DANCE
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Tina LeBlanc, Joan Boada

INTERMISSION

CONTINUUM
Piano: Michael McGraw
Yuan Yuan Tan, Damian Smith
Kristin Long, Gonzalo Garcia
Muriel Maffre, Yuri Possokhov*
Katita Waldo, David Arce

INTERMISSION

LE CARNAVAL DES ANIMAUX
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Julian Jacobson, Caroline Palmer

Lion: Pierre-François Vilanoba
Swan: Muriel Maffre
Elephant: Lorena Feijoo
Cockerel: Stephen Legate
Hen: Kristen Long
Hens: Megan Low, Liz Miner
Horses: James Sofranko, Pablo Piantino
Kangaroos: Pauli Magierek, Peter Brandenhoff
Turtles: Dalene Bramer, Maureen Choi
Aaron Orza, Moises Martin
Birds: Megan Low, Dalene Bramer, Liz Miner, Maureen Choi

-----------------------------------------------

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 7:30 PM

SQUARE DANCE
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Tina LeBlanc, Guennadi Nedviguine

INTERMISSION

CONTINUUM
Piano: Michael McGraw

Yuan Yuan Tan, Damian Smith
Kristin Long, Gonzalo Garcia
Muriel Maffre, Yuri Possokhov
Katita Waldo, Ruben Martin

INTERMISSION

LE CARNAVAL DES ANIMAUX
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Piano: Julian Jacobson, Caroline Palmer

Lion: Pierre-François Vilanoba
Swan: Muriel Maffre
Elephant: Lorena Feijoo
Cockerel: Stephen Legate
Hen: Nicole Starbuck
Hens: Megan Low, Liz Miner
Horses: James Sofranko, Pablo Piantino
Kangaroos: Pauli Magierek, Peter Brandenhoff
Turtles: Dalene Bramer, Maureen Choi
Aaron Orza, Moises Martin
Birds: Megan Low, Dalene Bramer, Liz Miner, Maureen Choi


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 4:43 am 
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Quote:
San Francisco Ballet - Programme 1

by JUDITH MACKRELL
The Guardian

Certainly his choices for the company's opening programme make for an unusually adroit mix, setting the frisky grace notes and velvet elegance of Balanchine's Square Dance against the potent secrets of Christopher Wheeldon's Continuum and the whimsical romp of Alexei Ratmanksy's Carnaval des Animaux.
more

***********************

Quote:
Confident style pulls off a triumph

by ZOE ANDERSON
The Independent

San Francisco Ballet opened their Sadler's Wells season on buoyant form. This is an outgoing company, crisp and characterful. They dance a varied repertory with confident style.
more

<small>[ 21 September 2004, 07:54 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 5:15 am 
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Well, that's about as close to rave reviews as we get over here.

Any thoughts from those who saw it on the night or have seen the pieces performed in SF or elswhere?

<small>[ 21 September 2004, 07:55 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 7:06 am 
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San Francisco Ballet, Sadler’s Wells, 20 September 2004
Square Dance (Balanchine)
Continuum (Wheeldon)
Le Carnaval des Animaux (Ratmansky)

When the curtain went up on Monday night for George Balanchine’s Square Dance , I felt an immediate burst of joy come from the stage, which is the quality I most remember from the previous performances by San Francisco Ballet I’ve seen. I haven’t seen huge amounts of Balanchine, but I’ve always found watching his ballets a wonderfully relaxing experience. The choreography fits so effortlessly with the music that you can just sit back and enjoy the patterns and shapes emerging in front of you. This was the case last night with Square Dance which was beautifully danced by the company.

Both principals were brilliant with Tina LeBlanc dealing with the ultra fast footwork with ease as she skimmed neatly over the tricky choreography. Joan Boada had an impressive stage presence and showed both his sweeping line and precise movement qualities. I loved his solo and loved that Balanchine had choreographed such a slow, elegant, grounded passage for the leading man instead of the perhaps more expected virtuoso one. It was a lovely uplifting performance.

From grey leotards to dark green, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Continuum . Another pure dance work, but very different, and far less comfortable to watch, though in a good way.

After a striking opening, beautifully lit by Natasha Katz, comes the first pas de deux for Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith. This was very reminiscent of the Wheeldon I’d seen before (though that is only two pieces…) with the same shapes, the same lifts with the woman curled round her partner flexing her feet and the same slow and controlled dynamic. I felt a bit like I’d been there seen that. But things picked up once I got into it and I found it a complex work which I’d really like to see again in order to absorb it all properly.

The ballet is a series of pas de deux all, with the exception of one, slow and controlled in pace, with sections of solos and group work interspersed. I felt that most of the time these bits between the pas deux felt a little like fillers and by the end, my attention was wandering. I also could have done with a bit more in the way of changes in pace, but on the whole the movement was so inventive that there was enough variety and density to keep the attention.

The high point for me was the second pas de deux for Tan and Smith. It’s a slow, smooth pas de deux, very feline in feeling with the dancers like cats stretching in the sun. It suited Yuan Yuan Tan so well, and was beautifully controlled by both dancers. I also enjoyed Kristin Long in both her pas de deux with Gonzalo Garcia and her short solo spot where she brought a change in pace and spark to the ballet. And Muriel Maffre and Katita Waldo looked superb in their pas de deux.

Le Carnaval des Animaux by Alexei Ratmansky ended the evening and I’m sorry but I have to say that I hated it. But I was obviously in a minority as it drew a huge response from the audience. I found it tedious with fairly boring choreography. I thought the costumes were muddy and uninspiring and at times I struggled as to what was going on. I found the whole ballet pretty dire really and while the rest of the audience found it very funny, I barely cracked a smile. Maybe I missed something or had a sense of humour bypass last night!

This is not to detract from the dancers though who were great. I particularly enjoyed Lorena Feijoo as the Elephant and Maffre as the Jellyfish. Her Dying Swan was effective too, though if you’re going to parody this piece, then I prefer the Trocks rather than this rather flimsy attempt.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:17 am 
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The San Francisco Ballet’s opening night proved to be a truly uplifting experience. The dancers’ clean technique was elevated by their boundless energy and radiant presentation. The Triple bill, including Balanchine, Wheeldon and Ratmansky, successfully combined different styles and genres, providing a good vehicle for the company’s talents and an impressive opening to their week at Sadler’s Wells.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 10:51 pm 
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Quote:
San Francisco Ballet

by JUDITH MACKRELL
The Guardian

As director of San Francisco Ballet, Helgi Tomasson has started to acquire an aura of infallibility. His expertise in laying down repertory, and in balancing great evenings of dance, is held in envy by the rest of the profession.
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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 10:54 pm 
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Quote:
San Francisco Ballet Sadler's Wells, London

by CLEMENT CRISP
The Financial Times

There results a joyful work with, at its heart, Balanchine's beautiful portrait of a male dancer. This solo, admirably done by the Cuban danseur Joan Boada, is a balletic prince brought to the New World and freed of pomp but not of dignity.
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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 11:18 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Driven to abstraction
By Debra Craine for The Times


FOR THIS, its third visit to London in five years, San Francisco Ballet has brought 11 ballets, including four UK premieres and two London premieres. It’s a most impressive lineup which puts British companies to shame.

Under Helgi Tomasson’s long-standing direction, the California company — America’s third largest — is a hotbed of creativity. And, as it showed at Sadler’s Wells on Monday night, the San Francisco troupe is also a glittering showcase for fine dancing.

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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 11:56 pm 
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<img src="http://www.kgl-teater.dk/dkt2002/ballet/personale/cvb_Alexei-Ratmansky.jpg" alt="" />
<small>Alexei Ratmansky</small>

Interesting to read your comments on Ratmansky's "Carnival of the Animals", Rosie and I see that it was not a favourite with Clement Crisp. I plan to see it on Thursday and will be interested to see more of the work of the new Bolshoi Director.

When Nina Ananiashvili and Moscow Dance Theatre came to London last year, they performed three pieces by Ratmansky:

http://forum.criticaldance.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=33;t=000894

"Charms of Mannerism" also attepted humour and failed dismally to my mind, while "Dreams about Japan" was a solid piece "full of Eastern promise" as the Fry's Turkish Delight ads used to say. The pick of the three pieces was "Leah" based on Yiddish folk tales and this is one of the most interesting new narrative ballets I have seen for some time.

As someone once said of an erratic sporting great, "Only medicicrity is always at its best." Here's hoping that Ratmansky goes from strength to strength in the years ahead - the ballet world needs quality choreographers more than somewhat.

<small>[ 25 September 2004, 02:44 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:21 am 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Quote:
Originally posted by Rosie:
Le Carnaval des Animaux by Alexei Ratmansky ended the evening and I’m sorry but I have to say that I hated it. But I was obviously in a minority as it drew a huge response from the audience. I found it tedious with fairly boring choreography. I thought the costumes were muddy and uninspiring and at times I struggled as to what was going on. I found the whole ballet pretty dire really and while the rest of the audience found it very funny, I barely cracked a smile. Maybe I missed something or had a sense of humour bypass last night!

This is not to detract from the dancers though who were great. I particularly enjoyed Lorena Feijoo as the Elephant and Maffre as the Jellyfish. Her Dying Swan was effective too, though if you’re going to parody this piece, then I prefer the Trocks rather than this rather flimsy attempt.
I know what you mean, Rosie. I had the same reaction to it the first time but it grew on me. There are little subtleties in the work especially in the characterization of the different creatures to the music, once I got past the humor, which is hard to do the first time as it's right there in your face.

But if you think about it, it's not really a comedic work. The comedy is just a way to convey the theme. The work is deeper than that. If you view the work as comedy, as did Crisp, then it fails but you have to look beyond that. It's not a classical work by any means but Ratmansky doesn't stray very far from classical ballet storytelling.

<small>[ 22 September 2004, 10:27 AM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 4:47 am 
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Quote:
San Francisco Ballet Programme 1, Sadler's Wells, London

By ZOE ANDERSON
the Independent

Continuum is assured and elegant. It was made for this company, and looks tailored for this cast. But it is too long: there are studies for soloists, for all four couples, for the full cast. You notice Wheeldon's fondness for repeats, for pert details and sugary touches.
more

<small>[ 23 September 2004, 06:50 AM: Message edited by: kurinuku ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:53 pm 
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San Francisco Ballet at Sadler’s Wells
Programme One
20 September 04
Reviewed by Julia Skene-Wenzel

After a three year wait, the San Francisco Ballet is back with a striking line up of three programmes, including several UK and London premieres. Under the artistic direction of Helgi Tomasson, the company sparkled at the opening night, displaying its varied talents in a well-rounded triple bill.

Balanchine’s ‘Square Dance’, a charming mixture of American folk dance and classical virtuosi, proved the perfect vehicle for the company’s return. Clean footwork and defined formations gave way to a radiant and uplifting performance of all dancers. Confidently lead by Tina LeBlanc and Joan Boada, the company flawlessly captured the choreographic challenges of this piece. Accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra, Vivaldi and Corelli merged with Balanchine’s sensitive choreography, allowing the male cast to soften into gentle passages of adagio, while the women’s clarity and sharpness kept the mood light and airy.

Choreographed on the San Francisco Ballet in 2002, Wheeldon’s ‘Continuum’ was thriving on the cast’s ownership. In a stunning series of duets, Wheeldon highlights each dancer’s individual movement quality and let’s the piece move from sensual to dynamic, from defined pas de deux to fluid group sections. Natasha Katz’s scenography features a large backdrop that changes colour and shape to reflect and underline the changing mood of each section: held in tight embraces, the couples yield to each other and the ground, while defying its pull by holding distinct poses, stretching and turning towards and away from the mounting force. Gyorgy Ligeti’s music, a combination of various piano scores, drives the dancers forwards and its harshness creates a refreshing contrast to the angular, but yet tender shapes on stage. ‘Continuum’ is a truly beautiful piece that allowed the San Francisco Ballet to present its full range of talent.

Ratmansky’s ‘Le Carnaval des Animaux’ closed the evening on a light-hearted note. The present artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet borrowed the basic structure of Camille Saint-Saen’s study to create a parody on one of Ballet’s biggest creations. In a slightly tangled fashion, the piece unfolds by presenting the various animals and then proceeds to Mikhail Fokine’s ‘Dying Swan’ fluttering across the stage. It struck gold with the audience, who relaxed into its jovial air and once more allowed the company to show a different side to its artistic abilities.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:36 am 
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San Francisco Ballet Prog 1
By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage


With three separate programmes over their seven-performance visit, this company displays its snappy, confident versatility, with artistic director Helgi Tomasson generously giving his performers opportunities to shine.

Square Dance, to the music of Vivaldi and Corelli, is where Balanchine brilliantly mingled classical technique with American folk dance motifs in 1957. The dancers in couples and as a group display sparkling footwork with brilliant beaten steps and the duet by Tina LeBlanc and Joan Boada is crisply performed.

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 Post subject: Re: Programme 1 - Balanchine/Wheeldon/Ratmansky
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 3:38 am 
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Posts: 236
Location: Paris
It was a very strange programm, I think.
The Cie look very young and the ensemble not quiet together.
Christopher Wheldon Ballet was long but sometimes interesting.
The last ballet look like a school show. Stupid costumes and choreography.
Well I was very desappointed to see so little dancing in one night and specially for the man.
At first I was very exicted to see the Cie, but I must say at the end I was very desapointed.


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