San Francisco -- regional or international?
Posted 14 October 2002 - 10:30 AM
BUT I noticed that the NYTimes review called SFB (not THAT SFB, Farrell Fan, the other one) an "international level company." However, friends of mine who just saw the company in NY -- 2 critics, 2 not -- both said some variant of, "They're good -- but regional" or "for a regional company."
What do you think, and why?
Posted 14 October 2002 - 10:50 AM
Tuesday and Wednesday nights I'd have said International, without a doubt. But they looked great in ensemble works in which classical style, precision and clarity aren't essential (the two Morris pieces), or in works which could be carried by a few strong dancers (and they certainly have more than a few!). It certainly looks like Tomasson has assembled an interesting and catholic repertory, more so than Martins or McKenzie, it seems, although it's hard to judge on the strength of a few mixed bills.
Thursday was the night of the big tests of how well SFB could do classicism and neoclassicism: Paquita and Rubies. And in these it looked almost more Civic than Regional. I was really surprised and disappointed to see how the company floundered here. In Paquita, the corps looked like they were taking an examination, and doubtful of passing, and in Rubies, like a pickup game of touch football. Was it just an off night? I'd like to think so, but I don't know.
I do know I would be happy to see them again, and hope they return soon.
Posted 14 October 2002 - 10:53 AM
Posted 14 October 2002 - 04:05 PM
The men, among the soloists and the principals, were better than I had expected.
As a company, they excell at crossover ballet. "Night" explored some of the same landscape which Peter Matins attempted to explore in "Harmonielehre," only did so much more profitably and even compellingly.
The basic trouble with Paquita was that the dancers didn't "get" the basic rhythm and phrasing of Petipa, the emphasis on hitting and holding the poses on the upbeats, for example. The question is whether, if you don't do that sort of thing well, you should be doing it at all.
Posted 15 October 2002 - 03:57 AM
By the way, I too heard the loudly shouted bravos from somewhere in the mezzanine level during the performances; I assumed they were from local friends of the dancers.
Posted 15 October 2002 - 04:11 AM
And they've recruited nicely in upper ranks for both men and women. For me, I just haven't figured out their "style" and perhaps that's b/c they've gotten people from the "outside".
I think they perform well, but I'm not sure they're an international company.
Posted 15 October 2002 - 05:42 AM
Anyone see Lorena Feijoo in the lead in Paquita last Sunday?
Posted 15 October 2002 - 05:50 AM
Posted 15 October 2002 - 10:51 AM
However, I think it is unfair to judge a company without seeing it its home theater or on just a few visits. But from seeing the company on its last few tours to New York, reading reviews from San Francisco as well as from its trips abroad, I think I would rank SFB as just under NYCB and ABT, but above or tied with Miami City Ballet atop the National companies. One thing that impressed me is that SFB got pretty good reviews on its recent trips to Europe (Miami did as well) while Pacific Northwest Ballet got mixed notices on its recent London visit.
I have a feeling Washington D.C. viewers next month will give SFB even better notices as the rep is a little less "classical." I certainly wouldn't mind having SFB as my home company.
Posted 15 October 2002 - 02:43 PM
Leigh's post about assimilating and assessing the style of an unfamiliar company (and the discussion on another thread of dueling critics) reminds me of a classic face-off between Clive Barnes and Arlene Croce over the Stuttgart, with Barnes hailing Cranko and company as a great new international force and Croce not agreeing, to put it mildly. You would have thought, did these two see the same company?
Posted 16 October 2002 - 08:16 AM
Posted 16 October 2002 - 08:49 AM
I don't think anybody used this definition to explain why SFB should be considered an international or national level ballet company.
You see the company more often -- where do you think the company stands?
Posted 16 October 2002 - 10:39 AM
Posted 16 October 2002 - 11:26 AM
If you are judging SFB to be a regional company because they don't use their feet to your liking then ABT should be a regional company as well. I have never seen such floppy fish feet on a professional company as I saw in Giselle last year.
Does a regional company tour to Athens and London? Does a regional company score new ballets by the most major choreographers in the world? Does a regional company have a $25 million budget?
There are many people who believe that any company based outside of New York is a "regional" company. The same people who call SF Ballet a regional company often call SF Opera a regional company. This distinction for both companies are ridiculous.
I've seen this discussion many times and every time I throw up my hands. It is a waste of time.
Posted 16 October 2002 - 11:50 AM
NYCB and ABT established themselves early on as "road" companies and I think in order to "recruit" audiences you need to tour. It's not enough to say you have a great rep and fabulous dancers if no one sees you.
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