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SFB 2017 - Program 7: Made for SF Ballet


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Made for San Francisco Ballet is the title of this program, and there's an early teaser video available for Myles Thatcher's new ballet:

Ghost in the Machine

 

'The LA Times called Helgi Tomasson’s Trio, “elegant and engrossing.” The SF Chronicle said it was “sheer extroversion.” This program features the world premiere SF Ballet dancer Myles Thatcher's second new work for us, Ghost in the Machine. Christopher Wheeldon’s inventive and mystical Within the Golden Hour© completes this meditation on contemporary classicism and ballet at its best.'

 

Myles should get a copyright for his ballet's name too.  ;)

 

 

 

 

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Interesting trend in the Peck-era to link "West Side Story" like videos (with Robbins-flavored choregraphy and Bernstein-flavored music) to the stage versions, but in reverse order to that of the old days – the film here conferring authenticity on the stage version instead of the stage version authenticating the (Hollywood) film. Not that I'm complaining, I've always been a fan of big, lush cinematic production values.

 

The © almost looked like an emoji without my glasses.

 

 

Edited by Quiggin
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Very interesting to watch! Great stuff. Quiggin - I smiled when I saw your comment because my first thought was "In the Countenance of Kings" as I watched. The music, the short film aspect, the propulsive-yet-flowing choreography. I hope Nyman's whole score isn't like that, though - a whole ballet of that would be exhausting to the ears. (And here, I was thinking of the score to the movie The Piano when I saw his name. Certainly not my thought now!)

 

Bought myself a ticket to this program; am looking forward to enjoying it w/o having to write up a review.

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5 hours ago, Terez said:

 

Bought myself a ticket to this program; am looking forward to enjoying it w/o having to write up a review.

 

Terez, you get the gold star for seeing so many performances this year. I think that's great. But we're going to force you to tell us what you think about the program once you've seen it. ;)

 

The video style definitely packages things in a manner similar to "In the Countenance of Kings", and the music falls roughly within the same category as the earlier Sufjan Stevens music. The video is speaking to a particular audience, imo - teenagers through thirty somethings that only come to the ballet once in a blue moon. But whether Thatcher's  ballet actually has the same feel as the video presentation, that's the question.

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Pherank, it will be a delight to share what I thought about Program 7 without fretting that I'm using descriptors like: "it was nice" and "they looked great" and "the scenery really worked" and "I just thought they had a good vibe" and "the other one was nice too". That's the fun part (besides actually being there). 

 

Enjoyed your other comments above, too.

 

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3 hours ago, Terez said:

Pherank, it will be a delight to share what I thought about Program 7 without fretting that I'm using descriptors like: "it was nice" and "they looked great" and "the scenery really worked" and "I just thought they had a good vibe" and "the other one was nice too". That's the fun part (besides actually being there). 

 

Enjoyed your other comments above, too.

 

 

LOL

For the record, I'd be happy to see even the short statements such as, "I went, and had a nice time." Many thousands of people go to see SFB each season, but we don't get much in the way of written responses. I'm sure many audience members may not be confident in their writing skills, or don't like the idea of having their words hanging about on the forum for years, but I don't think those things prove to be worth worrying about. There are far worse things in the world - this should be one of the fun things to do.

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Casting is up for opening night (https://www.sfballet.org/season/casting):

 

PROGRAM 07 - MADE FOR SF BALLET


Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 7:30 pm

TRIO
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson
Conductor: Martin West

Sasha De Sola, Vitor Luiz

Sarah Van Patten, Tiit Helimets
Aaron Robison^

Maria Kochetkova, Angelo Greco^

 

World Premiere
GHOST IN THE MACHINE

Composer: Michael Nyman
Choreographer: Myles Thatcher
Conductor: Martin West

Vanessa Zahorian^, Joseph Walsh^
Sasha De Sola^, Steven Morse^
Dores André^, Carlo Di Lanno^
Isabella DeVivo^, Esteban Hernandez^
Ellen Rose Hummel^, Max Cauthorn^

 

WITHIN THE GOLDEN HOUR©
Composer: Ezio Bosso and Antonio Vivaldi
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Conductor: Martin West

Vanessa Zahorian, Joseph Walsh
Sarah Van Patten, Luke Ingham
Maria Kochetkova, Vitor Luiz

*Denotes premiere in role for current production.

^Denotes premiere in current production.

Program Notes

 

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The casting is up for the three weekend shows and I am relieved that I get to see Lorena Feijoo one last time, in Trio, and Vanessa Zahorian in all three ballets, concluding with Within the Golden Hour.  Also, Jaime Castillo Garcia will be back on stage!

 

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I hear Thatcher's Ghost in the Machine received a standing ovation on opening night - that's some great news.

 

Sasha congratulating Myles:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BSh8NwuDIr-/?taken-by=sashadesola

 

Dores André posted this quote from Myles on her Instagram page:

'“I feel grateful for this bubble I live in,” Thatcher says. He says he is deeply troubled by the new administration’s failure to display what he considers, “fundamental human respect for people – especially people with disabilities, transgender people, and women.” Among Thatcher’s friends, many of whom are also artists, he says “the anger is palpable.” Together they’ve marched on the streets. “I have privilege,” he says. “I will never know the struggles of minorities. It’s important for me to know when to speak up, but also when not to, because I can’t presume to know these struggles. But I can be an ally; I can do my part to be supportive.” @mylesthatcher you are my hero.'

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BShmsR0hLte/?taken-by=doresandre

 

Edited by pherank
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‘Golden Hour’ tops a glowing SF Ballet program — Allan Ulrich
http://www.sfchronicle.com/performance/article/Mixed-repertory-program-at-SF-Ballet-comes-11055136.php

KQED Interview with Myles Thatcher


"With one more week till opening night, how do you feel about Ghost at the moment? Have you turned to anyone for feedback?"
"Helgi Tomasson, artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet, has given me a lot of room to make artistic decisions. He’s very hands-off. I sent a video to Alexei Ratmansky and he had some good feedback. But there’s nothing better than stepping away from a piece for eight months and then coming back to it, which I did. My problem is that I always want to stuff too much into a ballet. Editing is the hardest thing. What I need to work on now is building authentic emotional cues between the dancers. Sometimes this is tricky, because we are so used to ballet mime."

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We saw this program last night - wonderful!  Particularly loved Dores André and Carlo Di Lanno in Golden Hour.  And, after the first part, Ghost ramped up to thrill with a variety of creative forms.  A question about the music in the trailer for Ghost in the Machine:  where exactly is this from?  I know its by Michael Nyman.

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2 hours ago, yodasan said:

We saw this program last night - wonderful!  Particularly loved Dores André and Carlo Di Lanno in Golden Hour.  And, after the first part, Ghost ramped up to thrill with a variety of creative forms.  A question about the music in the trailer for Ghost in the Machine:  where exactly is this from?  I know its by Michael Nyman.

 

Welcome to the forum, Yodasan.  ;)

 

The music in the trailer is "Wheelbarrow Walk" which I believe appeared in the Peter Greenaway film Drowning by Numbers (but it's played much more slowly in the film). The ballet uses a number of different Nyman pieces, I believe.

 

Here's the fast version:

https://www.amazon.com/Wheelbarrow-Walk/dp/B01C6RHX40/ref=sr_1_3?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1491767021&sr=1-3&keywords=Nyman+wheelbarrow+walk

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32 minutes ago, yodasan said:

Thank you!

 

I don't know if you care, but the idea behind the music is kind of interesting:

 

"On Greenaway's specific instructions, the film's musical score by Michael Nyman is entirely based on themes from the slow movement of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante in E flat, bars 58 to 61 of which are heard in their original form immediately after each drowning. Greenaway alerted Nyman to the potential of this piece in the late 1970s and had previously used it as material for part of the score of his The Falls and for "The Masterwork" Award Winning Fish-Knife and Tristram Shandy.[5] "Trysting Fields" is the most complicated use of the material: every appoggiatura from the movement, and no other material from the piece, is used." [Wikipedia]

 

Greenaway's films are intellectually fascinating, but not particularly easy to sit through. The cinematography is often gorgeous (if you are a photography buff).

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Well, Program 7 was absolutely lovely, and I would like nothing more but to see it all again next year, but alas, 2018 will be a busy season already. I loved "Trio," but compared to "Ghost in the Machine," it was pretty tame, choreographically. I was utterly dazzled by Sarah VP and Tiit H. in the second movement of Trio, tho. i think this is the first time I've seen VP dance all season (and, obviously, last season) and she looked fabulous. Some of those turns with Tiit - wow. Crazy about the way she'd throw her whole body into all of it. So happy to see she still has that distinctive style (and that she's not joining the other principals in announcing a retirement!).

 

In "Ghost in the Machine," Myles Thatcher's choreography was very exciting to watch - I felt like it was fresh, innovative and nicely classical. Although I felt like the "I am a sad dancer" motif that came up midway, with Sasha de Sola looking alone and downcast (as intended) center stage, was sort of overdone. It's like we were spoon-fed "now, this is where the dancer feels SAD and the others respond." Sometimes I get frustrated when a ballet seems too abstract; this time, I felt like it could profit from a little MORE abstraction there, more subtlety. Sort of the dance version of the writer's "show don't tell." Nonetheless, it was a thumbs' up. Ditto, "Within the Golden Hour." Wow, that final ending, where the dancers are connected and gently undulating as the lights dim and the curtains go down. So nicely done. And beautiful costumes, there, and in Trio. Also in Trio's favor was that I'm crazy about Tchaikovsky's "Souvenir de Florence." A feast for the eyes/ears. Lots of great dancing; I didn't jot down names (yay, no review assignment!) but I do remember feeling pleasantly surprised that Jaime Castillo Garcia was not not in just one but two ballets. Good heavens, I've seen more of him in the last few months than I have in the last [more than] few years. He looked good. 

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2 hours ago, Terez said:

So happy to see she still has that distinctive style (and that she's not joining the other principals in announcing a retirement!).

 

She's a rebel.  ;)

Actually there's a few veterans that don't look to be in any hurry (thank goodness) to end their careers. Lorena may have reached that point when the body is just not responding as expected, and she knew it was time. That, or risk permanent disabilities.

 

Thanks so much for the write-up, Terez. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed "Ghost" - most everyone has commented that the sad/downcast solo for Sasha doesn't quite work, so hopefully Myles will tinker with that part. Balanchine would have made changes to anything that isn't working. It's important not to regard one's own work as being too 'precious' to touch.

 

Let me add that "Ghost" would be a good candidate for Program 3 of the 2018 Season ("Included in the program will be a select world premiere from our 2017 Repertory Season").

Edited by pherank
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On 4/21/2017 at 2:46 PM, pherank said:

 

Let me add that "Ghost" would be a good candidate for Program 3 of the 2018 Season ("Included in the program will be a select world premiere from our 2017 Repertory Season").

 

Oh, wow, I didn't notice that mention! I was wondering why none of the world premieres had made it to the 2018 season. Agree that "Ghost" would be the best bet, between "Salome" and "Optimistic Tragedy." Although, I did enjoy the performances of the latter two. It's just that there was a lot of explanation involved, both in the program notes, and in the choreography itself, which made it all seem more like dance theater than pure dance. Not a bad thing, mind you. But it would be very interesting to get an audience survey of which one the average person would like to see again. (My rebel answer: Within the Golden Hour. I know, I know, not a world premiere...)

 

Pherank - I wonder how much pregnancy/childbirth/parenting plays a role in a dancer's desire/ability to have an extra-long career, such as what we're seeing with YY. Surely having a child puts challenges on the body. I think that's one reason I was so happy to see Sarah VP dancing so well - I'd been wondering if it might be hard for her to bounce back.

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2 hours ago, Terez said:

 

Pherank - I wonder how much pregnancy/childbirth/parenting plays a role in a dancer's desire/ability to have an extra-long career, such as what we're seeing with YY. Surely having a child puts challenges on the body. I think that's one reason I was so happy to see Sarah VP dancing so well - I'd been wondering if it might be hard for her to bounce back.

 

I would think parenthood could a make big difference in a dancer's career choices, and longevity. Of course it depends upon the individual to some degree. Lorena Feijoo returned to dancing after her daughter was born, but it has to be very stressful looking after a young child and maintaining a career that demands peak physical conditioning. YYT and Sofiane have avoided that 'pitfall' thus far, and continue to dance at a high level. It has to be a tough decision to make.

 

I think Vanessa and Davit may be thinking of starting a family - and time is running out -  so they made the career change. That's just my guess though - I don't know that for certain.  ;)

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