Category Archive for: ‘Carol Benet’

San Francisco Ballet Program 2 “Kaleidoscope”

SF Ballet Program 2 “Kaleidoscope”

Carol Benet

The San Francisco Ballet excels in presenting new and classical works.  With a troupe that is adept at both classical and modern dance, it brings these two modes together in Program 2, “Kaleidoscope”, with a classical work by Balanchine to Mozart and Benjamin Millepied’s “Appassionata” to Beethoven and a spectacular ending with “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” by Justin Peck to recorded popular music.

It seems strange to say that Balanchine is classic but with “Divertimento No. 15” to the music of Mozart, a six-movement chamber piece, he stages a ballet with tutus and all.  The costumes by Karinska distinguish the corps de ballet from the five principals and three men.  The corps is in white, the five in pale yellow.  True to Balanchine he groups the principals in the uneven numbers of the five women and three men allowing uneven configurations of dancers when they dance together.  There are 8 in the co, a more even and classical grouping.  And Balanchine also, despite the 18th century music dictating the choreography, invents unique dance position within this classicism are unique.  The thirty-five minute dance allows many solos, pas de deux, and ensembles that are strikingly well performed.

The second piece is to Beethoven’s demanding piano solo “Appassionata” played by Naral’ya
Feygina.  It is an exercise in romanticism despite its recent creation by  Benjamin Millepied, the famed choreographer of the movie “The Black Swan”.  With a set designed by Camille Dugas that has three huge entrance portals whose colors by lighting designer Jim French change while the three pairs of dancers enact mini-love scenes with their impassioned dancing.  The three women are Mathilde Frosty, Jennifer Stahl and Madison Kessler who dance with their partners that sometimes change from one to another from time to time.  The men are Henry Sidford, Aaron Robison and Steven Morse.  These changes tell part of the story, one that becomes more and more frenetic with the very passionate music.  Alessandro Sartori’s costumes keep the couples separate. The women’s wild long hair, so unlike the slicked back hair styles of ballet dancers are part of the frenzied movement.  This is a exciting new piece that has its SF Ballet premiere this season.

The last work is a reprise from the Unbound Festival last spring at the Ballet.  “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” by Justin Peck is danced by soloists and a corps.  It harkens back to the 60s with the women in ponytails and everyone wearing tight pants, either long or short, flashy material.  The music is electronic and pulsing.  Does André with her sometimes partner Joseph Walsh set the tone for the other two couples who are Elizabeth Powell with Luke Ingham and Gabriela Gonzalez with Ulrik Birkkjaer.  The dancing becomes wilder and wilder as it progresses in this spectacular creation by one of today’s best know choreographers Justin Peck.

SF Ballet Program 2 “Kaleidoscope” will please a wide audience of all ages.  It runs through February 23, 2019.

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