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SF Ballet Gala

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It was my very first Opening Night Gala! It was very exciting. I'm afraid I'm not that great at describing performances like some of the wonderful folks here on the board, but I'll tell you that I had a lot of fun! I was inspired to work even harder in class the following day (and still am).

Here are my thoughts/descriptions of the first half of the evening. I hope to write about the second half when I'm not so busy!

The evening opened with the orchestra and audience in a very reverent rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. Everyone got to their feet and sang. What a fitting tribute -- I realized that I had guessed right that Balanchine's Stars and Stripes would be the finale.

The actual program started with The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, which is one that I saw first a few years ago and enjoyed immensely. This one, headed by Julie Diana, was certainly wonderful. She is very much a buoyant dancer, dainty yet full of energy and precision for the number.

Aquilarco was an interesting, more modern dance with latin flare. Stephen Legate and Kristin Long presented a few flamenco arms and even some basic salsa! Ms. Long did some death-defying leaps into Mr. Legate's arms, which drew gasps from the audience. This was a very rousing number, full of continuous movement.

One scene from Nacho Duato's Without Words was portrayed very movingly by Katita Waldo and Parrish Maynard. They seem to have really grown into this role -- when it was first performed awhile ago, the dancers hadn't appeared to have fully captured the unique, flowing movements and strong emotions. These two interacted very tenderly, as if afraid of losing one another. It was quite powerful in a very lyrical way.

The biggest surprise and treat for me of the evening was Muriel Maffre in The Dying Swan. I thought I was going to cry during parts of the short piece. I had never seen it danced live before, and Ms. Maffre used her long arms well to accentuate the Swan's beauty and fragility. She seemed to me a swan who didn't want to die yet, but had resigned herself although she fought feebly and exuded sheer desperation at some points. Wow.

The pas de deux from Paquita ended the first half, with the fiery Lorena Feijoo and elegant Vadim Solomakha. They looked wonderful together, Solomakha's light jumps and softer style a nice complement to Feijoo's almost commanding, noble presence. I was very pleased to see a time-honored, very classical pas included in the program. You can't go wrong with Paquita!

All right, Part II to come later ...

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: linsusanr ]

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