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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    balletgoer, musician
  • City**
    Moved to San Francisco
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
  1. Not much interest in the 4Ts so far in this thread - one of my favorite Balanchine ballets. As a musician, I've always loved Hindemith. He knows the instruments, so his orchestrations keep each instrument doing what its good at. As a result, Hindemith is fun to play and listen to. And, given that the 4Ts was composed as a ballet for Mr. Balanchine (a 'mercy' commission by Balanchine because Hindemith had just emigrated from Germany and was unemployed), it is very unique. I went today and saw Sarah Van Patten and Tiit Helimets. I'd seen them some years ago thought it was one of the best Balanchine performances I'd ever seen. Raw and edgy but still intimate and emotional. When I saw them today I was not disappointed. I think Ms Van Patten's interpretation was even more nuanced and informed. And Mr Helimet's partnering was clean and flawless. (Why they don't dance together more is a mystery to me.) When they danced the 4Ts in New York a few years back, Ms Van Patten was singled out for her performance. I see why. I guess dancers have favorite ballets and choreographers. But there is something special now and then when a ballet and dancer are 'made for' each other. This was made for Ms. Van Patten or she for it. If she does it again, its worth seeing.
  2. It seems every Giselle cast is good. I saw Sarah Van Patten's Giselle last night and she was spectacular. Everyone knows she can act. So it was her level of dancing that impressed me. She and Carlos are becoming excellent partners. Can't wait for their Romeo & Juliet.
  3. In interviews Ms Van Patten tells the story of being selected for Juliet by John Neumeier at age 15. Imagine carrying a 3-act ballet at the Royal Danish at 15? Despite her emotional performances, there's some steel in this girl.
  4. When I think of ballerinas, I think of dancers who fill a stage for three acts. It is a four-dimensional presence. It lasts for meters as well as hours. There are the brilliant ones who floor me with their technique. And the emotional ones who fill time. And then there are those few ballerinas who you can't wait for or imagine what is coming next. Who you breath with and move with and feel with.
  5. Is the issue not so much compensation but the absolute control of the artistic director? I'd guess the ballet is the last bastion of dictatorial power in modern organizations. Who dances what role and when, is, as I understand it, decided by one person and not necessarily with an explanation. I can see why the dancers are asking for more respect. As a musician, at least I always played the music written for my chair. The conductor had little discretion in assigning that.
  6. Nice cover story on Sarah at Dance Magazine.
  7. I'd recommend the Inn at the Opera. Its across the street from the Opera house, not too pricey and has a good breakfast. It reminds me of the Hotel Opera in Copenhagen: same location, price & breakfast!
  8. From SFB's website: Opening Night Gala Performance - Thursday, January 19, 2012 Excerpt from CLASSICAL SYMPHONY Composer: Sergei Prokofiev Choreography: Yuri Possokhov Conductor: Martin West Jaime Garcia Castilla, Diego Cruz, Isaac Hernandez, Steven Morse, Benjamin Stewart, Matthew Stewart Pas de deux from THE DANCE HOUSE Composer: Dmitry Shostakovich Choreography: David Bintley Conductor: Martin West Sarah Van Patten*, Tiit Helimets, Pascal Molat ARIA Composer: George Frideric Handel Choreography: Val Caniparoli Conductor: Martin West Damian Smith TCHAIKOVSKY PAS DE DEUX© Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Choreography: George Balanchine Conductor: Martin West Vanessa Zahorian, Davit Karapetyan* Pas de deux from CONTINUUM© Composer: Gyorgi Ligeti Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon Conductor: Martin West/Pianist: Michael McGraw Sofiane Sylve*, Vito Mazzeo* Pas de deux from FLAMES OF PARIS Composer: Boris Assafiev Choreography: Vassili Vainonen Conductor: Martin West Frances Chung, Taras Domitro INTERMISSION SOLO Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach Choreography: Hans van Manen Gennadi Nedvigin, Garen Scribner*, Hansuke Yamamoto* San Francisco Ballet Premiere VOICES OF SPRING Composer: Johann Strauss II Choreography: Sir Frederic Ashton Conductor: Martin West Maria Kotchetkova*, Joan Boada* San Francisco Ballet Premiere Pas de deux from LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS Composer: Frédéric Chopin Choreography and Lighting Design: John Neumeier Conductor: Martin West/Piano soloist: Roy Bogas Yuan Yuan Tan, Alexander Riabko+ +Guest Artist courtesy of Hamburg Ballet NUMBER NINE Composer: Michael Torke Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon Conductor: Martin West Elana Altman, Dores Andre Courtney Elizabeth, Dana Genshaft Isaac Hernandez, Pascal Molat Ruben Martin Cintas, Anthony Spaulding
  9. I have heard these dancers include Sarah Van Patten, Pierre Vilanoba, Guennadi Nedviguine, Joan Boada, and Frances Chung. SFB is well represented in a good cause. I also heard the dancers are donating some of their personal items - signed shoes, etc - to the silent auction. Sounds like a great opportunity to mingle with some of SFB's finest.
  10. I've been hearing of a performance to benefit children in Uganda at Fort Mason in San Francisco that's by members of San Francisco Ballet. But I can't find anything specific about it. Anybody out there know more about this?
  11. I had a chance to see Wednesday night's Giselle and agree with all posters. Sarah van Patten and Tiit Helimets (sp?) were wonderful. There was a 5-minute span early in the second act that rivals the best ballet I have ever seen. People around me (I think me too) were literally holding their breath. And kudos to Daniel Baker and Alana Altman. Mr Baker brought an unusual solidity to Hilarion's character, as did Ms Altman to Myrtha. In the end there were no pure villains, heroes, or victims, making the ballet even more tragic.
  12. Funding and the arts has always been a difficult subject. Is selective support also passive censorship? Should we be concerned when a wealthy person chooses to sponsor one ballet instead of another? Or fund one choreographer over another? Does a benefactor's favorite dancer also get favored treatment by the artistic director (as some suspect)? I think it goes even further - are children from wealthier families who can afford private lessons, summer camps, and pointe shoes unfairly represented in the ranks of our companies? I bet there are a lot of tremendous 13 year-old dancers I'll never get to see because their families can't afford a pair of pointe shoes a week. Those with the cash get to choose. We get to watch. I remember the hue and cry when Nelson Rockefeller laid out the plans for Lincoln Center - demolishing stores, houses, and most of a neighborhood to achieve his vision. There are many times when individuals - regardless of their politics - are the only ones who can cut through the redtape and get significant things done; in the arts and elsewhere. At least we have individuals who are getting things done in the Arts.
  13. I saw R&J on Saturday and it was terrific. The entire cast was very good, especially Sarah Van Patten (Juliet), Pierre-François Vilanoba (Romeo), Pascal Molat (Mercutio) and Damian Smith (Tybalt). I can't say enough about how moving this ballet can be when the principals can act - and these four were outstanding. There were more than a few moist eyes leaving the Opera House Saturday evening. I'm going back this week to see Vanessa as Juliet and was going to see Maria Kochetkova as Juliet on Tuesday, but she was replaced with Sarah. I hope Maria is OK. I'm a sucker for Prokofiev so the evening was especially satisfying for me. I would have liked the orchestra to play stronger - more energetic, but they still sounded good. For example, the end of Act Two (where Tybalt dies) is frenetic music - almost out of control - it should be raw and almost frightening. It was loud, but still controlled. The best recording I've heard of this score is Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
  14. I recently saw SFB's Sarah Van Patten in The Little Mermaid and was knocked out. The mermaid role didn't seem too demanding dance-wise, but required tremendous range as an actress. She's known as a good actress, but this was something else. She tops my list as a dancer/actress. Who else has a favorite?
  15. No. Yes. You are. I really liked Opus 19. Perhaps it was the cast you saw? I thought there was a lot of Dybbuk in it, so the dancers needed to tell a story with the choreography rather than do steps. I would have also said there were quotes of Wheldon (lifts), Elo (port de bras), and Morris (partnering) except Robbins came first by about 40 years. And I'm amused that anyone can dismiss a Robbins ballet. I always think if I see a Larry Poons painting I don't get, or listen to Karel Husa that I can't hear, or read a Haruki Murakami novel I can't follow, that its me who needs to step up. These guys are good, and Robbins and Prokofiev are more than good.
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