I was in SF this weekend and was able to catch the Sunday matinee of program 6. Mostly I was interested in seeing Raymonda, as I saw Raku earlier this year at SCFTA and wasn't that impressed by it.
Vanessa Zahorian was Raymonda at the matinee and she didn't really do it for me. I don't find her to be a particularly expansive or regal dancer, and I couldn't help but wish I was able to see Sylve, in the first cast, on Friday. I was thinking perhaps Feijoo was the original second cast before her pregnancy (given that Vitor Luiz as Brienne), and I think she may have also worked better. Moreover, I think SFB needs much more time to let the Hungarian character dancing to settle into their upper bodies. The costumes and set were excellent though.
Raku was Raku...I'm still not particularly interested in it, though I do enjoy the choreography for the four male dancers. A recording of the music (which I actually enjoy quite a bit) is available now online and at the theatre. Like my previous viewing, the audience completely loved this work and gave a giant standing O to Yuan Yuan Tan.
Ashley Page's premiere of a Guide to Strange Places was forgettable. Like a lot of contemporary ballet in this vein (for me) it's hard to pick out images that linger or things I would like to see again. The company certainly looked more comfortable in this than Raymonda, which is a good or bad thing depending on how devoted you are to seeing more classical ballet. Frances Chung was particularly impressive with her lightning fast speed. But my litmus test for deciding how choreographically interesting a work is comes down to whether I would care to see a different cast in this, and I don't. Aside from Chung, nothing really grabbed me. I wonder if the men ever get tired of merely manipulating their partners around??
I should also say, before I sound too much like a negative nancy, that programs 5 and 6 (running simultaneously) were not that interesting in general to me. There were several other programs I would have preferred to come up to see, but due to timing I couldn't make it up another weekend this year and so ended up going despite my minimal enthusiasm for the works programmed (aside from Raymonda)
SFB Program 6 - 2012
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