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 Post subject: San Francisco Ballet 2009 - "Jewels"
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:14 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
It is such a privilege to have a home company that is not only big enough but also good enough to do all three "Jewels" ballets -- "Emeralds," "Rubies" and "Diamonds" -- in one program. Performances by the principals and soloists as well as the corps on opening night were brilliant if not entirely flawless -- but then again we have come to expect so much from our company.

This is one great show!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:51 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
To follow casting:

http://www.sfballet.org/performancestickets/casting.asp


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:20 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Rachel Howard reviews "Jewels" in the San Francisco Chronicle:

SF Chronicle


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 12:01 am
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Location: San Francisco
San Francisco Ballet
"Jewels"
April 25, 2009, 8PM

George Balanchine’s “Jewels” is well regarded for its homage to modern ballet’s roots. This plotless ballet, which debuted in 1967, is comprised of three abstract sections: “Emeralds,” “Rubies,” and “Diamonds” to represent France, the US, and Russia respectively. While the choreography may not be groundbreaking, dance aficionados still praise “Jewels” for its wide range of emotions and for being one of Balanchine’s timeless ballets. Often presented in parts, the ballet as a whole is rarely seen on stage outside of New York, but our fine city is sparkling this week with San Francisco Ballet’s superb take on “Jewels.”

Normally, I prefer the sultriness and pizazz of “Rubies,” but Sofiane Sylve’s take on the lead swan-like principal role in “Diamonds” has me thinking otherwise. Sylve danced the pas de deux with a pure, unaffected grace and fragility that left me gasping for breath by the end. Her partner, Pierre François Vilanoba, matched her as best he could, but in “Jewels,” as in most of Balanchine’s work, the majority of the focus is on the women. The demi soloists shone brightly, including Lily Rogers and Jennifer Stahl, and Quinn Wharton, a tall, sandy haired fellow, danced with a kingly presence. One of the things that differentiates “Diamonds” from the other two sections is the big wow moment when the corps enters, sweeping its feet across the stage with the stark brightness of the cream colored costumes radiating simplicity and elegance, and this time was no different. The only caveat I had was with Tony Walton’s white lite-brite/scatter plot effect across the back scrim (which continued in corresponding colors through the other two sections). Sorry, but I’m not a fan. Please bring back the Tiffany blue background and extravagant chandeliers, I beg of you.

Elana Altman devoured the stage as the tall girl in “Rubies.” Yes, Vanessa Zahorian proved she’s more than just everyone’s technically amazing whiz kid with her coy hip action and flirty romp with the compact yet powerful Pascal Molat, but Altman showed she’s got the chops to play with the big kids. At one point, she lunged into a deep grand plié in second (for all those non-technical peopleout there, a squat) with her arms held high above her head in a rising V, and all eyes were on her. This steely dancer has been refining this role for a few years, and her mettle showed.

“Emeralds,” as the opener, is velvety and supple, with wrists crossed at times like sylphs and a shy or demure quality lurking underneath. With a score by Gabriel Fauré, the dancers lightly skipped and waltzed. Early on, Lorena Feijoo, joined by guest artist Seth Orza (on loan from Pacific Northwest Ballet) made her slightly nontraditional mark on Violette Verdy’s role. Feijoo played the role as a young lover, displaying at times lust, sadness, grief, and contentment. It was an interesting interpretation, but I think I prefer the more aloof, non-narrative portrayals that I’ve seen in the past. Yuan Yuan Tan, however, looked spellbinding in Mimi Paul’s role, with her feet dripping under her as she quietly tip toed across the stage with her arms melting about in the air around her. Quiet and comforting, Tan seemed almost motherly, as if she were ready to wrap her arms around her partner, Damian Smith, and rock him ever so softly to sleep.

Elyse Bourne staged “Jewels,” and additional coaching was provided by several originators, including Mimi Paul, Violette Verdy, and Suzanne Farrell, and this high quality showed. However, Haydee Morales’ costumes (on loan from Miami City Ballet) were loud—the stone piece thumped and plunked as the dancers jumped and kicked--, and the added percussion was neither needed nor wanted. But I’ve got to wonder, if “Jewels” was choreographed now, would Balanchine have changed things? Perhaps the US would be sapphires to represent our blue collar history. Maybe he’d add a tribute to Japan or England or Spain. We’ll never know, but it’s fun to dream about, even for a minute or two.

The program continues with a wide range of casts, many of which should be impressive debuts for some of the company’s most promising young soloists and corp members. And if you happened to catch “Jewels,” you might just find a diamond (or a ruby or emerald) in the rough.

_________________
So two dancers walked into a barre...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Alastair Macaulay enjoyed the performances of "Jewels" on Saturday evening, April 25 and Sunday afternoon, April 26. His review in the New York Times:

NY Times


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:38 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Janos Gereben reviews "Jewels" in the San Francisco Examiner:

SF Examiner


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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2001 11:01 pm
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Due to a scheduling quirk, I always see Program 2 before Program 1 and Program 8 before Program 8. So Saturday I finally saw Jewels and absolutely loved it.

In an odd twist, a Russian (Maria Kotchetkova) danced the French Emeralds and two French dancers (Sofiane Sylve and Pierre-Francois Villanoba) the Russian Diamonds. Emeralds was perhaps the weakest of the 3, but that may have been me. My friend and I downed a half bottle of wine with lunch and I was getting sleeeeeeeeeeepy (real cheap drunk). A shot of caffeine and a walk outside during intermission made me much more wide awake.

Lorena Feijoo danced Rubies with a good dash of salsa and mojitos - and why not? America is, after all, as Latin as it is Anglo-Saxon, if not more. Ably partnered by Davit Karpetyan (and in my opinion he looks much better with the beard gone), she was at her best, fast, precise, and expressive, with Jennifer Stahl, who I'm willing to bet will not still be in the corps next year, as the "tall girl". No one could drowse through that performance.

Diamonds was just regal. The huge corps was great, perfectly in sync, the soloists fabulous, the pas de deux outstanding, I really run out of superlatives. After the pdd, when the lights came all the way up on stage, the impact was dazzling. All in all, a great end to the season.

I've heard some criticisms of the stage decor, but each time the curtain came up to the lavish costumes and staging, the audience audibly gasped.


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