California Literary Review


Don Quixote, San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House, April 27, 2012


April 29th, 2012

Let the ballet snobs pound sand in the corrida if they find neither rhyme, reason, nor much musical innovation in Don Quixote: It is still that sampler of delicacies which, done right, can end the dance season on a crescendo, and on April 27, San Francisco Ballet surpassed all expectations! The fun begins when your companion of the evening points out querulously that there is a horse trailer parked at the stage door. You explain, “For the donkey.”

An Interview with San Francisco Ballet Soloist Clara Blanco


April 26th, 2012

But dancing a character both fulfills and exhausts you. After Artifact, I felt dead, but it was a good dead!

5 Questions with Choreographer Val Caniparoli (Part 2)


April 25th, 2012

It’s always good to try and schedule time when the company is performing, as you get a better sense of individual dancers and how they perform onstage. You can’t always know if and how a dancer transforms onstage as opposed to how they work in the rehearsal studio.

Dance Review: Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s Triangle of Squinches


April 19th, 2012

Act I of Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s Triangle of Squinches plays out in front of a backdrop of several hundred silvered bungee cords, stretched perpendicular to the Novellus Theater stage floor so that they form a brilliantine thicket through which dancers will emerge, and retreat. The dancers will pluck the cords like harp strings, lean in to, ascend and descend them.

San Francisco Ballet’s Program 7, an All-Balanchine Affair


April 15th, 2012

Top honors for the program go to the company’s interpretation of The Four Temperaments, to music by Paul Hindemith. Daniel Deivison-Oliveira and Kristina Lind open the work, each offering an unfolding hand to the other. As she recreates the off-balance pas de deux, Lind carries the very texture of the Balanchine line—long-limbed, with generous extensions—inviting comparisons to Patricia Neary.

San Francisco Ballet Offers Raymonda Act III, RAkU and Guide to Strange Places


March 29th, 2012

In a season peppered with contemporary world premieres and dramatic works, it is easy to forget that San Francisco Ballet is first and foremost a classically trained ballet company. With Program 6 and Raymonda Act III, the company re-stakes its claim as a classical company to be reckoned with.

Dance Review: San Francisco Ballet Presents The Fifth Season, Symphonic Dances and Glass Pieces


March 26th, 2012

Frances Chung is as resilient as bundled cable. Davit Karapetyan partners her with genteel correctness. They are a brilliant match, swimming over and under each other like sea creatures, as the corps de ballet floods in, and indeed under Jack Mehler’s lighting, individual faces are lost to bodies that leap like flames; you can almost hear the hiss of the aquatic couple’s exit, as if extinguished by the conflagration.

Two World Premiers from ODC/Dance


March 19th, 2012

Overall, Transit creates a recognizable place, but the dancers, while mostly a spirited lot, seem to lack the spitfire facility of their predecessors, and here I am thinking of Shannon D. Mitchell, Robert Moses, Brian Fisher, Kevin Ware, KT Nelson and Yukie Fujimoto, a vanished comet of former ODC stars.

7 Questions with San Francisco Favorite Joanna Berman


February 29th, 2012

Today, because of her experience in such an extensive repertory, Berman is in demand as a regisseur, assisting choreographers in bringing their existing ballets to new audiences. This past month, she has been working with Walnut Creek’s Diablo Ballet, setting Christopher Wheeldon’s Mercurial Manoeuvres, which is part of the Inside the Dancer’s Studio program to be presented Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3.

Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company Performs Max


February 27th, 2012

Movement gives way to dancers sidling up to partners, though they do not dance with them, except in one chassé sequence, where the partners face one another and take a tentative, almost disinterested measure of the calculated steps.

This Sweet Nothing Reimagines Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun


February 22nd, 2012

Her duet with Giles, in which both dancers use stilts to place themselves on the same locus, invites us to meet a pair of post-Nijinsky characters, two women who move like languid praying mantises, fluid, deliberate, yet delicate, as they explore a sensuality between women, untested by the choreographers of Nijinsky’s time.

San Francisco Ballet: It’s in the Programming


February 21st, 2012

The world premiere of Mark Morris’s Beaux, set to Martinu’s Concerto for Harpsichord (1935), is a gentle work created for the company men. In contrast to the usual bravura leaps and beats normally used to showcase talented male dancers, Beaux explores different territory. In a Peter-Pan-and-the-Lost-Boys manner, Morris has the men create a visual picture of the hidden, light-hearted youth inside, and the sunny, patterned costumes and backdrop by designer Isaac Mizrahi underpin Morris’s intent. The dancers were equally matched, equally wonderful.

Dance Review: NYCB Offers Wheeldon’s Les Carillons and DGV


February 15th, 2012

The ability to enjoy DGV seems to me largely dependent on how irritating one finds Michael Nyman’s driving minimalist score. The piece (MGV: Musique à Grande Vitesse) was composed at the request of a European railroad company; and if Nyman’s music may at first express the ratcheting excitement of being propelled forward at high-speeds, it soon comes to convey instead the tedium of a long train ride.

San Francisco Ballet’s Dazzling Onegin Opens the 2012 Season


February 1st, 2012

From the luscious Santo Loquasto sets and costumes, to the Tchaikovsky musical pastiche, and the brilliant dancing by the principals and the corps — it works. There is no question about it, no waiting to see how it all gels. San Francisco Ballet has a resounding hit on its hands.

San Francisco Ballet’s 2012 Gala Performance


January 23rd, 2012

A gala performance such as this, kicking off San Francisco Ballet’s 2012 season, is inevitably programmed with virtuoso showpieces, designed to show off the extraordinary capabilities of what is undoubtedly a world-class company and arguably the finest dance organization in the U.S.

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