PeggyR

SFB at Les Etés de la Danse, July 2014

64 posts in this topic

Just a quick note to say that I ran to Paris yesterday (well, endured 16 hours on a coach from/to London to spend 8 hours in the 'city of light' - albeit occasionally grayed by rain) to see SFB in a glorious programme at the commodious Theatre du Chatelet. Sarah Van Patten glowed in the first movement of Ratmansky's incisively telling Symphony No. 9. Having read much of this ballet but never having had a chance to see it in person I was determined to do so on this occasion. I was very glad I did. While I can well imagine ABT's Corneju dazzling in the glory that is the role of the outside male interlocutor, Taras Domitro astonished as much with the razzle-dazzle of his thrilling entrechats as his inviting (and seemingly surprised) smile at his curtain calls (long prolonged by the compliment of European rhythmic applause). Sarah Van Patten again stood (and bent) prominent in the enraptured hands of the wonderfully able Luke Ingham in the second movement of Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour and Mathilde Froustey was delightfully impudent in the first. The real highlight though (familiarity here breeding thrills rather than mere content I fear) was Balanchine's Les Quatre Temperaments. The ever expansive limbs of Sofiane Sylve's Colerique beckoned not only greatness but the ceiling radiating every bit as much light as that radiant chandelier's slash. Pascal Molat brought fire to his Melancolique and a magnificent Joseph Walsh dazzled in his dance - and stunningly glorious partnering - in the Sanguin movement every bit as much as he had stood out in the previous ballet's ensemble. Without question this soloist is a star not in the making but made. It was, however, the entire SFB company - to a woman - that was hypnotic in the cohesiveness of the unquestionable quality of its resplendent ensemble. It was every bit as - indeed more refreshing - than the shower which greeted my departure from the Chatalet. While the latter helped no doubt to break the stultifying humidity it was the joy of the earlier that had truly raised my heart and shall remain ever prominent in my memory's smile.

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Wonderful to read about this performance. Thank you for review.

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The ever expansive limbs of Sofiane Sylve's Colerique beckoned not only greatness but the ceiling radiating every bit as much light as that radiant chandelier's slash. Without question this soloist is a star not in the making but made...

It was, however, the entire SFB company - to a woman - that was hypnotic in the cohesiveness of the unquestionable quality of its resplendent ensemble.

Thanks so much for reporting – and making one of those wonderfully impetuous trips of faith one must make occasionally. The evening of Symphony #9, Within the Golden Hour, and the Four Temperaments sound as if it was a high point of many high points of the engagement.

Also the question has been asked a couple of times: why is the press so intent on interviewing Mathilde Froustey, who is indeed a "star in the making," rather than Sofiane Sylve, also French, who is at the height of her powers.

I am happy to see the Ratmansky pieces being presented and so well received. Until I saw the Trilogy and its great choreographic architecture, I felt I was always looking to the past, to the Four Temperaments, and to reimagined ballets like Parade, and so it's nice to be living in the present again!

In addition to being a great success, the extended stay in Paris might also have the effect of solidifying the repertory and showing what works and what doesn't and give way to a little different focus on programming at home.

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Sofiane Sylve did not study at the Paris Opera Ballet School, nor did she dance with POB School. She trained in Not Paris Nice and made her career in Germany, the Netherlands, and NYCB before joining SFB, while Froustey left POB and was trained by the School, and her departure from POB is new and still stings, like Korbes' from NYCB. It would be like the NY press being all over Alexandra Ansanelli returning to NYC with the Royal Ballet, while ignoring Not NYC Sarah Lamb.

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why is the press so intent on interviewing Mathilde Froustey, who is indeed a "star in the making," rather than Sofiane Sylve, also French, who is at the height of her powers.

Froustey leaving the POB was a big deal. It is exceedingly rare for a POB dancer to leave for "greener" pastures, especially a dancer like Froustey who had made some progress through the hierarchy. That she didn't go to New York and ABT, and instead went further afield to San Francisco (and a somewhat alien repertory) only adds to the newsworthiness of the story.

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Yes to miliosr's and Helene's points – but reporters are taught to always dig for a new angle. And Sofine Syvle went from France to New York City Ballet to San Francisco which is a good hop, skip and jump of a story. As far as stinging or being a rebuke, maybe with all the changes going on at POB Mathilde Froustey's departure wasn't as much as an event in Paris as it was in San Francisco.

Sylve is also more identified with the types of contemporary works being presented in Paris. She's a more architectural, outward dancer, whereas Froustey delights in inner detail. It would be difficult to imagine her in Sanguinic.

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I would rather say it has to do with her use of social media and by extension ballet journalists that are in France prone to jump on an easy topic… This is quite rare we have full length reviews of what happened on stage in the media, French journalists are more interested to present the events before than to analyse them after… Froustey has spent years promoting herself through every means that exist before leaving and then made a fuss about her leaving Paris. That’s a lot of material. Sofiane Sylve is practically unknown, although I remember she already danced here few years ago an impressive Swan Lake with English national ballet…

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Laura Cappelle tweeted:

Sour note to end @sfballet's Paris tour - major program change before curtain up. Ratmansky's Symphony #9 out, Allegro Brillante/Solo in.


And:

@MarinaHarss Back spasm, one of the principals in Symphony #9. There was a second cast though.

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MFroustey on the program change:



http://instagram.com/p/q7PLOLHrQz/?modal=true



Earlier is the week Cappelle said, "SFBallet in Paris has been addictive - last-minute ticket in the bag to see Agon & Ratmansky's Symphony #9" and used the tag #ratmanskyness.



And in the conversation Helene linked to above, Marina Harss also says of Symphony #9, "The ballets become something else when they are done together—like a whole worldview." The two parts presented must have seemed to be quite a contrast to "Psche et Amour" which Ratmansky did for POB.



The engagement ended with Hummingbird, another aspect of the San Francisco Ballet worldview, and the whole two weeks – from reading between various comments posted online – seems to have been a great success. Quite a different sort of engagement from the shorter, less leisurely New York trip last year, and I think the programming was sharper. Agon and The Four Temperaments and 2/3 of the Trilogy helped establish a basis for the other ballets to be seen against.


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It does seem odd that an entire ballet is dropped due to "back spasms" with one of the principals. The entire company is in Paris, so finding a replacement performer would not have been the difficulty. Perhaps Tomasson just felt like he needed a strategic change for the last program.

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I'm sure these decisions are not taken lightly, and if they could have found someone they would have. When I was in SF in May something similar happened. They were supposed to do Agon and replaced it with The Fifth Season. Also, they dropped one movement out of Suite en Blanc.

One thing's for sure, it's not easy being an AD and being confronted with these problems; much easier for us armchair artistic directors!

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With Symphony #9 if one person is out you might have to swich the entire cast since it's such an ensemble piece. The first cast might be composed of smaller dancers and the second larger dancers which also might affect substitutions.

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I confess I don't know who was slated for the original cast for Symphony #9, but the decision to go with a different ballet (actually two), and with Froustey dancing with a different partner as well, doesn't seem any easier than replacing the principal in Symphony #9. As KBarber says, these things are not done lightly, but the audience tends to react badly to this type of change. Kind of mars what has otherwise gone well.

I have to say, the company must be exhausted by this point, and simply can't wait for the 2014 Season to be over.

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