Anything but the Mark Morris sort of stuff
Actually I was once lucky enough to be able to watch a Mark Morris piece in rehearsal at SF Ballet and it was better than the real thing in performance. There were two casts at the same time, with the big black piano in the middle, and the second cast behind was going through the parts in dreamy asides or footnotes to what was happening in front. And there were mirrors all around to further complicate things into which the dancers were losing their gazes.
But dancer over the dance
comes to the same thing as in acting where people say a performer is so great she or he can read the telephone book and make it sound like Shakespeare. Lots of choreography of our period, especially in San Francisco, is the telephone book--or in the case of Christopher Wheeldon perhaps C++ or Java underscript. Wheeldon is brilliant and loquacious and magpie-ish (:Macaulay), but there are precious few glimpses into the inner lives of his characters. The overwrought Hedda Gabbler of Val Caniparoli unhappily tries to make up for this lack.
All art is about transmitting something, Manet passes on Velasquez, Juan Gris brilliantly regives us Cezanne, and Balanchine refigures and refreshes Petipa. (The Mariinsky's recent performance at Zellerbach made La Bayadere look like a soucebook for Symphony in C: beats and whisking of feet in air as a group, 180 degree turns of the corps at the sides--enigmatic reversals of judgment or kinds of petulance or various airs of indifference, etc.)
My preference is for dancing that is less brilliant and less technically proficient than the celebrated dancing of the SF men (except Joao Boada whose sense of parcelling out and repackaging time is beyond reproach) and is instead transmitting something story-like (but not a really a story) that in turn has been transmitted dancer to dancer to dancer. Eglevsky (was it Eglevsky?) to D'Amboise to Gonzalo Garcia and Vadim Solomahka in the case of SF Ballet's recent Apollo.
Yes, a brittle and rambly rant, of course, I know.