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San Francisco Ballet: City Center


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I saw program #3 this afternoon. I just reread Alistair Macaulay's review of this program, and with the exception of Jorma Elo's "Double Evil" which

I liked better than he did (but didn't love), and "Ibsen's House" which I disliked more than he did, I share his assessment of this program.

This is the weakest of the three programs by far, and yet the dancers continued to shine.

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Greetings. I was in NYC over the weekend and had the opportunity to catch SFB's two final programs (Programs A & C) at City Center. I have quick impressions.

Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour is THE A-#1 hit of the run, for me and my favorite Wheeldon to date...and not just because it is set to music OTHER THAN Aarvo Part's! So lyrical and romantic, a woodland reverie for nymphs and satyrs, none as delectable as the final pdd by Tina LeBlanc (with bourees to die for) and Joan Boada. There were multiple delights in this incredible ballet, which will surely be the hit of the upcoming Kennedy Center run.

The other rather good work on view among Programs A & C -- beside the Balanchine, of course -- was Elo's Double Evil, with its tutu'ed ballerinas in outlandish positions and some very quickly-paced steps for both men and women, especially to the Phillip Glass portions...but still very pleasant.

I found Tomasson's On a Theme of Paganini to be merely a pleasant trifle, compared to the masterful Fifth Season from Program B, last week...but -- ah! -- it was my only opportunity on Saturday to admire the artistry of corps member Diego Cruz, who did not fail..and I was on Cruz Control! Ibsen's House was Tudor-Wanna-Be that went on far too long although the tall dark-haired lady dressed in all-balck (with the partner who seemed to be miming a heart attack) was a powerful performer; sorry, I do not recognize her. Fusion was a boring mess to gawd-awful music that had me longing for the door, except that I wanted to admire dancers like Feijoo, Yamamoto and, especially, the willowy and lyrical Yuan-Yuan Tan.

Among the dancers not seen during the previous weekend, the great relevation for me was pert and adorable principal Maria Kochetkova...but perhaps a tad too pert for Balanchine's Divertimento 15. Why does she constantly make googly-eyed faces? She should learn from the Kirov-Mariinsky's Evgenia Obraztsova on how to handle a beautiful face...allow the face to speak for itself.

All in all, a lovely and successful run by the San Francisco Ballet, introducing me to a plethora of talented world-class dancers.

Here's my final 'star rating' of all eight of their new ballets on view:

****** Within the Golden Hour

***** Concerto Grosso (due to the dancers, not choreography...it was AN EVENT!)

**** Fifth Season

*** Double Evil

** Paganini

* Ibsen's House

* Fusion

half-a-star Joyride

p.s. BONUS: It was fun spotting a number of famous NYC-based dancers and coaches in the audience...including Wendy Whelan sitting quietly behind me in Grand Tier, on Saturday night. One of Wheeldon's great muses, seeing a new Wheeldon ballet!

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