In fact delight was the keynote of the whole evening …I was very happy to see the whole company reclaiming their ‘joy in dancing’, the Bournonville essence which is fundamentally what keeps these old ballets alive.
San Francisco Ballet – Criss-Cross, Francesca da Rimini, Symphony in Three Movements – San Francisco
Program 7 made me think a lot about this tricky issue of programming because this bill is a weird sandwich made with a delectable gourmet filling between slices of bland Wonder bread.
It takes a certain amount of nerve to build a dance season around some of the great masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire. It’s not simply a matter of status in the musical canon; these pieces are strong, they produce emotions, they command attention for themselves. But Bill T Jones is not a timid artist…
The Mariinsky Ballet’s annual Baden-Baden tour is something of a balletomane’s winter retreat and, with mild weather to boot over Christmas, provided yet another opportunity this season to catch up with the St. Petersburg company.
The highlight of the gala was the seventieth-anniversary performance of Agnes De Mille’s Rodeo, preceded by a short film describing its creation, with archival footage of the hilariously histrionic, diminutive choreographer.
“It’s very lonely out there… I mean, it would be nice to have some sort of mentorship with regard to what it takes to be a choreographer.”
Bausch is a mystery. To some, she represents the summit of poetry and expression, worthy of a cult-like following. Clearly, these dancers derive great emotional sustenance from performing her work. And it suits them. But, with the exception of Gillot’s solo and a few moments here and there, it left me cold.
Nicolas Le Riche was fabulously predatory in Bolero, a raging furnace of self-love and sex appeal. One imagines that after the show he must have ravaged a hundred virgins, but maybe he simply went home and soaked his feet in the tub, but in any case, he was magnificent, good taste (and choreography) be damned.
And yet, even on its own terms, it leaves one wanting, despite the performances of two excellent casts… And it does not blossom with repeated viewing. Much to the contrary. What are its short-comings? First, the music…
Every May for the past nine years the SFIAF presented an amazing array of live music, theater and dance from all over the world. Most of these performers would never be seen here in San Francisco if it weren’t for festival director Andrew Wood’s fanatic desire to bring as many diverse groups as the limited budget will allow.
I think it’s safe to say that neither of the new works knocked the planet off its axis…
It’s becoming something of a New York City Ballet tradition to start off the season with, if not a whimper, then let’s say a less-than-stellar performance. Perhaps it’s a kind of exorcism, a ritual cleansing. Maybe that’s why the gala usually takes place a few days later…
The sixty-five-year-old The Four Temperaments is now a senior citizen, but not even close to retiring…
The crowd erupted in cheers. Ek’s piece hints at another side of Guillem, a goofier, simpler human being beneath the veneer of the icon. If it feels a little coy, well, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. It’s a smart, well-calibrated program in every sense.
Boris Eifman is described in his company’s programme notes as a ‘choreographer-philosopher’ who wants to ‘draw spectators into the inexhaustible world of human passions’. His aim is to reinterpet the work of past geniuses to bring out their relevance to us today. …Eifman is the Ken Russell of St Petersburg.
Calling this ballet a guide (Guide To Strange Places) is not really precise because it’s more like a portal that lets you in and then leaves you on your own to figure out where you are. Whether you have absolutely no sense of direction or can find your way anywhere blindfolded could determine how you explore this terrain
Local audiences also saw the return of the Lyon Opera Ballet. Their mixed programme consisted of two ballets by Benjamin Millepied, a ballet by Maguy Marin, and best of all, Balanchine’s masterpiece, Concerto Barocco, staged by Nanette Glushak.
Grosse Fugue by Maguy Marin… Performed with energy by the dancers and received with rapturous applause by some of the audience, this is either genius at work or less fun than watching paint dry, depending on your point of view.
At the end the curtain came up once again, and Brigitte Lefèvre (artistic director of the ballet) and Nicolas Joel (director of the opera as a whole) emerged to announce the promotion of the evening’s Solor, Josua Hoffalt, to the ultimate rank: étoile. There were buckets of tears, from Hoffalt, Gilbert, and Dupont. In fact, it was the high point of the evening. An uncontrolled release of emotion, at last.