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San Francisco Ballet, London September 2012


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Terrific stuff in my view. A couple of sample pics, more to follow:

 

 

 

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Divertimento No 15

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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Yuan Yuan Tan and Vito Mazzeo, in Symphonic Dances

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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Frances Chung and Daniel Deivison-Oliveira in Christopher Wheeldon's Number Nine

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

See more in the gallery of 36 pictures at....

DanceTabs on Flickr

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

Edit: Link corrected to point to gallery of 36 pictures. BM

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Norman: Look in today's Links section and you will find an Arts Desk Opening Night review by Ismene Brown .... and I've just spotted one new-loaded on the Guardian site that John will list tomorrow. By opening on a Friday night, a delay in reviews till tomorrow was almost inevitable as overnight dance reviews in print seem very largely to have become a thing of the past, and I'm sure that the Arts/Dance sections of the Sunday papers are put to bed by Thursday or thereabouts. (The FT may delay till Mr Crisp has seen all 3 programmes, and he has been spotted at both thus far. Others may do likewise, of course.)

 

DaveM or John Ross: Are there pics from later casts likely? If not, it may be worth altering the title here to include all 3 programmes on this visit.

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As requested here are pictures from Programme 2. Helgi Tomasson's Trio, Christopher Wheeldon's Ghosts and Ashley Page's Guide to Strange Places. The two last pieces were a bit dark.

 

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Gennadi Nedvigin in Trio

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Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith in Ghosts

 

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Sarah Van Patten and Carlos Quedenit in Ashley Page's Guide to Strange Places

 

More pictures in www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk

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The picture of Tan and Smith in "Ghosts" is simply marvelous.

 

Tracing along the outside edge of the figures of the two dancers - look at all the triangles of black (negative) space.

 

These are repeated and complimented by the black triangle between the dancers the bottom point of which begins at the top of his front bent knee.

 

And there is another small black triangle of space just at the elbow of his lower arm.

 

The line of her head flows into the line of her back leg and is comlimented by the tilt of his head - and repeated in the lines of his arms.

 

Her lower arm is exactly aligned with his back leg.

 

The topmost finger of her lifted arm is lined up exactly with the heel of his back foot.

 

Both dancers are "seeing" the same object (whatever that may be).

 

Love it!

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I saw Programme B this afternoon along with a surprisingly cool Sadler's Wells audience. The first piece, Tomasson's Trio, was the most classical in style and had a flavour of Balanchine about it. I wasn't over keen on the first couple but the other two were very good. Wheeldon's Ghosts was very atmospheric and had a lovely duet in the middle which was beautifully danced by Tan and Smith. Page's piece, Guide to Strange Places, started very well and was exciting in parts but there was quite a lot of body contortion and the type of dancing which looks as if it is improvised which I thought a bit derivative. I found the costumes worn by the dancers in all three pieces attractive. I could even accept the white, frilly see-through shirts worn by the men in Ghosts because they contributed to the ethereal feel of the piece. It was a very good programme of very new work (the oldest piece was only two years old) and the company danced it with a lot of panache.

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Programme B - more photos! :-)

 

 

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Maria Kochetkova, grandly! (in Helgi Tomasson's 'Trio')

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith, in Christopher Wheeldon's 'Ghosts'

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Sarah van Patten and Carlos Quenedit in Ashley Page's 'Guide to Strange Places

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

See more...

 

Set on Flickr - San Francisco Ballet's Programme B

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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I certainly enjoyed Saturday evening's Programme B, a triple bill that demonstrated SFB's strength in depth from Principal to Corps. The impressions that have stuck are these.

 

Helgi Tomasson's Trio: Elegance with an American sharpness that responded to the Tchaikovsky score in the outer movements. A narrative was imposed on the slow middle movement, whereby a third character who had passed across the stage in shadow, clearly observing the central couple, eventually joined them to create a pas de trois and, at the end, extracted the girl whilst shielding her eyes in a death metaphor. For me, clear overtones of MacMillan's Song of the Earth. (The backcloth had an image divided into well-defined squares - did anyone else see in it the blurred stone interior of a Gothic cathedral?)

 

Christopher Wheeldon's Ghosts: Not Ibsen-inspired on the lines of Cathy Marston's 2005 work of the same name, its spectral background and frequent vigorous movement for a large group had me wondering about the witches and beldames in Alloway kirkyard when Tam o' Shanter passed it on his notorious ride home. This contrasted well with a central pas de deux featuring the exquisite Yuan Yuan Tan, partnered by Damian Smith.

 

Ashley Page's Guide to Strange Places: A backcloth of a long straight highway gave way to another of I know not what, presumably signifying that we had reached a strange place wherein the action was generally pretty frantic, driven by John Adams' eponymous score.

 

SFB is a classy company and I'd happily see any of these pieces again in a mixed bill. And to conclude, it was good to see the company's MD, Martin West, on stage at the end, looking as if he has thrived since leaving ENB and, more immediately for me, the Cambridge Philharmonic, some 7 years ago. He and the local orchestra had an excellent evening.

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Talking of Programme C - here a few samples...

 

 

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Beaux, by Mark Morris (to Bohuslav Martinu)

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Frances Chung, Carlos Quenedit in Classical Symphony by Yuri Possokhov (to Prokofiev)

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Yuan Yuan Tan in RAkU by Yuri Possokhov (to Shinji Eshima)

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Sarah van Patten, Pierre-Francois Vilanoba in Within the Golden Hour by Christopher Wheeldon (to Ezio Bozza)

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

See more...

 

Set on Flickr - San Francisco Ballet's Programme C

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

Edited by zxDaveM
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I've now seen all three programmes, ten ballets in all. RakU was the only obviously narrative one. It's hard to pick out a favourite. Last night (Programme C) the audience responded most enthusiastically to Possokhov's Classical Symphony which I thought was terrific. On Tuesday evening (Programme A) I think that it was Liang's Symphonic Dances which the audience most appreciated. SFB certainly has some marvellous dancers. Maria Kochetova, Sofiane Sylvie and Yuan Yuan Tan were all fabulous in their different ways. For me the programmes showed how good a choreographer Christopher Wheedon is compared to many other British choreographers. He doesn't stuff his ballets full of steps and his pdds are attractive rather than ugly. With so much choreography you wish that there were fewer steps and more time for the dance to flow and breathe.

 

Having seen SFB, I have been wondering what makes this company dance with such class and vigour. Is it the modern choreography which is mostly created on the company? Is it the many opportunities which such choreography gives to the dancers, from principal level right down to the corps, which keeps everyone enthusiastic? Do they just have very good dancers? The RB is regarded as a world class company, which has the pick of the best dancers from all over the world, and yet when I go and see the company I often come away feeling slightly disappointed. Invariably, the performances are of a high standard and yet I often feel that something is lacking. I cannot put my finger on what it is. Perhaps I'm the only person who feels like this.

 

 

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Here are pictures from Programme C from another view.

 

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Mark Morris's Beaux

 

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Hansuke Yamamoto and Maria Kochetkova in Yuri Possokhov's Clasical Symphony

 

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Yuan Yuan Tan in Yury Possokhov's RAkU

 

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Christopher Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour

 

 

More pictures on www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk

Edited by johnross
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I've now seen all three programmes, ten ballets in all. RakU was the only obviously narrative one. It's hard to pick out a favourite. Last night (Programme C) the audience responded most enthusiastically to Possokhov's Classical Symphony which I thought was terrific. On Tuesday evening (Programme A) I think that it was Liang's Symphonic Dances which the audience most appreciated. SFB certainly has some marvellous dancers. Maria Kochetova, Sofiane Sylvie and Yuan Yuan Tan were all fabulous in their different ways. For me the programmes showed how good a choreographer Christopher Wheedon is compared to many other British choreographers. He doesn't stuff his ballets full of steps and his pdds are attractive rather than ugly. With so much choreography you wish that there were fewer steps and more time for the dance to flow and breathe.

 

Having seen SFB, I have been wondering what makes this company dance with such class and vigour. Is it the modern choreography which is mostly created on the company? Is it the many opportunities which such choreography gives to the dancers, from principal level right down to the corps, which keeps everyone enthusiastic? Do they just have very good dancers? The RB is regarded as a world class company, which has the pick of the best dancers from all over the world, and yet when I go and see the company I often come away feeling slightly disappointed. Invariably, the performances are of a high standard and yet I often feel that something is lacking. I cannot put my finger on what it is. Perhaps I'm the only person who feels like this.

No Aileen - snap - but we may be in a minority of two!!!

 

Count me in .... a minority of three. Haven't seen Prog A yet but really impressed with the Company in Progs B & C - LOVED the two Wheeldon (Ghosts & Within The Golden Hour). Absolutely agree with your comment about "class & vigour"

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Jane, if this is the opening night cast for Programme C then I think that the man is either Carlos Quenedit of Jaime Garcia Castilla.

 

I wasn't at the opening night but, assuming the cast sheet was correct, the photo of Castilla in the programme indicates that he is probably the dancer in the photo

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I saw Wednesday afternoon's rehearsal (sans cast list) and last night's peformance (from 2nd circle) and didn't think the casts were exactly the same in every ballet ... but I've been wrong before!!! Presume the photos were all from the photo call which was of the rehearsal so if anyone can enlighten me as to differences in the pix from my cast list of last night without too much difficulty, I would be most grateful!

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tim, the casts do vary from one performance to another according to the casting on SFB's website. The cast on Wednesday evening was as per the website apart from one change in the men, I recollect. The principal roles in Classical Symphony (which Jane was enquiring about) were danced by Kochetkova/Yamamoto, Chung/Quenedit and Andre/Castilla.

 

I feel really fortunate to have been able to see three overseas ballet companies in London this year. I saw the Mariinsky at the ROH last year and would love to see the Bolshoi in London some time.

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Firstly it was very exciting to see 7 new ballets in 2 nights, grateful that SFB didn't play safe but brought such contrasting works, I wasn't thrilled by all of them but certainly was by Raku and Within the Golden Hour in programme C, the dramatic artistry of Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith, then one of Christopher Wheeldon's gems, I would love to see the RB acquire this one!

 

I was really looking forward to Ghosts last night but strangely it didn't quite work, I think because I couldn't see through the bad lighting from higher up, shame because obviously there was some beautiful dancing, the highlight was Guide to Strange Places, crazy music but it was exciting!

 

Lots of fantastic dancing throughout, special favourites were Gennadi Nedvigin, Joan Boada, Damian Smith, Vitor Luiz, and the wonderful Yuan Yuan Tan, Maria Kochetkova, Sarah Van Patten and Sofiane Sylve!

 

 

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