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Muriel Maffre announces departure

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San Francisco Ballet has announced that Muriel Maffre will leave the company at the end of the upcoming season. Here is the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO, Friday, October, 20, 2006—San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson today announced that Principal Dancer Muriel Maffre plans to leave San Francisco Ballet following the 2007 Repertory Season, in order to pursue other interests. Maffre, who joined SF Ballet as a principal dancer in 1990, intends to remain active in the arts and culture scene in San Francisco.

“Muriel is a rare and extraordinary artist who has added so much to the Company throughout her incredible tenure with San Francisco Ballet,” said Tomasson. “It has been a privilege to watch her talent develop and while we will miss her, we wish her the very best in her future endeavors.”

Born in Enghein-les-Bains, France, Maffre received her ballet training from the Paris Opéra Ballet School and the Paris National Conservatory of Music and Dancing, where she graduated with a Premier Prix with honors. Prior to joining San Francisco Ballet, Maffre danced with the Hamburg Ballet and Ballet de Monte Carlo. She is a Gold medalist from the 1st International Ballet Competition (Paris), and the recipient of two Isadora Duncan Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Individual Performance (for performances during San Francisco Ballet’s 1990 and 2002 Repertory Seasons). Maffre holds a B.A. in Performing Arts from St. Mary’s College of Moraga, California.

Maffre’s repertory includes leading roles in Swan Lake, La Sylphide, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Don Quixote, and Nutcracker. In addition, she has performed and created principal roles in works by many notable choreographers including Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Mark Morris, Alexei Ratmansky, Jerome Robbins, Antony Tudor, and Stanton Welch. She has toured extensively and made guest appearances in eminent theaters throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Russia, and South America. In 2002, Maffre received critical acclaim for her revival performance of Michel Fokine’s The Dying Swan for the Company’s Opening Night Gala.

In April 2006, Muriel collaborated with U.C. Berkeley professor and conceptual artist Ken Goldberg on a solo, Ballet Mori, danced to the movement of the earth, which was presented as part of San Francisco Ballet’s season, during the San Francisco 1906 Earthquake Centennial. Most recently, Muriel created a multi-media dance and puppetry staging of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat for Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival’s summer season.

Maffre will perform in Tomasson’s Nutcracker, and throughout the 2007 Repertory Season. For more information on Nutcracker or the 2007 Repertory Season, please visit www.sfballet.org.

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IMO Mlle Maffre was the most powerful dancer on display at SFB's Summer Lincoln Center Visit. I wish her well in her new direction and hope that knowing ones will keep us posted.

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I second drb on Maffre's magnificence from SFB's recent visit to Lincoln Center and earlier one to City Center.

I hope the company -- or any company -- can find a way to use her combination of instinct, experience and book-learnin' to guide a younger generation of dancers.

Best wishes to Muriel Maffre, wherever her next step may take her.

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I saw her this past summer at Lincoln Center, and the year before when she came to the Miller Theater with other members of the SF company on an all-Wheeldon/Ligeti bill. She stood out both times for her tall, leanly sculpted body and elegant extension. I'm glad I had these opportunities.

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On the odd chance that I can manage to get to SF this spring (a girl can have a dream) which ballets should I try and see to get a chance to see her perform? What are her best roles?

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Scanning the rep to be performed, my first recommendation would be to see her in Artifact Suite in program 1. When I think of her I think of her in Magrittomania or Reflections, but I don't think they're doing those. I haven't seen her do 2nd movement Symphony in C, but that's when I'm going out there (programs 6-7) and I'm hoping to catch that.

Perhaps they'll give her a special evening with a chance to see her in some of her best roles?

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Wow, it seems like yesterday that I first saw her (some 15 years ago).

Muriel has always been a dependable dancer—oftentimes single-handedly 'saving' what may have been otherwise forgettable evenings at SFB... But I digress... I've always enjoyed seeing her and have always been in awe of all she could do with that very tall body.

Most recently I saw as Mirtha, and she was beautiful and icy—the star of the ballet, IMHO.

I'll be sure to try to see her at least one more time.

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Muriel's farewell performance on May 6, 2007:

2nd movement from GLASS PIECES (with P-F Vilanoba and corps)

pas de deux from AGON (with Tiit Helimets)

"The Alaskan Rag" from ELITE SYNCOPATIONS (with James Sofranko)

== intermission ==

THE DYING SWAN

pas de deux from CONTINUUM (w/ Damian Smith)

part I from ARTIFACT SUITE (w/ PFV & Kristin/Pascal and corps)

The name escapes me, but my most memorable piece of Muriel's is a duet performed at the 2005 gala... the music was electronic(?) and she was spectacular... wish I could have see that again.

Muriel has always had such a wonderful stage presence. When she appeared, she really pulled the set and the production together; her distinct aura/presence is truly irreplaceable. She is such a deep, thoughtful, and interesting person/artist. As much as I will miss her at the Opera House, I look forward to her upcoming involvement in the arts! (I found her to be a captivating speaker when I heard her speak recently.)

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The name escapes me, but my most memorable piece of Muriel's is a duet performed at the 2005 gala... the music was electronic(?) and she was spectacular... wish I could have see that again.

I think you might have seen her do "In the middle, somewhat elevated..." by William Forsythe. She was spectacular.

[snip!]

Edited by carbro
Deleted unauthorized link to video

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