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 Post subject: San Francisco Ballet 2007 Program 6
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:56 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 350
Location: San Francisco
'Common Ground' never takes off for S.F. Ballet
Rachel Howard, Special to The San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, April 6, 2007


Apparently even the San Francisco Ballet isn't immune from the midseason slump. Granted, program five's crowd-pleasing extravaganza made a hard act to follow, but the sixth repertory slate that opened Wednesday is a bona fide dud. There's a pleasant-enough encore airing of Agnes de Mille's "Rodeo" and a warmed-over revival of Julia Adam's "Night." But what should have been the meat of the program is a world premiere by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson. I'm sorry to report that "On Common Ground" is the worst ballet by him I've yet seen.

It's a shame because when Tomasson makes intimate ballets tailored to showcase the strengths of favored dancers, the results can be elegant, and sometimes stirring. And in this case, Tomasson began with talent worth exploring. On the veteran side, Tina LeBlanc and Lorena Feijoo share a duet, while Joan Boada and Davit Karapetyan get space-devouring solos. On the emerging side, the slinkily musical soloist Rory Hohenstein shares some teasing interludes with glamour girl Elana Altman and with Jennifer Stahl, a first-year corps member graced by striking long lines and a cool confidence...

For more, click here.

So two dancers walked into a barre...

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 255
No one else has any comments?

I saw program 6 yesterday afternoon. I almost didn't go since 1) review was bad 2) no one here found it interesting enough to comment and 3) I had cracked a tooth and spent 3 hours at the dentist Friday and was doped to the gills.

But decided to go since, after all, it's a nonrefundable $50 ticket. Nearly fell asleep on BART, fortified myself with a cup of overpriced strong tea from the 2nd floor concession...

I actually enjoyed "On Common Ground". A little disappointed that a casting change meant the trio that had been scheduled, Elana Altman, Jennifer Stahl, and Rory Hohenstein were replaced by Courtney Elizabeth, Courtney Wright, and Jaime Garcia Castilla. Nothing against those 3 but Altman and Hohenstein are becoming favorites of mine.

I certainly liked this much better than "Bue Rose". It seemed to have more unity. The "serene" couple (Tina LeBlanc and Ruben Martin) on one side, the "discordant" couple (Lorena Feijoo and Darvit Karpetian) on the other. The action flowed from the two men, beginning the ballet together, the two women entered en pointe, couples merged and changed partners with the trio as a sort of Greek chorus. The choreography did not look dull to me, in fact, especially for the women, it looked incredibly challenging and was flawlessly performed by 4 outstanding principal dancers. I would not call it a great masterpiece but a lot better than the Chronicle gave credit for.

I had not seen "Night" before. Unfortunately, the opening music was a bit too soporific for someone who had been subsisting on painkillers for two days; I found myself fading in and out a bit! Suffice to say what I saw was interesting and I'd like to see it again when I am more together.

"Rodeo" was not as energetic as I've seen it in the past. Maybe it's just that I've seen it twice in the past year already and was getting Rodeo'd-out, so to speak. It is a great vehicle for a young male dancer to express his virtuosity, Aaron Orza in this case. I'd never seen him before in a leading role.

A side note, it must have been Rory Hohenstein who was sick since both Elana Altman and Jennifer Stahl were in the other dances. Stahl is only in her first year as a full member of the company (she was an apprentice last year) and I've seen a great deal of her, often in significant supporting roles. Looks like she has a good future ahead with SFB.

Last edited by crandc on Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
Just a quick note -- I've never cared much for Rodeo, but I hadn't seen Kristin Long as the Cowgirl. Finally I did, and she made the ballet very enjoyable.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:22 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 8612
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
I didn't see this program, but have friends who did. They were also disappointed that the trio in the first ballet had to be changed, but were happy with their performance anyway. They loved Night and thought Tina danced particularly well. The really liked Matthew Stewart in Rodeo, though liked Rory better.

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