★★★★✰ "It’s not often that I’ve seen a Nutcracker receive a standing ovation, but as the curtain fell and Clara ran to greet her mother, there was nothing to do but stand and applaud."
Tag - Martin West
★★★★✰ I had missed SFB’s London season at Sadler’s Wells in 2019, so was pleased to catch up with ballets brought together for this digital triple bill.
★★★✰✰ It’s a bit of a bashed-together stream, with a shiny new, COVID-19 era recording of Emeralds, made in January of this year, teamed up with a Rubies from 2016, and Diamonds from 2017...
★★★✰✰ There were parts I adored and elements that didn’t resonate as much.
★★★★✰ San Francisco Ballet’s Program 2 was dubbed Classical Re(Vision) – a remembering of and reconnection with choreography in SFB’s existing repertory catalogue.
★★★★✰ It’s been a treat to see so much new work made specifically for a company. The dancers are free, unburdened by the weight of history and expectation, with no comparisons to be made to famous past performers or interpretations. It’s all theirs.
★★★✰✰ The choreography in Shostakovich Trilogy, which was co-commissioned by SFB and ABT and premiered in 2014, is as frustratingly capricious as the music.
"I don’t know if we can make the world a better place, but we can definitely have the audience think about it."
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.
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...
★★★★✰ 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.
★★★✰✰ 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 – Trio, Ghost in the Machine (premiere), Within the Golden Hour – San Francisco
★★★✰✰ Myles Thatcher is an inventive young talent...
★★★✰✰ 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.
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.
★★★✰✰ Yet for all its narrative surprises and witty designs, this Cinderella is a curiously underwhelming work when it comes to the choreography.
★★★★✰ It’s a treat to be in the theater when a dancer achieves a triumphant performance...
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..."
★★★✰✰ 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.
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.