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About Phrenchphry11

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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    San Francisco
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  1. This was great! Felt so much San Francisco nostalgia, just missing out on all these beautiful locations while in my apartment. Loved Walsh's segment - presumably that was Peck's choreography, and it looked great! The filming in the fog was really enchanting for Hummel and Deivison-Oliveira's scene. The wind in Chung's scene was so great. I think my favorite bit of cinematography was the PFA. All of it was very well done. Definitely a great watch!
  2. A few weeks old now: Nederlands Dans Theater in a work choreographed specifically to be distanced.
  3. I've only been able to watch the first 20 minutes so far, but what a treat! Stars and Stripes is so much fun!
  4. Agree with you 100% Pherank! And, I've always enjoyed that SFB has had a few Russian dancers on the roster. Kochetkova was one of SFB's most versatile dancers, and with her Bolshoi foundation, I think she really did push SFB to a very high level. Same to be said for many other Russian-trained dancers at SFB. Yeah - probably there's a bit of unfortunate timing here, too. I know this hiring didn't happen overnight. Had this been announced a few months ago I'm not sure we'd be having this discussion. I do feel heartened that SFB hired Fogo (and I know they didn't hire her purely for diversity reasons, she's an EXTREMELY capable dancer, with experience in the classics, Balanchine, and modern stuff). I do just worry that ballet as an artform will get left behind in the US, and especially in a more progressive/activist city like SF. The longer we see stages and opera houses without black dancers, the more we'll alienate modern audiences, I fear. Misty Copeland has done a lot to shift the conversation about race in ballet, but this happened years ago, not months or weeks ago. Not to mention Kathryn Morgan's YouTube clips about body type and costumes in dance (but that's probably a separate discussion). Perhaps you know better than I, pherank! Where are these discussions/comments allowed? I suppose there is nothing from stopping me reaching out to the company directly
  5. I hope this isn't the only path forward for SFB to hire more Black dancers (and dancers of color generally)! I'm in no financial position to donate to the level to make an impact on that scale, but I wonder if there's a way to create a donor mutual fund of some sort? Clips I've seen of Julian MacKay do show that he's a lovely dancer with nice lines, and given his current family situation, I understand why he wants to be back in the USA. However, the more I think about it, I'm a little frustrated SFB didn't hire a dancer of color. MacKay was a first soloist at Mikhailovsky, not yet a principal, and he doesn't appear to have much experience with contemporary works, at least not on the scale SFB takes them on. Quick searches on other American ballet company websites show several dancers of color (who are tall, possibly to fill in for Di Lanno) at the Soloist/Principal level who SFB probably could have snapped up who seem at least as qualified as MacKay! (now, I don't pretend to know whether SFB had already tried this, but at least outwardly the optics don't seem quite appropriate) All this to say, I wonder if there's a way for lower level donors and balletgoers to push SFB more to more diverse hiring practices.
  6. Wow..... that certainly is unexpected. I've only seen clips of him on YouTube, etc. Seems to have really nice classical lines, long legs, good feet. I have to say, I never ever in a million years expected him to return to the US though - I distinctly remember seeing an interview of him online where he lamented the quality of ballet and ballet teaching in the US. I wonder what brought him back? Especially given how different SFB's rep is from Mikhailovsky. Fwiw, I did notice he also posted about a new modeling contract he signed too - perhaps SFB is able to offer more flexibility for him to explore other pursuits at the same time.
  7. I'm super glad most of the cancelled programs are returning! Wonder what the reasoning was for backloading all the full-lengths. They seem to be the big sellers, maybe it's with the hope that we'll have a COVID vaccine by then, so the later performances are less likely to get cancelled? Really really glad to see a new work by Danielle Rowe. sf_herminator, you bring up a good point about Giselle - I generally prefer SFB's Giselle to Swan Lake. I didn't realize it had been so long since they've last performed it! Hoping they bring Giselle back soon.
  8. I'm totally with you, Pherank. I only got to see Snowblind once, I definitely think it benefits from multiple viewings. It's dense, complex, metaphorical, but I think it's really smart ballet. The part I struggled with when I first saw the ballet is whether we're supposed to empathize with any of the characters. Not sure who, if anyone, was the hero of the story. Mathilde was a sweet and passionate Mattie, but SVP's portrayal of Zeena was so fascinating. Zeena's (SVP's) movement was so rigid and structured through the entire ballet, that it was sort of an interesting dichotomy - as such a sick, feeble character, her movement felt rather strong and rigid in juxtaposition to her physical ailments. At the end, it was only Zeena's rigidity and control that got Ethan and Mattie through their accident. Meanwhile, Mattie started as such a free spirit in the beginning of the ballet, and she only seemed to get more vulnerable as the ballet progressed. Especially upon a second viewing, it seems clear to me the characters' movement was supposed to be much more metaphorical than anything representative of their physical states. I think it may have been in a NYCB thread, but it came up that Christopher Wheeldon has some extremely challenging pas de deux choreography in his works. I have to say, many of Marston's choreographed lifts seemed at least as challenging. Especially on my second viewing, I was really struck by the pas de deux between Mathilde and Ulrikk. I thought it was beautiful. Anyhow, such an excellent ballet, and really well danced. Some nice variety too from a lot of the offerings of the various ballet companies the past few weeks.
  9. I was *so happy* to fill out the survey, especially since it seems like they're hinting at a more long-term streaming service! As an outsider, it seems like the artistic team is doing some serious good work to coordinate this digital arts presence. I feel very excited and optimistic about it. I would gladly pay for such a thing!
  10. I'm truly no expert here, but am genuinely curious. I'd assume they'd retain some level of rights to a piece if it were choreographed specifically for them? I can understand them not being able to publicly stream performances of Balanchine works, for example, but they've had plenty of work choreographed in-house. Maybe for Of Love And Rage there's the possibility that Ratmansky thought it wasn't yet ready for Primetime and wanted to rework some of it, but what about his Sleeping Beauty? They've broadcast their Swan Lake and Corsair on PBS, so I'd assume they'd be able to pull out some more recent recordings of either of those, at the very least.
  11. Just echoing what everyone else has said here. What the heck did I just watch?! They went to the trouble to film so many high profile people, but they would've just been better off showing actual performance or rehearsal clips. Way too much talking, not enough dancing. They should feature the real assets of the company - the dancers performing on stage! Not this random collection of depressing interviews that ended up feeling so out of touch with what the company actually has to offer. I've loved the offerings brought by SFB, NYCB, and others - so much so it has prompted me to donate to several companies. Echoing what was said above, it seemed like ABT was outright begging for money, rather than letting the quality of the performances to speak for themselves. I know SFB had a tiered donation system that unlocked access for various perks and performances with different levels of donation. It seems like relatively low lift for ABT to do similar.
  12. Wow I'm so glad SFB put this out. Mathilde Froustey dances with so much abandon and passion. What a wonderful Juliet. The sets, costumes, and music were all fabulous.
  13. Wow, that interview with Ashley Bouder was fascinating. I can't believe that point shoe thief story (well, two thieves?!). That's alarming, I certainly hope that doesn't happen with any regularity. I loved how well Ashley Bouder spoke about diversity and inclusion. She had such a great perspective and brings so much empathy. I loved how she advocated for a mothers' room at NYCB and that they finally got one! Her comments about female choreographers were particularly resonant, especially with regards to Anabelle Lopez Ochoa. I saw one of her works at SFB and loved it - couldn't believe I hadn't seen anything by her before. Bouder's right that so many of the "hot" choreographers today are so deserving - especially Wheeldon, Ratmansky, and Peck - so none of this is meant to diminish any of their work. There's no doubt that they have the talent and the skills to be where they are, but I loved that she brought up how many men are afforded so many choreographic opportunities, where it seems so many female choreographers aren't given remotely the same volume of opportunity. I'm thinking of some women choreographers I've seen recently - Ochoa, Cathy Marston, Danielle Rowe - have impressive resumes and have put out fascinating work, and I'd so love for them to have the same high profiles that the Wheeldons of the world have. Anyhow, I'm loving Megan Fairchild's interviews. She asks great questions.
  14. Didn't have time to jot down all my thoughts earlier (grocery trips always take longer than I anticipate these days!) - Aside from some of the concerns about guest performing brought up above, her comments about SFB rep did make me raise my eyebrows. SFB has always had strong Balanchine leanings, and though I've enjoyed seeing SFB in classics, I've never really thought of the full length classical pieces as SFB's wheelhouse. Not to say they aren't capable of the classics, but I truly think their biggest differentiators as a company are their modern rep pieces - especially stuff that has come out of the Unbound Festival - and their ties to Balanchine (through Helgi). Scheller got opening night casting for Sleeping Beauty her first year here, I wonder if that was negotiated by her? Otherwise, I'm surprised she would be brought in with the hopes she wouldn't be thought of as a Balanchine ballerina. After hearing the type of dream company Scheller described - heavy emphasis on full-length classics, long performing season, opportunities to guest and to travel - I'm not really sure if any American company at all could provide that for her. Many American ballet companies have Balanchine roots in some form, and very few regularly perform all the full length classics that I assume Scheller imagined. Perhaps ABT is more her aesthetic? They tend to perform a few more full lengths than SFB (plus they have things like Bayadere and Corsaire in their rep). I've not seen ABT perform live a ton in recent years, but from what I've seen their rep has less Balanchine and many of their ballets seems to have a brighter, more virtuosic aesthetic (mostly I'm thinking of how Cathy Marston's work wasn't super well received by ABT audiences but seems really well liked in SF). Nevertheless, I'm surprised Scheller joined SFB not expecting to be seen as a primarily Balanchine dancer. I do feel for her when it comes to SFB's condensed performing season though. It's probably really demoralizing to get injured in the beginning of the season and have most of the performances fly by before ever getting an opportunity to recover.
  15. Megan Fairchild interviewed Ana Sophia Scheller. warning it's a long interview - but Scheller talks about her decision to leave SFB right at the beginning of the interview. She cites the schedule as a big factor in her decision to leave - it makes sense, I've heard other dancers describe similar issues with the schedule.
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