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SFB 2017 Season Program 5: Contemporary Voices


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SFB has posted a teaser photo for the Salome ballet to their Instagram page - featuring Dores André. Mathilde Froustey was expected to debut in Pita's Salome, but she stated online a couple of days ago that her injured foot is not quite ready to dance, so she may not be seen in Program 5. My prediction is that we are going to get to see the younger dancers in soloist roles for this program.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRHUdESgf54/?taken-by=sfballet

 

Fusion
Composers: Graham Fitkin and Rahul Dev Burman
Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov

Salome
Composer: Frank Moon
Choreographer: Arthur Pita

Fearful Symmetries
Composer: John Adams
Choreographer: Liam Scarlett
 

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Casting is now up for opening night of Program 5 (https://www.sfballet.org/season/casting#p5)

PROGRAM 05 - CONTEMPORARY VOICES
Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 7:30 pm

FUSION
Choreography: Yuri Possokhov
Music: Graham Fitkin and Rahul Dev Burman
Conductor: Martin West

Lorena Feijóo, Hansuke Yamamoto
Lauren Strongin*, James Sofranko
Frances Chung, Jaime Garcia Castilla
Yuan Yuan Tan, Luke Ingham*

 

World Premiere
SALOME

Choreography: Arthur Pita
Music: Frank Moon
Conductor: Martin West

Salome: Dores André*
John the Baptist: Aaron Robison* 

 

FEARFUL SYMMETRIES
Choreography: Liam Scarlett
Music: John Adams
Conductor: Martin West

Jahna Frantizkonis, Frances Chung, Isabella DeViVo, Lorena Feijóo,
Ellen Rose Hummel, Emma Rubinowitz, Jennifer Stahl, Yuan Yuan Tan

Max Cauthorn, Esteban Hernandez, Luke Ingham, Carlo Di Lanno*,
Vitor Luiz, Joseph Walsh*, James Sofranko, Wei Wang

 

*Denotes premiere in ballet.

 

In the event of injury or illness, casting is subject to change.

 

Program Notes:  http://read.uberflip.com/i/774855-2017-sfb-program-05-notes

 

Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7P2GTywYL8&feature=youtu.be

 

Edited by sf_herminator
added links for Program Notes & Trailer
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Hmmmm. I think Walsh and Di Lanno have danced in every program so far - time to give those boys a rest. Ingham is dancing a lot too.

Robison and Greco are both dealing with all new repertory so I can understand why they wouldn't be used as much, yet. Still it will be good when things are more balanced.

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The Program 5 Salome premiere, which I was forced to miss, went over well with dance writer Claudia Bauer

http://dancetabs.com/2017/03/san-francisco-ballet-fusion-salome-premiere-fearful-symmetries-san-francisco/

 

"Herodias chooses John the Baptist, Aaron Robison on opening night, as the one who is to die, and Salome sets on him, by turns seducing and strangling him. André and Robison were a lioness and a gladiator, pitted in a dance battle from which only Salome will emerge in one piece. Both dancers seem to instinctively grasp Pita’s choreography, which is decadent and guttural, stripped of all extraneous movement and morally ambiguous."

 

On Scarlett's Fearful Symmetries: "This year’s casting did give a deserving showcase to rising corps dancers Jahna Frantziskonis, Max Cauthorn and Esteban Hernandez; they and the rest of the strong cast elevated the work."

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I was there Thurs pm, and wow, it was some show. Will report back with my own impressions later today, but I just wanted to contribute this link to Janice Berman's review, and wow, she did NOT like it.  http://www.sfcv.org/reviews/san-francisco-ballet/new-salome-mediocrity-unveiled. I'm fascinated by the variety of opinions being voiced. A bit like Frankenstein, it would seem, with less agreement than usual among the usual top 5(ish) reviewers. Is it just me, channeling the tensions of the polarized US political situation right now, or is there more heated disagreement going on this season? I saw that Ann Murphy and Allan Ulrich have offered their two cents' worth, as well. I quite liked Claudia Bauer's review - a great, informative read in all ways.

Edited by Terez
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6 hours ago, Terez said:

I was there Thurs pm, and wow, it was some show. Will report back with my own impressions later today, but I just wanted to contribute this link to Janice Berman's review, and wow, she did NOT like it.  http://www.sfcv.org/reviews/san-francisco-ballet/new-salome-mediocrity-unveiled. I'm fascinated by the variety of opinions being voiced. A bit like Frankenstein, it would seem, with less agreement than usual among the usual top 5(ish) reviewers. Is it just me, channeling the tensions of the polarized US political situation right now, or is there more heated disagreement going on this season? I saw that Ann Murphy and Allan Ulrich have offered their two cents' worth, as well. I quite liked Claudia Bauer's review - a great, informative read in all ways.

 

We'd love to hear your thoughts about the production, Terez.

 

Berman's review is certainly entertaining to read. There are many of us in the dance audience that do not want to see excessive "theater" injected into dance productions. That does seem to be the way of the world right now, though. Truly great choreography doesn't require the stage trappings, as we know, but this is the age of Media, and we're going to see a lot of these hybrid productions. I'm wondering if it makes sense to place Salome in the middle position - seems like more of an end of the evening piece. Although semantically speaking, I like that it comes between "Fusion" and "Fearful". I'm sure Tomasson was vexed about where to place this 'ballet'. And how will he measure success in this case?

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Watching Salome, wholly entertained by it unfolding onstage, the thought DID cross my mind that, wow, for all the wonderful theatricality of it, the great acting (just loved Val Caniparoli and Anita Paciotti as Herod and Herodias - and both André and Robison did a fantastic job), none of the actual dancing was staying in my mind, producing a "wow" feeling in me, the way Liam Scarlett's choreography, for example, will do. It was all about the amazing feeling of seeing a stretch limousine roll onstage, and the astonishing amount of confetti that kept being shot out from cannons in the downstage wings, watching Dores André, etc. The final pas de deux between André and Robison was very well done - some of that aching, imploring feeling that the final pas de deux in Frankenstein brought, although with obviously different motivations behind it, of course! I felt pretty riveted by the whole thing - a little unnerved at the very end. Although I would have loved to see Froustey do this, I thought Dores did an incredible job. She's really stepping up to the plate and doing a bang-up job as a principal this season, it seems to me. Nice to see.

 

I just loved Possokhov's Fusion. Those men in skirts - wow, did that work well. I was slow in getting to my seat, so I didn't get to read program notes, and the ballet was new for me, so I'd had no idea they were representing whirling dervishes, at first. I just thought, hey, men in skirts. That's a good gender-bending tactic. Loved the ensemble effort of the quartet - it went beyond their being spot-on; they really did exhibit this serene spirituality that worked so well for me. All four couples did such a great job. So nice to see Yuan Yuan Tan performing; this it the first time I've seen her since last spring. The pas de deux with her and Luke Ingham was incredibly good.

 

I missed Fearful Symmetries last year, but I saw the complaints about it looking too dark onstage, and they seem to have remedied that. I find that little coda at the end, new music/pacing/costumes/couple to be baffling. It's like Scarlett (or Adams) was given an extra two minutes' worth of music at the 11th hour and told "do whatever, just make it beautiful." The way the lights shut off just before, and just after - again, what was the point of that? It felt so abrupt. There was so much to like here, but it was so endlessly propulsive, it started getting hard to appreciate. I saw that SFB had some footage on their FB page and site, of Scarlett talking about the ballet, while showing five minutes of rehearsal time mixed with performance footage, and I enjoyed watching that over and over. I felt like only then could I appreciate the choreography. That's the problem with some of this fast-paced stuff (much like In the Countenance of Kings) - I honestly can't enjoy it fully. My brain wants a breather. Thank goodness Adams' score was melodic and likable - I'd been worried that it was going to be an atonal composition.

 

In the end, I'd say I quite liked the program - maybe more than I liked Program 2, actually. I think I liked Frankenstein more than Salome - my thought upon seeing the former was, "I want to see it again! Soon!" I can't say that about Salome, actually. It had a sort of delicious shock value that might get old if one were to attend 2 or more performances in the same season. And the confetti cannons, shot off so effectively the first few times, started getting a little "done that already" by the third and fourth time. Sometimes more is less.

 

Edited by Terez
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Thanks Terez! You've been able to see a lot of ballet lately, and that's a good thing, what with the "changing of the guard" happening now.
If I had only known that 2015 - 2016 were going to be the golden era for SFB, I would have payed more attention.  ;)

Ann Murphy's Salome review
http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/10/san-francisco-ballets-new-salome-has-david-lynch-style-touches/

Allan Ulrich's review
http://www.sfchronicle.com/entertainment/article/S-F-Ballet-s-Salome-erotic-repellent-10992671.php

Rita Felciano's review
http://www.danceviewtimes.com/2017/03/a-double-treat-at-sfb.html

Pita's work keeps getting compared to David Lynch's film/TV work. I have an appreciation for Lynch's large-scale film/TV work, which makes me ask myself - Does one dance to David Lynch?

Well, there are two famous dances that occur in Twin Peaks, the first being Audrey Horne's dance at the diner:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b64KyEFVhg

And the other(s) being Leland Palmer's various song and dance moments, all of which are disturbing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_JutJRMSrc


EDIT: And then there is the dancing dwarf in the Red Room - that dance, like the Leland Palmer dances, has a kind of Vaudeville song and dance reference to it.


I'm not sure one can really make a ballet around such mentally/emotionally unstable moments and leave the audience feeling 'enriched' or even thrilled. But I'm all for giving something a try. I'm not sure we're going to see Pita's work again next year though. Pita may want to take the ballet to another company where it may be a better fit. I keep wondering if Mathilde Froustey is feeling bad that she's not able to dance the role, as was originally intended. I could never get a read on what she thought of the production and rehearsals, and usually, she expresses her appreciation for a good project without reservations. Salome would seem to fit her personality, but her reticence kept me wondering if she was having reservations about the whole project.

I haven't seen Fusion myself, but it seems to fit the times we are in. Yuri's Whirling Dervish idea sounded like a good one. I saw Fearful Symmetries with a couple of different casts last year, and that was enough for me. Not enough depth; not enough explication of the music within the choreography. But Scarlett definitely has his fans.

Edited by pherank
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Enjoyed your comments, Pherank. It will indeed be interesting to see if it shows up next year. Although with their New Works Festival, it's hard to imagine finding room amid the tried-and-true repertory the patrons will flock to. I wasn't really following the SFB at the time of their 2008 New Works Festival. Am wondering what the season is going to be like. And you have a good point, Pherank, on wishing we'd known all the changes that were going to come about this year (actually, the last couple of years). I have an uneasy feeling I will miss out on the chance to see Davit Karapetyan dance again, and that thought makes me sad. Ah, well. With departures come promotions, and that's been a lot of fun to follow over the past few years.

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