"Martin West" tag
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa rehearsing Guernica.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

Interview – Annabelle Lopez Ochoa on creating Guernica for SF Ballet’s Unbound Festival

“I don’t know if we can make the world a better place, but we can definitely have the audience think about it.”

Maria Kochetkova in Pita's Björk Ballet.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Unbound Festival Program D: works by Edwaard Liang, Dwight Rhoden, Arthur Pita – San Francisco

★★★★★   A hundred monkeys might eventually type out Hamlet, but only a herd of unicorns on Ecstasy could come anywhere near Arthur Pita’s Björk Ballet.

Yuan Yuan Tan and Carlo Di Lanno in Wheeldon's Bound To.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Unbound Festival Program A: works by Alonzo King, Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck – San Francisco

★★★★✰   If Helgi Tomasson was hoping that Unbound: A Festival of New Works would generate heated debate on the state of ballet today, his wish has already been fulfilled just one night into the massive festival…

San Francisco Ballet in Robbins' The Cage.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Robbins: Ballet & Broadway quad bill – San Francisco

★★★★✰   There’s nothing like watching a woman crush a man’s neck with her thighs to make you go hmm, maybe that whole #MeToo thing has legs.

Sarah Steele in Ethan Stiefel's Frontier.© Theo Kossenas Media 4 Artists. (Click image for larger version)

Washington Ballet – Lilac Garden, The Dream, Frontier (premiere) – Washington

★★★✰✰   Ethan Stiefel’s Frontier, his first significant commission, had all the right ingredients… Yet the ballet, with its space travel theme, didn’t leave much of an impression…

San Francisco Ballet in Thatcher's Ghost In The Machine.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Trio, Ghost in the Machine (premiere), Within the Golden Hour – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   Myles Thatcher is an inventive young talent…

Vitor Luiz in Scarlett's Frankenstein.© Erik Tomasson.

San Francisco Ballet – Frankenstein – San Francisco

★★★✰✰   It was a dark and stormy night – San Francisco Ballet couldn’t have designed a more apt and ominous atmosphere for the opening of Liam Scarlett’s Frankenstein.

Koto Ishihara, Francisco Mungamba and Wei Wang in Bubeníček's Fragile Vessels.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Haffner Symphony, Fragile Vessels (premiere), In the Countenance of Kings – San Francisco

★★★★✰   The company’s first regular-season commission from Czech choreographer Jiří Bubeníček, “Fragile Vessels”, is a 40-minute meditation on love, loss and reconciliation.

Maria Kochetkova and Joseph Walsh in Cinderella.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Cinderella – Washington

★★★✰✰   Yet for all its narrative surprises and witty designs, this Cinderella is a curiously underwhelming work when it comes to the choreography.

Frances Chung and Vitor Luiz in Balanchine's Coppélia.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Coppélia – San Francisco

★★★★✰ It’s a treat to be in the theater when a dancer achieves a triumphant performance…

Sofiane Sylve in Scarlett's Fearful Symmetries.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Fearful Symmetries (premiere), Rubies, Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes – San Francisco

★★★✰✰ “But despite his high concept, Scarlett seemed to lose the thread halfway through, resorting to lascivious theatrics to complete the work…”

San Francisco Ballet School students in the Waltz of the Hours from Balanchine's Coppélia.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Opening Night Gala – San Francisco

★★★✰✰ By way of a défilé, the evening opened with the “Waltz of the Hours” from Balanchine and Danilova’s Coppélia …Soloist Jennifer Stahl led two dozen girls from the SFB School, adorable in cotton-candy tutus.

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson's Nutcracker.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Nutcracker – San Francisco

The first time I saw San Francisco Ballet’s current production of The Nutcracker, a little boy sitting in front of us turned to his mother and whispered, “It’s magic!” Eleven years later, to the very day, it’s still a magical experience.

Norika Matsuyama and Steven Morse in Thatcher's Manifesto.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Program 3 including Myles Thatcher premiere – San Francisco

Program 3 features Hans van Manen’s Variations for Two Couples, William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Manifesto by Myles Thatcher and “The Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadère.

Maria Kochetkova in Tomasson's Giselle.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Giselle – San Francisco

…Kochetkova and Luiz told the tale beautifully…

Yuan Yuan Tan and Pascal Molat in Possokhov's RAkU.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Prog 1: Serenade, RAkU, Lambarena – San Francisco

America’s oldest ballet company, San Francisco Ballet, opened its eighty-second season with a triple bill that encapsulates the uniquely varied repertory developed by artistic director Helgi Tomasson…

San Francisco Ballet in Liam Scarlett's Hummingbird.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Caprice, Hummingbird, Symphonic Dances – Paris

Audience applause during the evening recognised that Scarlett’s Hummingbird was the starry centrepiece of the three Paris premieres.

San Francisco Ballet in Wheeldon's Ghosts.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Trio, Ghosts and Borderlands – New York

San Francisco Ballet is in town for two weeks, and on the evidence of opening night, this should be an invigorating visit. The company looks to be in top form.

Jennifer Stahl, Garen Scribner and James Sofranko in Possokhov's The Rite of Spring.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Guide to Strange Places, Beaux, Rite of Spring – San Francisco

Possokhov’s Rite of Spring is a mixture of mostly good choices with a few that seem rather odd to me.

Mark Morris Dance Group perform The Hard Nut.© Stephanie Berger. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Morris Dance Group – The Hard Nut – San Francisco

I always enjoy The Hard Nut even though there isn’t a lot of choreography.

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