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#FlashbackFriday


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SFB started #FlashbackFriday two weeks ago, dropping a full length ballet on its YouTube channel for one week.  First up was Stanton Welch's Bespoke, which premiered during 2018's Unbound Festival and returned on Program 2 this year.  Next up was David Dawson's Anima Animus.  This work was also part of Unbound and was scheduled to return on Program 5.  I just finished watching Anima Animus and saw the next ballet scheduled to drop tomorrow at 3:30 PM PDT.  It it Let's Begin at the End, choreographed by Dwight Rhoden for the Unbound Festival.  You can get a reminder to tune it with others during the premiere:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiLKBkgVMY8.  There should be a Meet the Artist interview as well.  Preceding last week's premiere of Anima Animus, there was a Meet the Artist interview with Corps de Ballet dancer Joshua Jack Price.  He was scheduled to dance Bottom in the Saturday 3/7 matinee performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

 

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Is it just me, or does SFB seem confused about how and where to advertise these videos and classes?
They've also got the SF BALLET @ HOME page (which currently advertises Anima Animus ) on which the current streamed video can be watched.

https://www.sfballet.org/sf-ballet-home/

They really should consolidate things and just point people to the YouTube presentations since YT can handle large amounts of traffic. There's no great benefit to using Facebook(?) video streaming and YT.

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Various thoughts about the latest video:

I haven't seen much of Dwight Rhoden's work, so I can't really comment on how different this ballet is from his other work - what kinds of new risks he's taking, and such. Let's Begin at the End features a lot of symmetrical arrangements, similar to Dawson's Anima Animus in that respect, but with a single, intervening character to introduce something off-balance to the mixture. A great title, btw. I'm not sure if it's literally true - the piece feels as though it could be circular narrative: an endlessly repeating pattern throughout life. Rhoden's movement language appears more curved and rounded to my eye -  less spiky and angular than Dawson's approach in Anima Animus. With all the symmetrical arrangements going on, it's the moments of asymmetry that grab my interest. It's in those brief moments that the real story lives.

More powerhouse dancing from the team. I say "team" because the SFB company looks tightly integrated and balanced when appearing together in these UNBOUND Festival works. It's never a case of two "stars" surrounded by a Corps of obviously inexperienced 2nd tier dancers. All performers appear confident, well-rehearsed and capable in the many technically demanding and emotionally draining passages. Everyone is capable of musical and lyrical movement when it's required, and bravely athletic outbursts. No one in this company appears risk-averse in these experimental works. I can imagine the dancers had all kinds of doubts about pulling off a 12 premiere program, but all the mental dross rarely seems to effect what actually happens on stage. It's all energy and 100% commitment to the choreography.

Again, we have powerful performances from Frances Chung and Angelo Greco. Chung is marvelously consistent as a lead dancer. And Esteban Hernandez (in a role that couldn't be more different from his more recent Oberon outing) pleases as a hyper-athletic "shadow" figure mysteriously dogging and perhaps commenting on Greco's character. [When I went back and listened to Rhoden's interview with SFB, he referred to Hernandez's character as an "energy" or maybe "Cupid", but I would have to say he's a Cupid or Puck without a sense of humor.]

Some of Rhoden's choreography for groups contains some really nice moments - especially in the group dances arranged perpendicular to the stage front. But he also has many passages in which everyone is dancing the same steps and then the real attraction for me is the kinetic rhythm that gets built up. More variation and individual details would be welcome in those parts. I do like how he choreographs stage entrances and exits. During one pas de quatre for the women, a danseur suddenly races across the stage behind them -  it's kind of a non sequitur but adds interest. Those are the kind of details I would like to see Rhoden develop more to add humor and commentary on the main action.

I noticed a number of off-balance leaps and spins - on the diagonal. Is that  typical for Rhoden? Greco has trouble on the landing of one particularly huge spin, but it's hard to care given how go-for-broke Greco is. Taking risks, whatever the cost, seems to be central to this piece. A perfect subject for Greco and Hernandez.

It's awfully hard to steal the spotlight from Frances Chung and Angelo Greco these days, but when Jen Stahl and Ulrik Birkkjaer were on stage I found my attention pulled to them. And it wasn't just the physical contrast - I thought they had great stage presence in this performance. I really enjoyed both of their their PDD's. Birkkjaer never fails to please and the pairing - one that I wouldn't normally think of - is something I'd like to see again, and soon.

Chung has been criticized in the past for lacking an expressive face, but that doesn't seem to be an issue in these video releases (filmed in 2018). She's learned how to better project her character/role out to the audience. Frances has the whole package these days.

Freemantle and De Sola looked great together as well. Freemantle was really looking like a principal dancer by this point of the season.

People often comment that they can't put their finger on the SFB 'style', but that makes it sound like SFB's visual impact is completely eclectic and inconsistent. After viewing, now, 4 archival videos released in the last few weeks (including Midsummer Night), I find nothing confused, distracting, or unnecessarily contrasting in either the ensemble dancing, or the pairs dancing to ever make me think there is no unified approach at work.
 

Unbound Choreographer Interviews: Dwight Rhoden
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ9xdHLR6Oc

Conversations On Dance with Dwight Rhoden
https://conversationsondancepod.com/2018/06/11/dwight-rhoden/

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Posted (edited)

Today's Meet the Artist interview at 3 PM PDT is with Principal Dancer Jennifer Stahl per their FB page (https://www.facebook.com/sfballet). No word on the #FlashbackFriday work, but on their YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/user/SFBallet/videos) they posted a short clip from Trey McIntyre's 'Your Flesh Shall Be A Great Poem' - so I hope that's what we will see today. 

Edited by sf_herminator
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3 hours ago, sf_herminator said:

Today's Meet the Artist interview at 3 PM PDT is with Principal Dancer Jennifer Stahl per their FB page (https://www.facebook.com/sfballet). No word on the #FlashbackFriday work, but on their YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/user/SFBallet/videos) they posted a short clip from Trey McIntyre's 'Your Flesh Shall Be A Great Poem' - so I hope that's what we will see today. 

You called it, SF_Herminator.  ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBlIQ4B_ls0

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Posted (edited)

Looks like Edward Liang's 'The Infinite Ocean' will be the next ballet up for view.  A short clip with the choreographer is now up on their YT channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ib_dgFFWfY

And at 3 PM PDT, Yuan Yuan Tan and Luke Ingham will be the Meet the Artist interview per the FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/videos/262833534888443/

 

Edited by sf_herminator
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Is there some kind of War Memorial Opera House rule that states that the tallest man in the audience must sit directly in front of the camera?
During the bows I always feel like I'm watching Mystery Science Theater 3000, with Crow and Tom Servo silhouetted against the screen.

FEA-MYSTERY-SCIENCE-THEATER.jpg

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SF Ballet just posted this announcement:

Don’t miss Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet streaming on SF Ballet @ Home on Fri, May 8 at 2:30 pm PDT (for one week only!), featuring Mathilde Froustey and Carlo Di Lanno in the title roles, and the 2015 Live from Lincoln Center broadcast performance on Lincoln Center at Home on Mon, May 11 at 2:30 pm PDT featuring Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan in the title roles.

It was always a treat to get to see Karapetyan dance, and now that he has retired to teach, this is the only chance anyone will get to see him in action. Don't miss it.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/1/2020 at 3:00 PM, sf_herminator said:

Meet the Artist Interview is now live:  https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/videos/295841518086003/

Related to #FlashbackFriday and #TheInfiniteOcean:  Yuan Yuan Tan will speak with choreographer Edwaard Liang at 2 PM PDT via Instagram Live.

Yuan Yuan Tan's IG:  https://www.instagram.com/tanyuanyuansf/

Edwaard Liang's IG:  https://www.instagram.com/edwaardliang/

Both are public so you should be able to access if you are not following either artist or not on IG.  I'm not sure on which IG this will stream so I am posting both.

I saw this via SFB's IG stories:  https://www.instagram.com/stories/sfballet/

UPDATE:  It's on SFB's IG - here is the link:  https://www.instagram.com/sfballet/live/

Edited by sf_herminator
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3 hours ago, sf_herminator said:

Romeo & Juliet Act 2 beginning shortly:  

Oh finally, a production in which Mercutio is wounded under Romeo's arm. It makes me crazy that most productions omit this detail, because I hate the whole drunken-Tybalt-stabs-Mercutio-in-the-back thing. Thank you, Helgi Tomasson. :flowers:

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7 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

Oh finally, a production in which Mercutio is wounded under Romeo's arm. It makes me crazy that most productions omit this detail, because I hate the whole drunken-Tybalt-stabs-Mercutio-in-the-back thing. Thank you, Helgi Tomasson. :flowers:

In the Meet the Artist interview with Froustey and Tomasson they talked a bit about how Tomasson wanted realistic fighting, so that's one of the strengths of this version.

https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/videos/233737757898751/

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