Jo Tomalin

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Sarah Van Patten and Luke Ingham in Morris' Sandpaper Ballet Photo Credit © Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet: Classical (Re)Vision – Program 2

Above: Sarah Van Patten and Luke Ingham in Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet – Photo Credit © Erik Tomasson
Jennifer Stahl in Caniparoli's Foreshadow. Photo Credit © Erik Tomasson

Jennifer Stahl in Caniparoli’s Foreshadow. Photo Credit © Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet present Program 2: Classical (Re)Vision February 11-22, 2020 at the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco.

Program 2 is fascinating because each performance varies in selected offerings. Stanton Welch’s Bespoke (World Premiere: April 24, 2018 – San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House) and Sandpaper Ballet by Mark Morris (World Premiere: April 27, 1999 – San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House) perform at each performance, with additional works by Director’s Choice – curated by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson.

On Opening Night, February 11, the program comprised five pieces choreographed by Val Caniparoli, Mark Morris, Helgi Tomasson, Stanton Welch, and Christopher Wheeldon.

The evening began with Bespoke choreographed by Welch and set to the violin concertos in A minor and E Major by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is a striking ballet for twelve dancers expressing their love for their art form through pristine technique, their career arc and abstract expression of time. Starting in silence, the ballet is light in movement with intricate choreography and footwork of a technique class progressing to sweeping moves across the stage in solos, duets and a combination of larger groupings. Rich lighting design by James F. Ingalls and white costumes with colored accented edges and shoulders complement each other visually. This performance featured Violin Soloist Cordula Marks.

After the first intermission three short and distinctly different pieces followed. This section offers a variety of choreography, music, and design elements in each very short piece.

World Premiere (January 16, 2020 by San Francisco Ballet 87thAnniversary Gala, at War Memorial Opera House) Foreshadow, choreographed by Caniparoli is set to music composed by Ludovico Einaudi. It starts with a beautiful and mysterious image of a dancer in silhouette in a palette of gray tones of lighting design by Jim French and Kate Share’s striking costume design of a silky gray dress, with others dancers following in grays, black and white. Beautifully danced with flowing movement and lifts expressing the push pull of relationships based on a literary love triangle from Anna Karenina, this brief and dramatic, piece is very compelling and a brilliant addition to this program. Dancers Jennifer Stahl (Anna), Tiit Helimets (Count Vronsky) and Elizabeth Powell (Kitty) perform visceral movement in duos and lyrical trios to moody foreboding rhythmic music.

Pas de Deux from After the Rain choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon is set to music composed by Arvo Pärt featuring Yuan Yuan Tan and Luke Ingham. This is exquisite partnering and dance quality, simply breathtaking!

Misa Kuranaga and Angelo Greco in Tomasson's Soirées Musicales. Photo Credit © Erik Tomasson)

Misa Kuranaga and Angelo Greco in Tomasson’s Soirées Musicales. Photo Credit © Erik Tomasson

Soirées Musicales, set to Benjamin Britten’s music and choreographed by Tomasson is dynamic with dancers Misa Kuranaga and Angelo Greco. The duo perform stately movement, elegant high lifts, pirouettes, lithe jumps, athletic leaps – all with a flourish – enveloped by rich blue lighting design by Kevin Connaughton, with costume design of red velvet with gold braid.

San Francisco Ballet in Morris' Sandpaper Ballet Photo Credit © Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet in Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet Photo Credit © Erik Tomasson

Concluding the evening, Sandpaper Ballet choreographed by Mark Morris, set to vibrant,  music from the 40s and 50s composed by Leroy Anderson, staged by Tina Fehlandt for twenty-five dancers is an extravaganza of color and movement.  Isaac Mizrahi’s intense green, blue and white costume design is a highlight together with the orchestral music of seasonal or quirky tunes that are full of humor and charm. The ballet is well performed with wit and quality together with Morris’s choreography, mathematical precision and outstanding timing of the large ensemble in the space.

The San Francisco Ballet Orchestra was conducted by Martin West throughout the program.

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Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
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