Author: Aimee Tsao

Aimée Ts'ao, a San Francisco dance writer, has appeared in Dance Magazine, was dance critic for the Bay Area Reporter and was the senior ballet editor for the Dance Insider Online. She lets her previous incarnation as a professional dancer (ballet and modern) imbue her perspective and hopes you like the resulting flavour.

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs.
Zack Tang and Yujin Kim in Constellation.© Margo Moritz. (Click image for larger version)

LINES Ballet – Constellation – San Francisco

Someone who has embodied King’s choreographic essence thoroughly in a few short years is Michael Montgomery. Everything he does feels completely natural, utterly effortless, like a child running freely, exploring his surroundings and his body without self-consciousness.

Mariinsky Ballet in Swan Lake.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

Mariinsky Ballet – Swan Lake – San Francisco

That said, the company is still on top form. The corps de ballet is flawlessly unified technically, stylistically and musically down to their eyelashes.

Jonathan Powell and Terez Dean performing Adam Hougland's Cold Virtues.© Keith Sutter. (Click image for larger version)

Smuin Ballet – Starshadows, No Vivire, Homeless, Cold Virtues, Oh Inverted World – San Francisco

I believe that the current dancers have greater technical proficiency and more years of stage experience than previous members , and with those elements, Ballet Master Amy London’s avid quest toward perfection can finally be realised.

Andrea Thompson in Coin/C/Dance.© Sandy Lee. (Click image for larger version)

Zhukov Dance Theatre – Product 05: Coin/c/dance – San Francisco

There is something deeply satisfying in watching a dance company grow from its first season through its current fifth year, especially when the production values remain consistently high.

Maria Kochetkova.© David Allen. (Click image for larger version)

Maria Kochetkova – San Francisco Ballet – Principal

Who are your favorite choreographers? 1. “Christopher Wheeldon. He picked me for the first ballet I had created on me .. and I have worked with him on every single work he has done since I joined SFB.”

Lonnie Weeks.© David Allen. (Click image for larger version)

Lonnie Weeks – San Francisco Ballet – Corps de Ballet

It’s not about the technique anymore, it’s about that extra special something that makes you stand apart from everyone else…

Elana Altman – San Francisco Ballet – Soloist

Muriel [Maffre] was an inspiration for me because she got so many great roles even though she was tall. After she retired I started to get some of her old parts.

Yuri Possokhov.© David Allen. (Click image for larger version)

Yuri Possokhov – San Francisco Ballet – Choreographer in Residence

The best thing about being at SFB is that I got to work with so many choreographers. It inspired me so much.

San Francisco Ballet – Primer and London Season Preview

Aimée Tsao, watching San Francisco Ballet for over 35 years now, with a general primer on the company and some thoughts on the repertoire they are bring to London in September 2012…

Peng Yu-Chen and Brandon Freeman in Gina Patteron's The Inconstant.© David deSilva. (Click image for larger version)

Amy Seiwert’s SKETCH 2, The Women Choreographers & ODC/Dance Summer Sampler – San Francisco

The idea behind Amy Seiwert’s SKETCH 2 is to promote women ballet choreographers. Included in the press kit was an informal survey of twenty-four ballet companies with income over $5 million in the United States. Of the 302 works to be performed this upcoming season only 27 were by seventeen women.

Members of the Bolshoi Ballet perform Oath of the Ushers.© Moanalani Jeffrey. (Click image for larger version)

Bolshoi Dancers – Napa Valley Festival del Sole – San Francisco

I don’t regret spending two afternoons in the warm sun before the unbelievably early performances ( 6 and 6:30 curtain times), but overall, the dancing, no matter how artistic or technically accomplished, is seriously hindered by the productions and/or venues.

Damara Vita Ganley and Felipe Barrueto-Cabello (front) with Joe Goode (back). © Margo Moritz. (Click image for larger version)

Joe Goode Performance Group – When We Fall Apart – San Francisco

If you refrain from reading any advance publicity or the program itself before you see this piece, then you will probably enjoy yourself and laugh very hard. But if you know ahead of time what he claims are his artistic goals for the production, by the end you may be… disappointed, bewildered, incredulous, perplexed, even irritated.

Norma Fong and Brendan Barthel of Robert Moses' Kin (work unamed). © RJ Muna. (Click image for larger version)

Robert Moses’ KIN Dance Company – ODC and Novellus Theater bills – San Francisco

In a world where choreographers with their own eponymous companies prevail, I am happy to see that Moses sees the value of feeding his dancers a diverse diet of artistic experiences, definitely a situation where everyone wins, audience included.

La Tania in Despertar es Un Color. © Christine Fu. (Click image for larger version)

La Tania Baile Flamenco – Esencia and Despertar es un Color – San Francisco

La Tania is the only flamenco dancer I have seen that effects me as intensely as does the brilliant Eva Yerbabuena. Ultimately, the most important point, as with any art form, is whether you are moved. And I am, very deeply, by this truly gifted performer.

Scott Wells & Dancers – At Ease and Parkour Deux – San Francisco

For the twenty years his company has been around, Wells’s choreography has incorporated contact-improvisation, sports paraphernalia (balls of every size from ping pong to basketball, boxing gloves, skateboards), music from classical to rock, often in rapid succession, juggling and gymnastics.

Post:Ballet. © David DeSilva. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco International Arts Festival – May 2012

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.

John Speed Orr and Erin Yarbrough-Stewart in Through. © Keith Sutter. (Click image for larger version)

Smuin Ballet – Swipe, Through, Symphony of Psalms – San Francisco

If you prefer ballet in a more intimate space with easily accessible choreography, energetically performed by dedicated dancers …you might want to check out Smuin Ballet which has come a long way from its original roots.

In Paris: Mikhail Baryshnikov. © Maria Baranova. (Click image for larger version)

Mikhail Baryshnikov / Dmitry Krymov – In Paris – San Francisco

Baryshnikov, now 64, still moves with style and finesse, but the choreography doesn’t offer any opportunities beyond a pseudo-Spanish cliché.

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson/Possokhov's Don Quixote. © Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Don Quixote – San Francisco

Kochetkova and Domitro, together and separately, dance extraordinarily well. They don’t have the elusive chemistry that she has with Boada, but they still are very much in tune with each other, both musically and artistically, and make a very satisfying partnership.

San Francisco Ballet in Balanchine's The Four Temperaments. © Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – All Balanchine Bill (Program 7) – San Francisco

The sixty-five-year-old The Four Temperaments is now a senior citizen, but not even close to retiring…

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