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Looking back: 2003 season

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Hmm, good question.

I think Feijoo and Boada in Don Q were definitely a highlight. The "second cast" in Allegro Brillante" was also a highlight. The revival of Jinx was another highlight.

The HORRIBLE costumes in Paquita were DEFINITELY a low-light, with the equally horrible costumes in Tutu coming in a close second.

I thought Feijoo and Tan had particularly strong seasons. And seeing so many new faces in lead roles was very exciting.

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Working spontaneously and from memory here, as I'm not able at the moment to dig up my programs:

I thought this season wasn't as strong as last's, though several dancers provided plenty of highlights.

I'll start with the absolute low--program five. I dreaded this slate from the day it was announced: Peter Martins' Waltz Project, Tomasson's Nana's Lied, and Val Caniparoli's Connotations. Three mediocre ballets, any of which could have filled out another program, none of which were strong enough to carry an evening. Connotations especially has not aged well.

But brighter spots, in no particular order:

Helgi Tomasson's lovely pas d'occasion, Concerto Grosso, for a group of corps men. Simple and elegant, and Garrett Anderson so fluid. And the new soloist, Pascal Molat, unveiled in this piece at the opening gala. A true MVP in his first year with the company. Warm and subtle as Man in Brown in Dances at a Gathering, riotously funny as Sancho Panza in Don Q.

Julie Diana in Diamonds. She came into her own in that role.

Clara Blanco dancing Christensen at the opening gala and as a soloist in Paquita--such softness in the shoulders and freedom in the upper body.

The final program, three world premieres, was not a low, but I also felt it wasn't the Mt. Everest high most of the reviews proclaimed it to be. I didn't find Ratmansky's Carnaval at all funny. Who couldn't take the incredible Muriel Maffre and have her do a haggard Dying Swan? Haven't the Trocks been doing that thing for decades? Welch's tutu noodled on and on. I like Julia Adam a lot and was pleased to see her make a comeback with Imaginal Disc. The women looked Oscar-night glamorous and yet so angelic in those white dresses, and I'm happy to see Leslie Young get a big role. But I thought the piece lacked development, especially at the end when Martin lifted Young, wings spread--very lovely--but then the ballet went on, and the close simply repeated the image.

This is off the top of my head, and just for starters. I'd especially like to hear thoughts on Don Q. and its place in SFB's rep--I believe they're touring it this year. I was bowled over by Feijoo/Boada, as were most people, but lukewarm at best on the production--but I won't go into that now.

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I have been impressed with Gonzalo Garcia this season. I know Sterns Grove is a compromisng venue, but I think there is no comparing his maturity in Don Q with that of last summer.

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Stern Grove can certainly be a challenge. In lieu of a longer post, which I do promise to attempt at a later date, I'd chime in that I did enjoy watching Gonzalo Garcia this season, and the Nanna's Lied program Rachel mentions was indeed dismal.

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