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Lynette H

SFB in London 2019

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Yuan Yuan riding the London underground with Angelo Greco and Sasha De Sola to visit the Tate Modern.

 

Natasha Sheehan and other SFB ex-trainees in London. In the background, to the right of Jospeh Wharton - it looks like Koto Ishihara (which is possible because she has been vacationing in Europe). But hard to know for sure.

 

 

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I was thrilled to be able to attend a goodly amount of the SFB season in London.  I wrote the below on the British board.  All I can say is that San Francisco is one lucky city.

 

very much enjoyed the performances (seven in total I think) I saw of the SFB while they were here.  I agree about the lighting - and there is no question but that the level of the dancing was fine;  VERY fine indeed. 

 

While certainly I missed Chung, Van Patten and Scheller (who I have long admired be it with NYCB or SFB), the ladies here in the London SFB company had many standouts.  I adored Froustey in Snowblind.  Those rich eyes have a morse code of their own.  A pensive alphabet kept flashing bright in their yearning.  Yan Yan Tan left me in wonder at the stealth of her elongated limbs as much as of her much appreciated longevity in no matter what work she appeared.  Totally adored Dores Andres - especially when she was matched with the superlative Joseph Walsh - be it in Ratmansky's Symphony No. 9, in Scarlett's Hummingbird or - and most crucially - in Peck's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.  I saw the latter work a second time with a new cast during the Saturday afternoon matinee and it was just not the same experience.  Far from it.  The first cast held the focus so ably forged by by the initial community of the noted whole.  The second definitely didn't.  It almost struck me as a different work - knowing that, of course, at root it wasn't.  The Scarlett was more but not as assured at that matinee as it had been with its first cast.  Still it made me wonder if the Peck too might have been different/more focused had the choreographer himself been somewhere in the vicinity - much as Scarlett was.  (I know this to be true in the latter's case as I saw him come out of a pass door just before the start of the Hummingbird matinee.)  Sasha De Sola is a true spirit of joy and glistened in whatever role she was given which happily was much.  Young Wona Park defines potential.  I also very much enjoyed Jennifer Stahl (so affectionately ridden in the Marston) and Isabella DeVivo, a force of blissful nature. 

 

This Company too is one rich - as is our own Royal Ballet just now - in male adjuncts.  (I so admired how male on male partnering at SFB became - or most assuredly has become - a matter of simple Outbound course.)  Each of the SFB men were a part of a considerable and certainly notable whole.  The aforementioned Joseph Walsh, the ever electrifying Ulrik Birkkjaer and our own (as already noted earlier on) hair-raising Aaron Robison each dazzled in Ratmansky's Chamber Symphony as the very spirit of Shostakovitch.  Surely this has to be one of the finest dramatic works created for a senior male dancer in the first quarter of this century.  Each man here mentioned honoured it exceptionally.  Luke Ingham and Vitor Luiz (who has guested with ENB) both showed themselves masters of the art of partnering.  For me there were three outstanding dancers in the younger contingent:  the truly remarkable Angelo Greco who managed to hypnotise but never blur in everything he took on;  Lonnie Weeks, who is a genius of soulful bounty.  His closing solo in Wheeldon's gloriously telling Bound To was so affectionately searing in its compassion so as to render this treatise unforgettable.  The audience sat - as a whole - agog at its wallop.  Benjamin Freemantle - a new SFB principal not unlike our own tower of ecstacy, Marcelino Sambe - has the capacity to make simple in the viewer's eye a string of steps which are far from being so.  Theirs is a test of true brilliance.  

 

This was a wonderful gift.  Thank you Helgi Tommason (as astute an SFB Artistic Director as he was a NYCB dancer)  - and thank you Alistair Spaulding for making this prize possible.  It literally broke my heart that the audience for your rich gifts was so undeservedly underpopulated throughout.  Perhaps the time for such has passed in London.  Educational failures may well have come home to roost.  I don't want to actually believe that is true BUT if it IS so it saddens me even more.  I want to see that balletic lexicon extended as each of these works - with the exception for me of the Pita - strove to do.  That said, I felt - throughout - entirely privileged to have been proffered the luxury to attend this feast of balletic colloquy.  The rapturous fruition of its elated intercourse will not only stay in but shall inform my soul for many years to come.  That much I know. I certainly will do what I can to pass such memories on. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, meunier fan said:

I was thrilled to be able to attend a goodly amount of the SFB season in London.  I wrote the below on the British board.  All I can say is that San Francisco is one lucky city.

very much enjoyed the performances (seven in total I think) I saw of the SFB while they were here.  I agree about the lighting - and there is no question but that the level of the dancing was fine;  VERY fine indeed.

Thank you for your thoughts on the performances, Meunier Fan. I just worried that the dancer's energy levels and focus would be sub-par due to massive jet lag.  ;)

It may have been unwise to schedule so many performances without knowing if the seats could be sold, but I doubt there is any time of year when London doesn't have dozens of arts events happening simultaneously. I guess they just hoped that enough buzz could be generated beforehand to steer people to Sadler's Wells, but I guess that wasn't so.

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6 hours ago, meunier fan said:

It literally broke my heart that the audience for your rich gifts was so undeservedly underpopulated throughout.

 

2 hours ago, pherank said:

It may have been unwise to schedule so many performances without knowing if the seats could be sold, but I doubt there is any time of year when London doesn't have dozens of arts events happening simultaneously. I guess they just hoped that enough buzz could be generated beforehand to steer people to Sadler's Wells, but I guess that wasn't so.

The timing may have been off for San Francisco Ballet to visit London given that the Royal Ballet's spring season has consisted of MacMillan's Romeo&Juliet, the triple bill of Fokine's Firebird, Ashton's A Month in the Country and Balanchine's Symphony in C, and the Margot Fonteyn centenary celebration. But then, as pherank noted, there may never be that "perfect moment".

Edited by miliosr

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On 6/10/2019 at 10:44 AM, meunier fan said:

I certainly will do what I can to pass such memories on.

For anyone wanting to "learn more", I highly recommend the SFB Blog's "Listen" and "Watch" pages. And the following Conversations on Dance interviews are fun and informative:

Mathilde Froustey
https://conversationsondancepod.com/2018/06/04/mathilde-froustey/

(Froustey and André are always entertaining - they both have thick accents though, so the English-speaking listener may need to repeat some sections to catch what is being said.)

Dores André
https://conversationsondancepod.com/2018/04/20/sfb-unbound-dores-andre/

Sasha De Sola
https://conversationsondancepod.com/2018/10/30/sasha-de-sola/

Sofiane Sylve
https://conversationsondancepod.com/2018/05/07/sofiane-sylve/

I don't think Joseph Walsh ever did a long interview with Breeden and Ferraro but we have these:
https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/videos/in-the-studio-learning-coppélia-with-dores-andré-joseph-walsh/10153805513131293/

https://sfballet.blog/2019/joseph-walsh-don-quixote/

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On 6/10/2019 at 10:44 AM, meunier fan said:

I was thrilled to be able to attend a goodly amount of the SFB season in London.  I wrote the below on the British board.  All I can say is that San Francisco is one lucky city.

 

very much enjoyed the performances (seven in total I think) I saw of the SFB while they were here.  I agree about the lighting - and there is no question but that the level of the dancing was fine;  VERY fine indeed. 

 

While certainly I missed Chung, Van Patten and Scheller (who I have long admired be it with NYCB or SFB), the ladies here in the London SFB company had many standouts.  I adored Froustey in Snowblind.  Those rich eyes have a morse code of their own.  A pensive alphabet kept flashing bright in their yearning.  Yan Yan Tan left me in wonder at the stealth of her elongated limbs as much as of her much appreciated longevity in no matter what work she appeared.  Totally adored Dores Andres - especially when she was matched with the superlative Joseph Walsh - be it in Ratmansky's Symphony No. 9, in Scarlett's Hummingbird or - and most crucially - in Peck's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.  I saw the latter work a second time with a new cast during the Saturday afternoon matinee and it was just not the same experience.  Far from it.  The first cast held the focus so ably forged by by the initial community of the noted whole.  The second definitely didn't.  It almost struck me as a different work - knowing that, of course, at root it wasn't.  The Scarlett was more but not as assured at that matinee as it had been with its first cast.  Still it made me wonder if the Peck too might have been different/more focused had the choreographer himself been somewhere in the vicinity - much as Scarlett was.  (I know this to be true in the latter's case as I saw him come out of a pass door just before the start of the Hummingbird matinee.)  Sasha De Sola is a true spirit of joy and glistened in whatever role she was given which happily was much.  Young Wona Park defines potential.  I also very much enjoyed Jennifer Stahl (so affectionately ridden in the Marston) and Isabella DeVivo, a force of blissful nature. 

 

This Company too is one rich - as is our own Royal Ballet just now - in male adjuncts.  (I so admired how male on male partnering at SFB became - or most assuredly has become - a matter of simple Outbound course.)  Each of the SFB men were a part of a considerable and certainly notable whole.  The aforementioned Joseph Walsh, the ever electrifying Ulrik Birkkjaer and our own (as already noted earlier on) hair-raising Aaron Robison each dazzled in Ratmansky's Chamber Symphony as the very spirit of Shostakovitch.  Surely this has to be one of the finest dramatic works created for a senior male dancer in the first quarter of this century.  Each man here mentioned honoured it exceptionally.  Luke Ingham and Vitor Luiz (who has guested with ENB) both showed themselves masters of the art of partnering.  For me there were three outstanding dancers in the younger contingent:  the truly remarkable Angelo Greco who managed to hypnotise but never blur in everything he took on;  Lonnie Weeks, who is a genius of soulful bounty.  His closing solo in Wheeldon's gloriously telling Bound To was so affectionately searing in its compassion so as to render this treatise unforgettable.  The audience sat - as a whole - agog at its wallop.  Benjamin Freemantle - a new SFB principal not unlike our own tower of ecstacy, Marcelino Sambe - has the capacity to make simple in the viewer's eye a string of steps which are far from being so.  Theirs is a test of true brilliance.  

 

This was a wonderful gift.  Thank you Helgi Tommason (as astute an SFB Artistic Director as he was a NYCB dancer)  - and thank you Alistair Spaulding for making this prize possible.  It literally broke my heart that the audience for your rich gifts was so undeservedly underpopulated throughout.  Perhaps the time for such has passed in London.  Educational failures may well have come home to roost.  I don't want to actually believe that is true BUT if it IS so it saddens me even more.  I want to see that balletic lexicon extended as each of these works - with the exception for me of the Pita - strove to do.  That said, I felt - throughout - entirely privileged to have been proffered the luxury to attend this feast of balletic colloquy.  The rapturous fruition of its elated intercourse will not only stay in but shall inform my soul for many years to come.  That much I know. I certainly will do what I can to pass such memories on. 

 

 

Gorgeous post, Meunier fan - so enjoyed reading it. (Wish I could have been there in London to watch it all, as well!)

 

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So thrilled to read your post, meunier fan, and your appreciation of the remarkable dancers of San Francisco Ballet. 

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I was one of those people who finished up heavily booked during SFB's two weeks and consequently only got to see two programmes, however I believe the hard core ballet fans turned out for as much as they could manage as I spotted a whole lot of familiar faces  sitting around me.

So much to admire, both dancing and choreography.  I'm pretty certain I won't see anything more impressive than the Ratmansky trilogy this year.  There are huge problems involved in bringing over companies now, both costs involved and dwindling audiences, it seems this company suffered from the latter.

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