On Wednesday, June 6, thirty-three dancers from or associated with twelve San Francisco Bay Area dance companies, came together to dance for a packed audience at San Francisco’s Herbst Theater. Each piece shown represented the best of that company or dancer’s repertoire, and it was a rare opportunity for the dancers to share it not only with an audience, but with colleagues in the dance world.
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.
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.
Although described as being more closely aligned with the Andersen tale, this is an exposition more focused on the pain and suffering aspect of the story than in the redemptive resolution of the original. Andersen’s Mermaid is not primarily interested in the Prince, but recognizes that his love can help her gain an immortal soul, something the merpeople do not possess. For this to happen, however, the Prince must fall in love with and marry her. If he doesn’t, her deal with the Sea Witch is that she will die, turning into sea foam.
Chic, black Sandra Woodall costumes and the predominately white lighting plan by David Finn serve to pare the work down to its visual essentials, allowing Tomasson’s choreographic design to stand on its own merits. From the unusual slow opening section featuring Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets (one of this season’s more felicitous pairings) to the brisk male solo danced by Joan Boada, all the action is in service to the music. Especially effective is the 3rd Movement trio danced by Dores Andre, Elizabeth Miner, and Joan Boada. Fluid and flirtatious, it is a real charmer.