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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:55 pm 
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Francis Timlin wrote:
I'm surprised to hear about the tittering in response to the countertenor; I thought audiences in SF were more highly evolved as the home base of Chanticleer, but perhaps that's not the Gala audience....

I suspect that a lot of people who attend ballet performances -- especially at a gala performance -- don't necessarily attend performances of the other performing arts.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 6:51 pm 
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Especially anything that might contain a countertenor. There are many opera goers who are not familar with the countertenor voice. It can be ...an acquired taste...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 4:32 pm 
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Review of the Gala in the SF Chronicle.

Quote:
REVIEW
Despite gala glitter, the dancing is sober, subtle, tender in opening program
Rachel Howard, Special to The Chronicle

Friday, January 26, 2007

Galas take the temperature of their times, and the tone was subtly sober Wednesday as the San Francisco Ballet started its 74th season. A subdued audience claimed its seats with surprising promptness, depth of feeling marked the most affecting dancing, and individual artistry trumped odd programming choices. The austerity was strangely refreshing: This was a gala in which works of substance, and not the usual sugary bonbons, most satisfied our appetites.

That's not to say there weren't moments over the two hours of virtuosic movement to prompt smiles. Who wouldn't grin at the crisp spontaneity of Kristin Long and Joan Boada in Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson's "Soirees Musicales," or giggle at Tina LeBlanc's whirlwind phrasing in Gerald Arpino's "L'Air D'Esprit"?


more...


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:59 am 
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I enjoyed Rachel Howard's full account of the Gala and, although some of the newer pieces may have misfired, I share her enthusiasm for the format of covering the breadth of the company's rep, not just the lollipops.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:08 pm 
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Stuart Sweeney wrote:
I enjoyed Rachel Howard's full account of the Gala . . .


I thought she captured the evening perfectly.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 2:43 pm 
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Casting is now up for two shows of the first program:

PROGRAM 1 Evening
1/30/2007,8:00 p.m.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 30—8:00 PM—OPENING NIGHT

DIVERTIMENTO NO. 15
Conductor : George Cleve

Nicolas Blanc*, Gennadi Nedvigin*, Jaime Garcia Castilla*
Kristin Long*
Vanessa Zahorian*, Frances Chung*, Katita Waldo*, Rachel Viselli*

-pause-

AUNIS

Rory Hohenstein*, Garrett Anderson*, James Sofranko*

INTERMISSION

Artifact Suite
Piano: Margot Kazimirska

Muriel Maffre, Pierre-François Vilanoba
Lorena Feijoo, Pascal Molat
Elana Altman






PROGRAM 1 Evening
1/31/2007,7:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31—7:30 PM

DIVERTIMENTO NO. 15
Conductor : George Cleve

Pierre-François Vilanoba*, Tiit Helimets*, Moises Martin*
Lorena Feijoo*
Elana Altman*, Sarah Van Patten*, Molly Smolen*, Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun*

-pause-

AUNIS

Rory Hohenstein, Joan Boada*, James Sofranko

INTERMISSION

Artifact Suite
Piano: Margot Kazimirska

Katita Waldo, Ruben Martin
Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia
Muriel Maffre


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:26 pm 
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Here is Mary Ellen Hunt's review of the Gala in the San Jose Mercury News:

Mercury News


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 Post subject: slightly delayed review of the SFB Gala
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:30 pm 
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Glamour and Glitz

San Francisco Ballet’s 2007 Gala - Wednesday, Jan. 24th, 2007, 8:00 pm

War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, CA

by Katie Rosenfeld


San Francisco Ballet kicked off its 2007 season January 24th with a gala full of surprises and magical moments. The excitement was tangible as patrons and guests filled the grand lobby with swirling skirts, perfectly coiffed hair and the low rumble of delighted, anticipatory chatter. The champagne flowed freely as the audience geared up for an evening of eclectic pieces spanning the spectrum from pure classical ballet to neo-modern contemporary. The program promised a little something for everyone, and the company delivered on that promise.

Following the opening remarks and the traditional-but-strange audience sing-along of the Star-Spangled Banner, Jacques Garnier’s “Aunis” opened the performance. The three dancers, Nicolas Blanc, Pascal Molat and Pierre-François Vilanoba, were well matched to each other and to the choreography, which combined ballet and modern movements with the suggestion of folk dancing and a sea shanty, the accordion music helping to set the scene. Their movements were clean and energetic, and a tone of joviality and camaraderie developed nicely between the three men.

The first few moments of the pas de deux from “Sleeping Beauty” Act III, danced by Vanessa Zahorian and Gonzalo Garcia, exhibited the twinges of nerves that must always accompany the excitement of a gala. A tiny wobble here, a minor hitch there, the couple found their connection with the floor and the audience and went on to shine in the solos and coda. Garcia’s double tours to perfect fifth positions and soaring ménage met with happy applause. Even more impressive was Zahorian’s solo – her upper body light and elegant, each landing was completely silent, which is the sign of a truly impressive technique. The two whirled through the coda and accepted their well-earned applause.

Davit Karapetyan’s “Last Breath,” which he choreographed and danced, was the first 21st Century piece on the program. The techno-based music, from the “Matrix: Revolutions” soundtrack, served to rattle the classical foundation and supported Karapetyan’s primal, urgent dancing well. If anything, the piece was disappointingly short.

The pas de deux from “7 For Eight,” choreography by Helgi Tomasson, was danced beautifully by Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun and Pierre-François Vilanoba. Pipit-Suksun is one to watch; her long limbs and fluidity of movement made every step languid and sumptuous, Vilanoba’s able partnering allowing her the freedom needed to move fully.

Molly Smolen danced Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan” with all the introspective soul-searching and contemplative movement necessary for the challengingly spare piece, not easy to pull off with an audience full of champagne and restless with the extended moments of silence. While those “in the know” recognized its historical importance, it was perhaps a stretch for the average audience member. That said, taken in context of the full evening it provided an interesting perspective. We look forward to seeing more of Smolen throughout the season.

Closing the first act was Tomasson’s “Soirées Musicales,” danced brilliantly by Kristin Long and Joan Boada. The two are well matched in physicality, technical virtuosity, and pure energy, Tomasson’s choreography showcasing all to perfection. Boada’s inhuman elevation drew a few gasps from the audience, and Long’s sparkling footwork and crisp turns were a joy to watch. The piece was a perfect choice just before the intermission, leaving the audience primed for more.

Intermission gave the audience just enough time to stretch their legs and discuss favorite moments of the first half. It is important to note that the gilded décor surrounding the stage and throughout the Opera House has been cleaned and returned to its rightful gleaming state.

Opening the second half was the pas de deux from the second act of “Giselle,” with Lorena Feijoo in the title role and Tiit Helimets as her Albrecht. This pas is incredibly challenging, especially for the woman as she must be as weightless as a ghost. Feijoo’s floating port de bras and silky footwork and Helimets sorrowful partnering brought the tragedy into sharp relief.

Another piece that proved challenging for the audience was “Bitter Tears,” choreographed by Yuri Possokhov in honor of Muriel Maffre’s final season. The accompaniment for the piece was an aria sung by countertenor Mark Crayton. His unusual vocal quality seemed to be more than the audience was prepared for, and unfortunate titters of discomfort marred the first moments of the piece. Once Maffre’s outrageously long legs emerged from her overskirt, the audience refocused. The piece showcased her unique movement quality and stunning lines well, and her interaction with Crayton was both intimate and universally understandable. News of Maffre’s retirement has rippled through the dance community and met with palpable dismay, and the choreography echoed the sense of finality and loss associated with the changes to come.

Gerald Arpino’s “L’air d’Esprit” was a tasty treat, the choreography balanced between traditional and contemporary. Danced by Tina LeBlanc and Gennadi Nedvigin, the partnering work was as crisp and clean as well-starched curtains. LeBlanc’s footwork in the fiercely fast solo sparkled, every beat and gargouillade perfectly placed. Nedvigin also held his own with the difficult jumps and turns of his variation and the two ended the coda as cleanly as they had started.

Yuan Yuan Tan and Damien Smith danced a subtle and stunning pas de deux from Christopher Wheeldon’s “After the Rain.” The silence that filled the Opera House spoke volumes: here was something truly magical unfolding on the stage and everyone in the house knew it. Arvo Pärt’s music, set for piano and violin, matched the aching, heartbreakingly elegant choreography. After the audience released its collectively held breath, the applause was thunderous.

To close out the show in true Gala style the company danced the fourth movement and the finale from George Balanchine’s “Symphony in C.” While the soloists (including Elana Altman, Frances Chung, Sarah Van Patten, Garrett Anderson, Ruben Martin and Moises Martin) certainly earned their stripes with the fast, complicated steps and syncopation typical of Balanchine, it was the ensemble work that stood out. As line after line of white-tutued women and all-in-black men filed in to create the backdrop for the soloists, the stage seemed filled to capacity. And while perhaps not every line was perfectly spaced, the nearly-frantic exuberance was contagious and left the audience cheering for more.

And more is what we will get, as San Francisco Ballet heads into a promising and exciting spring season.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:57 pm 
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I didn't have my distance glasses for the gala, and since I was standing at the back of the orchestra section, I watched most of the performance through opera glasses. Of course, in Symphony in C I'd have missed too much that way, so I opted instead for a slight blurriness. In some sections where everyone is on stage, but each group is doing different choreography, my myopia made the action onstage resemble one of those close-up shots of the legs of a flock of flamingos wading in an African lake. It was fun.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:09 am 
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You can listen to, and download, the meet-the-artist interview with Tina LeBlanc:

http://www.sfballet.org/danceeducation/ ... dcasts.asp

Her voice surprised me -- she's so little, I was expecting a little voice.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:27 pm 
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Sarah Van Patten and Rachel Viselli are now listed as principal dancers on SFB's roster. Anyone have news on this?

_________________
So two dancers walked into a barre...


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:18 am 
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There are no press releases on the subject in the SFB press releases file on the SFB website. I have sent an inquiry to the PR department. I was informally informed about one of the promotions last week by a former teacher of one of the recently promoted dancers, but was hoping for something official from the company before opening a subject thread.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:57 pm 
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SAN FRANCISCO BALLET ANNOUNCES TWO DANCER PROMOTIONS

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Monday, March 26, 2007 – San Francisco Ballet announced today the promotion of two Company members, Sarah Van Patten and Rachel Viselli, effective immediately. Both dancers have been promoted from the rank of soloist to principal dancer.

Sarah Van Patten, born in Boston, trained at the Ballet Workshop of New England and Boston Ballet School. She joined San Francisco Ballet as a soloist in 2002, following two years with the Royal Danish Ballet. Van Patten has performed lead roles in a diverse array of works, including Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet, Jerome Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun, Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance).

Rachel Viselli hails from Salt Lake City and danced with Ballet West prior to joining San Francisco Ballet as a corps de ballet member in 1999. She was promoted to soloist in 2004 and has since performed principal roles in Wheeldon’s Rush, Robbins’ In the Night, David Bintley’s The Dance House, and most recently, the lead role of Aurora in Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty.

An updated company roster will be distributed following the 2007 Repertory Season.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:26 pm 
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Congratulations to Sarah and Rachel.

Also new on the website: Artist Spotlight Interview with Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun. Here is the link: http://www.sfballet.org/about/podcasts_as.asp

Enjoy!!!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:28 pm 
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Yes, congrats are in order. They are very deserving of their promotions.


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