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#FlashbackFriday


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20 minutes ago, Phrenchphry11 said:

Wow I'm so glad SFB put this out. Mathilde Froustey dances with so much abandon and passion.  What a wonderful Juliet.

The sets, costumes, and music were all fabulous.

And now you can watch the Kochetkova/Karapetyan version.   ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9idS0Bk-jM

Unfortunately the Kennedy Center seems to have filmed it like an opera, so it's much harder to get a sense of the overall scene and the Corps dancers movements.

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Posted (edited)

From the latest SFB e-mail:

"What's the next ballet? On Fri, May 15 at 3 pm PDT, it's Justin Peck's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming—with fresh pop tunes by M83 and a healthy dose of street-wear cool."

Edited by pherank
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18 hours ago, pherank said:

From the latest SFB e-mail:

"What's the next ballet? On Fri, May 15 at 3 pm PDT, it's Justin Peck's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming—with fresh pop tunes by M83 and a healthy dose of street-wear cool."

And NYCB is streaming his Pulcinella Variations starting the 15th as well.

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Posted (edited)

 

What's coming this Friday, May 22nd, 2020?

"We're celebrating the talent of San Francisco Ballet School this week, which would have been the School's Spring Festival. These annual School performances are both a way to showcase the next generation of dancers and an incubator for emerging choreography. Both are on display in this #SpringFestivalFlashback to 2016's Means to an End, featuring current SF Ballet dancers Natasha Sheehan, Nathaniel Remez, Alexandre Cagnat, Joseph Warton, and Davide Occhipinti before they joined the Company. It was choreographed by James Sofranko (then a dancer with SF Ballet, now artistic director of Grand Rapids Ballet)."

"What's next on the docket? On Fri, May 22 at 2:30 pm, you can see Christopher Wheeldon’s Bound To©"
 

SF Ballet School in Heliotrope:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgsGwihD678

"We miss celebrating the student's success this week in person, so we're celebrating online with the digital premiere of Faculty Member Dana Genshaft’s Heliotrope, made for the 2019–20 Trainees."

CAST

Olivia Brothers
Pemberley Ann Olson
Jamie Stevens
J. Teague Applegate
Alexis Francisco Valdes Martinez
Yu Wakizuka

The young audience (at the beginning) sound like they're at a concert.  😉

Edited by pherank
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Posted (edited)

Today's #FlashbackFriday at 2:30 PM PDT is Christopher Wheeldon's Bound To, which premiered during 2018's Unbound Festival.  Here is the link from their YouTube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfBbRjh5tf0.  This will also be shown on their FB page. 

At 3PM, the Meet The Artist Interview will be with Principal Dancer Tiit Helimets:  https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/videos/638805330179793.  

 

UPDATE:  Interview is with SF Ballet Orchestra Oboist Marilyn Coyne: https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/videos/638805330179793/?notif_id=1590184624571632&notif_t=live_video_schedule_viewer&ref=notif

Edited by sf_herminator
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On 5/22/2020 at 2:19 PM, sf_herminator said:

The interview with SFB Orchestra oboist Marilyn Coyne is excellent! She has played for SFB and ABT Ballet Orchestras for years so has memories of many eras, and she is very well spoken. Claire Sheridan asks the right kind of questions too. Please watch everyone!

https://www.facebook.com/sfballet/videos/638805330179793/

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Next up on Friday...

"Which ballet are we streaming this Friday, May 29 at 2:30pm PDT? Cathy Marston's Snowblind, the heart wrenching one-act adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novella Ethan Frome."

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Just watched the live stream of Snowblind...

I am in the odd position of finding that the video of Snowblind brings me more clarity on the choreography and story than the actual live performances did. And I think that has something to do with the fact that I saw the ballet from the side of the orchestra section, and that angled viewpoint did not serve the ballet as well. This central camera position that renders Snowblind as more of a tableau really suits the stage layout and choreography.

The entire ballet is so compressed in its actions, and there's so much intermingling of actual and psychological and metaphorical that I was definitely left a bit muddle-headed after the live shows. (Not to mention the fact that the movement of the ensemble dancers in between the leads made for visual confusion). But all is forgiven now that I can see the ballet as an almost flat-aspect Kabuki theatre.

Now I think the idea is that the free-spirited Mattie is completely crushed by a life of servitude for the Frome family. Love for Ethan would be the saving grace, but his wife Zeena naturally guards against any romantic overtures occurring between Ethan and Mattie. Everyone is kept in their place, and here, Hierarchy is the antithesis of Family.

The major portion of the ballet is affecting without really being revealing. It isn't until the last 'scene' that something rather profound takes place. For me, the ending signifies the transformation of the sickly, controlling Zeena into an actualized, spiritual whole. The glimpse of the bodies of Ethan and Mattie lying in the snow seems to bring on a psychological storm the result of which is a seemingly more accepting and unified Zeena. It is with Zeena's reanimation of the dead that we appear to pass through to a realm of metaphor and pure psychology. Whether that works or not is up to the viewer.

One little nitpick - the house lights went down a bit too fast as SVP, Froustey and Birkkjaer slowly sink lower, bound by each other's arms. That needed to be a bit more poetic in its fade (and I think in the live versions I saw more time was spent on the fade out).

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I'm totally with you, Pherank.  I only got to see Snowblind once, I definitely think it benefits from multiple viewings.  It's dense, complex, metaphorical, but I think it's really smart ballet.  

The part I struggled with when I first saw the ballet is whether we're supposed to empathize with any of the characters.  Not sure who, if anyone, was the hero of the story.  Mathilde was a sweet and passionate Mattie, but SVP's portrayal of Zeena was so fascinating.  Zeena's (SVP's) movement was so rigid and structured through the entire ballet, that it was sort of an interesting dichotomy - as such a sick, feeble character, her movement felt rather strong and rigid in juxtaposition to her physical ailments.  At the end, it was only Zeena's rigidity and control that got Ethan and Mattie through their accident.  Meanwhile, Mattie started as such a free spirit in the beginning of the ballet, and she only seemed to get more vulnerable as the ballet progressed.  Especially upon a second viewing, it seems clear to me the characters' movement was supposed to be much more metaphorical than anything representative of their physical states.

I think it may have been in a NYCB thread, but it came up that Christopher Wheeldon has some extremely challenging pas de deux choreography in his works.  I have to say, many of Marston's choreographed lifts seemed at least as challenging.  Especially on my second viewing, I was really struck by the pas de deux between Mathilde and Ulrikk.  I thought it was beautiful.

Anyhow, such an excellent ballet, and really well danced.  Some nice variety too from a lot of the offerings of the various ballet companies the past few weeks.  

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3 hours ago, Phrenchphry11 said:

Anyhow, such an excellent ballet, and really well danced.  Some nice variety too from a lot of the offerings of the various ballet companies the past few weeks.  

Yeah! Someone else actually watched the video. Well worth the time and energy.   😉

The "apron" PDD that you mention is somewhat in the same vein as Wheeldon's Bound To PDD, but rather less awkward, and better at conveying smoldering passion. With Wheeldon's PDD it's impossible to know exactly what the characters are supposed to be feeling towards one another, as it's overly complex.

For me, what is missing from Snowblind would be a fuller picture of Mattie and Ethan as people, and perhaps even a bit more interaction with the "townsfolk" to understand how these people fit within the community (or don't). The Zeena role is perfectly mysterious and haunting - I don't think it needs more. It's better to keep her a remote presence until near the end. But we barely get to know who Mattie is, and Ethan seems to be a suffering husband - that's all I get. The characterizations are interesting enough that a little more information wouldn't have hurt. But I'm sure there were constraints on the length of these ballets, and Marston seems to favor compact, abstract works over true narratives.

EDIT: I just wanted to add that the "town dance" scene has some nice little details - reminds me a bit of Ratmansky's approach in DSCH Concerto, and other ballets.

Edited by pherank
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For me the pas de trois at the end (admittedly, a "witnessed" pas de trois) made the ballet; I found it not just emotionally, but formally the most interesting section--in part,  because of the way it seemed to draw on and revise movements what we had seen before.  Until then, I found the ballet engaging but wasn't sure it would bear repeat viewing or that I would particularly want to see it in the theater. But that intrigued me...

 

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12 hours ago, Drew said:

For me the pas de trois at the end (admittedly, a "witnessed" pas de trois) made the ballet; I found it not just emotionally, but formally the most interesting section--in part,  because of the way it seemed to draw on and revise movements what we had seen before.  Until then, I found the ballet engaging but wasn't sure it would bear repeat viewing or that I would particularly want to see it in the theater. But that intrigued me...

Spoiler alert: Snowblind is not good fun.   😉
But it IS at times intense, poignant and thought provoking. It's really a shame that Marston's "Mrs. Robinson" didn't get to open this past season, as I think that ballet was intended to be more good-natured. But we won't know until it is performed somewhere in this world.

The first time I saw Snowblind in the opera house, I thought, "OK, that was heavy, but was it a successful mix of narrative and abstraction"? The 2nd time I saw it I was focused on the new cast, which included Madison Keesler in a lead role, so I just wanted everyone to do well - and yes, the 'acting' was still well done. The 3rd time I saw the ballet its inner logic was more apparent and I came to care less about trying to fit Snowblind in a particular category, as it was holding together for me.

Drew, what did you mean by "witnessed" PDT?

Edited by pherank
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43 minutes ago, pherank said:

Spoiler alert: Snowblind is not good fun.   😉
....

Drew, what did you mean by "witnessed" PDT?

(Kind of puzzled by the first remark....My questions about the ballet were whether it was coming to grips with its material in a formally and emotionally substantive way.)

”Witnessed” was a way to register that the ensemble  —which figures fellow townspeople though also, at times, other forces—is on stage and feels very much present (does not just disappear into the background) during the pas de trois.

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50 minutes ago, Drew said:

(Kind of puzzled by the first remark....My questions about the ballet were whether it was coming to grips with its material in a formally and emotionally substantive way.)

”Witnessed” was a way to register that the ensemble  —which figures fellow townspeople though also, at times, other forces—is on stage and feels very much present (does not just disappear into the background) during the pas de trois.

Sorry, "Snowblind is not good fun" was really directed at the general viewership. Definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

I get what you are saying now. When I first read "witnessed", it made me think of "Can I get a witness?!"

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Yes....I had trouble finding the right word for what I wanted to say....

Very grateful for these streamed performances from San Francisco! 

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6 minutes ago, Drew said:

Yes....I had trouble finding the right word for what I wanted to say....

Very grateful for these streamed performances from San Francisco! 

Yes, I am too.  One of those things that has made the last few months bearable.

For me, the word "witness" carries with it "old time religion" connotations that made me see those parts of the ballet differently. Which isn't a bad thing. I've never read Ethan Frome the novel, but I have read a synopsis of the work and that made me think it was a very bleak, depressing read(!). Not really my type of narrative. Thank goodness Marston decided to cut out most of the material and just focus on a particular group of scenes and feelings.

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Just finished watching Snowblind and I loved it.  This is the first time I am seeing anything choreographed by Cathy Marston.  Had I not read about it first, I would have been a little confused in terms of the corps representing snowfall and the elements.  Sarah Van Patten was so powerful and poignant in her portrayal.  Mathlide Froustey was very well cast as the young caretaker and was expertly partnered by Ulrik Burkkjaer.  This ballet is a dramatic one indeed and may not be loved by all audiences, but I truly enjoy these types of ballets.   I thought that the choreography was very effective in showing the depth of emotions that the characters were going through.  

 

 

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It's back (for 1 week):

SF Ballet in Arthur Pita's Björk Ballet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98yI2LT26lw

 

CASTING
Carmela Mayo, Elizabeth Powell, Dores André
 
Joseph Walsh, Ulrik Birkkjaer, Luke Ingham
 
Kamryn Baldwin, Gabriela Gonzalez, Ellen Rose Hummel,
Elizabeth Mateer, Norika Matsuyama, Skyla Schreter,
Miranda Silveira, Ami Yuki
 
Diego Cruz, Daniel Deivison-Oliveira, Joshua Jack Price,
Nathaniel Remez, Alexander Reneff-Olson, Henry Sidford,
John-Paul Simoens, Hansuke Yamamoto

Björk songs: “Overture”, “All Is Full of Love”, “You’ve Been Flirting Again” “Bachelorette”, “Vokuro”, “Frosti”, “The Gate”, “Hyperballad”, and “Anchor Song”


For people who don't know these particular dancers:

  • Dores André appears at 4:10 with partner Luke Ingham. And at 23:00 she rides in on a platform to eventually be joined in a dance with Ingham.
  • Carmela Mayo appears at around 8:20 for a solo variation. And again at 15:57.
  • Elizabeth Powell and partner Ulrik Birkkjaer are seen kissing at 7:32 while Dores André is held upside down by Luke Ingham. Powell appears again at 9:35 for a masked dance (eventually joined by Birkkjaer).
  • Joseph Walsh is the 'masked guy with the fishing pole' (I do like a good non sequitur) who dances at both the beginning and end of the ballet.
Edited by pherank
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On 6/6/2020 at 2:17 AM, pherank said:
 
Part 2
 

 

Out of curiosity ,  I took a look at SFB's roster of dancers.  The company is very diverse,  except for black dancers.  They have three, a soloist and two corps dancers,  and only one is American.  (All of them are sufficiently light-skinned to be racially ambiguous on stage.)  If they were really concerned about "systemic racism",  SFB would make an effort to hire black American dancers,  instead of virtue-signaling by hauling out a two year old panel discussion.

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