Alonzo King’s Double Delight, YBCA, November 16

19 Nov

In addition to the second night of Lines Contemporary Ballet fall season at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theatre, titled The Propelled Heart, originally created in November,2015, Alonzo King introduced Muriel Maffre as his company’s new Executive Director, beloved dance figure as San Francisco Ballet’s principal dancer, occasional guest artist with Lines, recently Executive Director for the Museum of Dance and Theatre. King also held a widely-attended evocative post-performance conversation with his guest artist Lisa Fischer.

The Propelled Heart seems to have had some of its impetus in the writings of Sri Yukteswar of India; he describes five states of the human heart and eight impediments to its unfolding. King, noted for his visual and technical courage, here attempts to embody these states and struggles with his marvelous eleven dancers and guest artist Kendall Teague. With Axel Morgenthaler’s superb lighting, the dancers commence King’s commentary on the floor, bodies bent forward over their legs facing stage left; it was a breathtaking vision as if they were delicate brush strokes in an East Asian painting, enhanced by the filmy curtains shading from white to grey to total shadow during the two-part work. The entire work possessed this painterly quality, the struggling patterns of arms, legs and torso like the progression of an apprentice painter or sorcerer.

Accenting the exploration, the women danced minus pointe shoes, their phenomenal stretches, turns and balances losing nothing in quality. Strolling physically through most of the sixteen parts was singer Lisa Fischer supported in sound by J.C. Maillard, multi-instrumentalist musician with his strong affinity for African music. In her fringed, slightly trailing, sleeveless cloak, Fischer was a presence wending her way from upper stage left in serpentine fashion, accent, commentary and complement to the movement, her vocal contribution frequently a full-throated instrument common to Flamenco and Indian music, sound and mood freed from verbal specifics. Never touching the dancers, her empathy and connection to a body moving nearby was like a private discovery, the dancer responding with an arm gesture, a torso ripple, a leg or arm raised as accent. Fischer’s contribution, fully integrated with the dancers, was minimally connected with words, emphasizing mood and feeling, expanding an aural power fully through the course of the sixteen individual pieces. With Maillard’s sounds, the quality and movement range of the dozen bodies were fully displayed, lyric to spasmodic, King’s remarkable gift as a ballet master.

Considering that The Propelled Heart has been “revived” following its 2015 premiere, I held a distinct memory of Fischer’s first collaboration with King. She then seemed relatively static, taking a position here and there at stated intervals. Here she was full participant, making this rendition of The Propelled Heart a thrusting towards an ultimate, mysterious destination, the ending a hoe down by the company before an off balance, fleeting male solo signaled the curtain to fall with a swift whushing sound. The audience erupted in substantial standing approval.

This was the night King gave a post-performance talk with Fischer; the number of post-performance participants lingering was impressive; nearly all the orchestra and a handful in the mezzanine stayed to listen.

King and Fischer were asked to give their versions how they came to collaborate. King gave his metaphysical version and Fischer a more human tribute to her manager who she says take care of her. What followed were words in distinct palpable tones of the value each gives their collaboration, cheering evidence of the joys of working with another artist. Fischer emphasized “trust” with the arm free of a mike swinging wide to underscore the emotion she felt. King was riveted, listening.

Because I was so impressed with the seamless quality of the production, I asked how long it took to bring the work together. Instead of comments on hours, weeks, rehearsal breaks, etc., King provided a metaphysical, emotional grounding of the work, leaving me a bit abashed at the different level of response. It’s clear King knows and has around him individuals who would respond to such nuts and bolts curiosity, one of those eight impediments.

This was the only such question. The other exchanges were emotionally directed. One elicited from Fischer an incident in Brooklyn where she initially trusted and then ignored the feeling in the back of her neck when she and her companions had their car hyjacked. She said she would never again ignore that feeling in the back of her neck.

I came away appreciating the the rapport of the two artists,a warmth in a collaboration indicating a new phase in Alonzo King’s creativity. With Maffre, Fischer brought us and King double delight.

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Oakland Ballet’s Dios de la Muerte November 3

12 Nov

Oakland Ballet’s artistic director Gordon Lustig has a canny instinct and a wonderful ability to attune himself to Oakland’s ambiance. He demonstrated this with wonderful clarity Friday November 3 when Oakland Ballet joined forces with the Mexican Community in the form of Luna Mexicana to celebrate a deeply Chicano tradition, Dios de la Muerte, at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre. The audience was near capacity and had been preceded by two daytime presentations for Oakland school children at the Paramount. If you had been there, the audience response let everyone know just how apt was concept and collaboration. A celebration for all ages and a repeat from a year ago. Oakland Ballet had also participated in some six day public school programs the end of October, guaranteeing the interest would be high in this one-night-only Luna Mexicana.

Before the performances started, Graham Lustig, in white face and a dapper jacket, came out to thank supporters, sponsors and announce the impressive number of school children exposed to this annual Mexican tradition.

Oakland’s company didn’t do it alone, however, but engaged the Aztec ensemble, Nahui Ehekati and Co, to open the program with their extravagant and flourishing feathered headdresses,if rather perfunctory choreography. Their performances would benefit from some respectful coaching.

Following feathers and solemnity, Terri Baune played Bach’s Chaconne for unaccompanied violin for dancer Ramona Kelley executing the majestic solo created by Jose Limon in the ‘Forties. While one conjures Limon’s size in the sweep of the port de bras and supple bending of the torso, garbed in black, Kelley’s execution conveyed some of sweet solemnity implicit in the choreography.

The solo was followed by exuberant youngsters of Ballet Folkloric Mexico Danza romping across the stage with energy and spirit before intermission.

Prior to the second half the President of Oakland Ballet’s Board and a Spanish translator spoke briefly.

Graham Lustig’s Luna Mexicana focused on the traditional altar upstage center which found a young girl carefully preparing lights for the altar which had Our Lady of Guadalupe as its centerpiece. In her multi-yard yellow skirt and jacket, [which made you want to consult a seamstress immediately] the girl’s attentiveness drew a variety of ancestors from their resting places. Perhaps the most intriguing were the skeletal couples, she in green behind the white skeletal paint. The Oakland dancers danced simply, effectively. Also noteworthy were the shifting projections around the altar, some of them evoking leafy papel picados.

The audience responded vociferously to the ten-member Mariachi ensemble from Jalisco, Mariachi Mexicanismo with its two horns, a bass guitar, two guitars and a quintet of violinists garbed like their compadres in the silver ornamented trousers and jackets, sporting the wide-brimmed hats one sees in every cliche of the sleepy Chicano. The violinists also sang both solo and with two others, and the collective peppy rhythm and swooping strings were an irresistible invitation to the audience responsiveness.

The ensembles all came on stage for a brief finale and were greeted with warm,
appreciative applause. It’s clear if Lustig wants to repeat the program or a version of it in 2018 and onward, a similar response is very likely. What helps to increase this likelihood is so the dancers can enjoy additional performances; need I repeat that Lustig is one canny gringo?

Korea’s Gugak Kwan at Zellerbach, October 28, 2017

9 Nov

Almost a decade ago the Korean arm of the East Asia Institute at U.C., Berkeley presented a marvelous dance program at Herbst Hall. Since then, there has been precious little presenting of Korean traditional music in the Bay Area that I have known about, excluding the scattered appearances at the annual Ethnic Dance Festival programs at the Palace of Fine Arts. Before The Asian Art Museum closed its doors in Golden Gate Park, Aislin Scofield,in her role as Program Manager for the Museum, used to program West Coast appearances of traditional Korean musicians and dancers. For those beguiled by the special nature of the Hermit Kingdom’s music and dance it’s been quite a desert.

Fortunately, the University of California, Santa Cruz has on its music faculty one of those intrepid Korean women determined that the tradition be seen, heard and appreciated. To this end Hi Kyung Kim, who serves as the artistic director for the Pacific Rim Music Festival, brought the Gugak Kwan from Seoul for at least three performances in the area, two at Zellerbach, and at least two at the Festival. A UC, Santa Cruz organized Festival, active since 1996, it has an impressive record of premieres, and this year fostered several premieres by western composers using traditional Korean instruments.

I was lucky enough to see the tradition in Korea in 1966. While unable to hear the remarkable collaboration in the afternoon, I did witness the traditional Korean court and folk music and dance in the evening. In the sonority of its woodwinds and rumble and thunder of its drumming, combined with the colorful court costumes of the Yi Dynasty, the Korean Government has seen to it that the formal tradition, as well as its folk heritage, is alive and well.

Before the auditorium performance, a large ensemble, dressed in the white garments traditional to Korean peasants, paraded into the Plaza between the UC student buildings and the steps of Zellerbach. Gongs, horns, and the hourglass changgo were played by the musicians who wound around in serpentine and circular patterns to the delight of the audience headed inside.

Once the preliminary remarks were delivered by Mathias Tarnopolsky and Kim Hi Kyung [Korean name arrangement], the raised curtain revealed horizontal lines of musicians with the kayageum sanjos [koto-like] in front bowed by women in brilliant silk, their heads adorned by black hats with ear flaps and gold-trimmed black square, a headdress repeated throughout the formal ensembles. Throughout the program the musicians were seated, tailor fashion, on the floor, with the music director, garbed in green, appearing from stage left with a clapper to commence and conclude the music, the sole standing musician.

Sujecheon was the first of four numbers performed before intermission, and one of three requiring the full orchestra. The deliberate tempo and irregular rhythms formed the accompaniment of the king’s departure from the palace in the 19th century. The main melody is played by the piri, and then is picked up by other instruments.

Geomungo Sanjo followed, the koto-like, six-stringed instrument played with a bamboo stick, with one of two types of drums as accompaniment. Unlike the koto, the sound seems lower and more gutsy, and is reinforced by the accents of the drum. The exposition starts slow at what seems like a deliberate pace, taking what seems a terribly long time to gain in speed and liveliness. The interplay between the sanjo and drum musicians seemed like a private chat. The program noted the length of the piece can vary from ten minutes to an hour.

Gagok, Taepyeonggo, the one vocal number employing singers. Here both a male and female singerwere seated in the center front of the orchestra, the man in a rich golden garment, the woman in a blue skirt with a white top. They sat throughout their assignment like traditional portraits while the orchestra went through their paces just behind them.

A quartet of percussive instrumentalists preceded intermission with Samulsori – Smdogarak, featuring a small gong, the changgo or hour-glass drum, the bok or barrel drum and the jing or hand held gong. The music reflected the tastes of farmers’
music making which has subsequently been adopted nationally.

Following intermission. Seungmu or Monk’s Dance, provided the only tradition of Korean dance on the program. The dance, named 27 of the Intangible Cultural Heritages by UNESCO, is performed by a soloist, male or female, shrouded in a lengthy-sleeved over blouse, in this instance black, head covered by a white cone-shaped cap, feet encased in the pristine white Korean shoes with upturned tips, and here, the exponent sported as under garments electric teal blue pajamas. Byong-Jae Choi was male, slender and gifted in the production of sustained pauses, enhanced by the length of torso, legs and arms. I rarely have seen such a sensuous use of feet, angled, stretched or slowly placed, quite accented by his white retrousse-tipped shoes. The length of black sleeves and the serpentine floor pattern accented the rise and fall of Choi’s shoulders and the alternate rise and fall of left and right sides of his torso. The exposition was slow enough to rivet focus and admiration for dance and dancer, the tension rising to the emergence of the drumming sticks, followed by the ceremonial striking of the drum. The movement forward and back beside the drum preceded the frontal percussive attack. This phase of drumming hit on the top, sides and center of the drum hung from a sturdy wooden frame, added to the impression, the rythyms enhanced by the location of the strikes. Then the sticks were withdrawn into the flowing sleeves and Choi’s hands clasped together in obeisance. Seungmu was accompanied by a sextet of wind instruments.

UNESCO’s Important Intangible Cultural Property Number Five of Korea is the folk opera form called pan-sori, a standing solo singing form usually accompanied by the hourglass drum, the changgo. My prior exposures to this gutsy narrative has been with women singers, including the late Kim So-Hee, herself named a Cultural Treasure. Here the exponent, Heo jeong-sung, male and garbed in pale lemon, was young and somewhat reticent, but still effective in the timing and style with which he accented passages with a fan. Heo, a handsome young man, seemed more the drawing room ethnomusicologist than the traditional professional exponent I was fortunate enough to experience.

The concluding orchestral number, Pyeongjhoesong appeared to pull out all the stops, both in the array of musicians and instruments, strings and winds, with an inevitable accent by drums. The program notes indicate the notes have been transposed down a fourth from the first version. Whatever the explanation and audience unfamiliarity, the impact of these grave-faced tailor-seated young musicians was masterful. I am afraid the Gugak Kwan’s visit may not be very frequent, but for gravity, sonority and visual splendor it ranks among the very special treats Cal Performances has made possible to its audiences.

Stanford Live presents Akram Khan

30 Oct

Akram Khan was the feature of an opening meeting at Stanford University Monday October 16, but the audience had to wait until October 27 to witness his 60 minute program at Stanford Memorial Auditorium. Well worth the wait, though the ink of the program notes was so faint that even under glaring light and enhanced lenses, one labored to read the information. For visitors unfamiliar with the Stanford campus, signage and lighting weren’t helpful either. The Farm, as it has been frequently labeled, can be blase to strangers.

Those negatives stated, Until The Lions is a work of enormous power rendered by a gathering of splendid artists, practically all frequently European based, Asian by birth, training and practice. I simply cannot envision a production of such simplicity, mystery and intensity coming out of the North American continent. Added to the artistic core, the supporting and presenting list are both heavy-duty, virtually world-wide and clearly worth every form of the coin expended on the production.

The Stanford campus also lends itself to such an event with the presence of trees, bushes, patios and space, to say nothing of the presence of a number of students and personnel from South and Southeast Asia. The semi-vaulted architecture of the Memorial Auditorium, with its Mughal-like emphasis of height, possesses chiseled lists of Stanford students dying in World War II and the Korean Conflict. Their names are prominent near the ground floor entrance to the auditorium, reminding one of the anomaly of history lurking around potential performance pleasure. And the women ushers, many who could be mothers, neighbors and colleagues, gave you programs, guiding you to the correct door with matter-of-fact courtesy.

The audience, seated in twilight intensity, also could observe the stage, with out curtains, its halo of spot lighting descending over a circle-like space seen the nearly level auditorium location, chosen to illustrate this ancient epic of what goes around, comes around.

Three artists of enormous emotional and technical range, Rianto from Indonesia, Ching-Ying Chien of Taiwan and Joy Alpuerto Ritter, an American trained at the Palucca Schule in Dresden, honed in on the complicated story of Amba, one of a trio of princesses, her pride, rejection by her choice of husband and rejection by the man who had humiliated him. [I had to refer to a synopsis of the plot to understand the attenuated nature of Amba’s revenge, which, in turn determined the intense quality of the work.]

The physical ability of the artists was unadulterated, awesome; bends, sustained leg lifts sometimes combined with a forward or backward reach of the torso, ceasing just this side of contortion. With drumming near constant and eerie technical sounds which I neither identified as to type nor classified as music, the spotlights bore down in various configurations appropriate to the intensity of situation conveyed by the artists. The artists swoshed into violent movement or paused, drawing on the breath, sustaining a position to the dismay of another character, principally Rianto as Bhimsa and Ching-Ying Chien as Amba. Ritter brings on a mud-hued oval and sticks it upon a stake at the outer edge of down stage right, a focus of attraction and retreat until the end when it is borne to the upper circle and,turned towards the audience, revealed to be a skull. Ritter was the seeress, the medium, still, contained, the shadow present, unknown harbinger of the future.

Chien moved through various emotional stages – pride, rejection as she lay on the floor legs spread to receive the warmth and essence of a man but robbed of fulfillment, the experience – then on to the rage accompanying rejection and determining vengeance, slowly, deliberately brought Bhimsa (Rianto) to his fate. All this was achieved with elongated patterns of sound, movement of hands and torso towards an end clearly obvious, but conveyed with attenuated cacophonous tension unbearably strong, an inner, cyclic justice beyond words. As members of the musical ensemble came forth with slender poles, one’s emotions supplied the necessary flames for the funeral pyre.

Until the Lions,, Khan’s sixty minute condensation of feminine vengeance, is a theatrical master work.

Larry Burgoon, 1938-2017

23 Oct

Larry Burgoon, though born in Oklahoma, spent some of his formative as well as last years in Texas. After being valedictorian for his high school in 1956, Larry majored in Fine Arts at the University of Texas, graduating in 1960 with high honors from that discipline, and, apparently, the only one to do so.

While the obituary notices said little about his early training or when he arrived in California and only that he has a life-long passion for dance, he considered Jean Marinocco and Michael Brigante two strong influences. No dates were given regarding his arrival in San Francisco, but I have a strong memory of him teaching at San Francisco Dance Theatre, when the studio occupied the floor above an annex of the Postal Office on Van Ness under the auspices of Penelope Laigos and Kelly Johnson. He choreographed for their company and danced for
them and a variety of Bay Area ensembles, a practice common then as well as today. Larry belongs solidly among the contributors to the burgeoning dance world in the Bay Area during the ’60’s and ’70’s, a yeasty, if somewhat little recorded and regarded period in Bay Area dance history.

A physically small dancer, he probably would have been pigeon-holed as demicharactere in traditional ballet hierarchy, but there was nothing “demi” about his training or his deportment. Larry taught widely, both for summer intensives as well as for academic organizations probably during his SFDT sojourn as well as following. There was not much follow up after that organization ceased, and it was a surprise to learn that he had returned to Texas where he died September 20, 2017, just days following his 79th birthday.

Margie’s Forty-Third at The Atrium

21 Oct

The Atrium at San Francisco’s Veterans Building was encircled for many years by the paintings, sculptures and drawings of the San Francisco Museum of Modern
Art (SFMOMA), with its fortunes presided over by its initial director, Grace McCann Morley.

When SFMOMA moved to its modern housing on Third Street, the space quickly became the residence of the San Francisco Law Library, coinciding with the renovation of San Francisco’s City Hall. At its fringes was the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum (SFPALM) until the title was changed to the Museum of Performance and Design (MPD). These name changes were swiftly followed by the long-scheduled retrofitting of the Veterans Building which brought some welcome changes for artists appearing at the Herbst Auditorium. But it also brought a major overhaul to the fourth floor and the Atrium itself, which acquired the name of Diane B. Wilsey Center.

Modern dance lovers were accorded was possibly their first major view of the
fourth floor and its reconfiguration through Margaret Jenkins Dance Company’s
43rd season October 11-14, the audience itself on October 13 quite a statement on the current and aging hip dance audience. In the Education Studio, reigning over the proceedings was, of course, Margaret Jenkins, honey-colored hair half way down her ramrod straight back, sculptured silver necklace resting on her chest. After mentioning that it was difficult to speak to everyone in the round, she met the challenge with thoughtfully paced statements about the decision to create a work which could be viewed in a living room, performed anywhere and came out of a series of discussions of her and the dancers’ formative family experiences. The result was some thirty-six performances as I remember including six in Sweden, where Margie had taught fresh from training with Merce Cunningham. Reading about various Bay Area venues in preceding months,it was an ingenious way to keep the ensemble together and working.

It was this work consuming the first thirty minutes of the evening, followed by a wine offering of some fifteen and then a forty-five minute stint in the new
auditorium, Unlike the photographic images, and obscured by the audience members in front of me, were plastic objects in red, a chair, a table, a standing lamp and I think some round balls. One of the dancers at the diagonally opposite corner remained immobile for some time; in profile she struck me that her facial features could have placed her in a floral hat, dipped to one side, back bone straight, sitting in a de rigeur ‘Thirties afternoon women’s social gathering. The small, slender and exquisite Chinchin Hsu seemed to spend most of her time rearranging the red set objects, sometimes deliberately, sometimes in a rush. Brendan Barthel, Corey Brady, one time ODC member, and Kelly Del Rosario alternately regarded space, found themselves in physical contact, wrestling. If this piece from “Site Series, Inside, Outside” evolved from personal remembrances, domestic tensions and joint compulsions were clear.

After the voluble break, the audience flowed into the entrance to the Taube Atrium Theatre to enjoy wine, apparently courtesy of Trader Joe’s on Hyde and California, before moving into the part of the old atrium which has been partitioned off for performance. I believe that the Jenkins company is the first dance ensemble to employ its use for the premiere of “Skies Calling, Skies Falling.”

The theater looks as if it has collapsible risers; the seats are spanking new, off white in design, square like with decided arm rests. The configuration allows for a central aisle. Carlos Carvajal and I sat at stage level in seats reserved for the handicapped; I think our perspective suffered as a result.

“Skies Calling/Skies Falling” again relied on a text by Michael Palmer who referenced Crow and Shadow Crow, in a manner evoking American Indian tradition. It was abetted by drone photography which commenced the dance, displaying white-costumed dancers in formation against a barren,desolate landscape, and, when displayed as if at eye level, looked like some impenetrable set of hills and canyons. Later I was told the setting was San Francisco’s Dogpatch, along Illinois!

Against this the seven dancers appeared in white, skirts swirled, reluctantly showing red underneath as did high necks with open upper backs and zippers, creating stark, yet oddly prim statements. Chinchin Hsu provided a fascinating solo; the three men moved singly, together and in trio form with a fair amount of grappling with Kristin Bell and Margaret Cromwell making striking horizontal movements across the stage space. The men also had their solitary moments, but like most Jenkins works a passage of tussle and physical closeness.The sense of coping in a harsh environment, singly, together, as an ensemble provided the principal impression against Michael Palmer’s text about Crow regarding Shadow Crow and knowing he too would become Shadow Crow. Solitude and ensemble absorption which the audience was allowed to view dominated, conceding little to emotions, but much to observance. It was what it was, and, admittedly, delivered with power and grace. One easily sees why Jenkins is so vocal in her praise of her “collaborators.”

Costumes and visual designs for both productions were designed by Mary Domenico; music by Thomas Carnacki ; lighting by David Robertson and the visuals for “Skies Calling, Skies Falling” were David and Hi-Jin Hodge.

Sally’s Three Base Hit

9 Oct

Jasperson, Sally Bailey, After The Applause Stops
X-Libris, 2017, 43 pp. Pbk, $19.95, Kindle $3.99
ISBN 978-1-5434-4774-3;
ISBN E-Book 978-1-5434-4773-6

This is Sally Bailey Jasperson’s third publication on dance. The first came out under the imprimatur of Selma Jeanne Cohen’s Dance Perspectives quarterly and comprised Sally’s editing of Letters from the Maestro: Enrico Cecchetti to Gisella Caccialanza. Caccialanza was an early member of the George Balanchine-Lincoln Kirstein organizations, American Ballet and Dance Caravan. Those original letters now reside in the Jerome Robbins Division of the New York Public Library.

The second was Sally’s memoir of her two decades with San Francisco Ballet, most as a principal dancer, and under the title Striving for Beauty, self-published through Xlibris, as is this third, After the Applause Stops: Who are You When You No Longer Do What You’ve Been Doing for Years? In my opinion, it’s a three-base hit, though photos are absent.

Following her departure from the company, Sally also wrote an article for one of the early manifestations of San Francisco magazine concerning the economics of San Francisco Ballet.

To accomplish this 43-page essay on post performing, Sally posed nine questions first to herself and then to dancers who had been principals with San Francisco Ballet: four women, two men replied to her queries. They were, alphabetically,
though not in the same sequence in the book: Tina Le Blanc; Anton Ness; Gina Ness; Anita Paciotti; Pierre-Francois Vilanoba; Katita Waldo.

Three of the dancers continue to be affiliated with San Francisco Ballet, two as ballet mistresses, Anita Paciotti and Katita Waldo, one as a teacher, Tina Le Blanc. Two, Gina Ness and Pierre-Francois Vilanoba,have taught outside of the company, and one, Anton Ness, operates a business unaffiliated with ballet. All six experienced some level of training outside San Francisco Ballet as well as performing elsewhere, three in local ensembles before going through the school. Le Blanc came from a soloist position with the Joffrey Ballet and Vilanoba was dancing soloist roles with the Paris Opera before he took the plunge to immigrate to San Francisco and its ballet company. Anita Paciotti is the only dancer, active in the company when Helgi Tomasson took over the helm as artistic director, Anton having left in 1980 and Gina in 1985, while Katita entered the company in 1988. Paciotti and Waldo, now ballet mistresses, danced with the company 18 and 22 years respectively.

As a dance writer, all six are familiar to me as performers, particularly those dancing while I was San Francisco correspondent for Dance News, 1962-1983. then for Hokubei Mainichi and Asian Week, before my 11-year stint with ballet.co. While the relationship has become more attenuated, two or three subsequent to their retirement have shared substantive conversations with me. Their intelligence, humanity and capacity for realistic appraisal shine through their reflections. Sally Bailey set out to explore whether dancers become people after performing and all six come through
admirably.

I wish more people were familiar with Sally’s memoir, Striving for Beauty. Like an exhibit of the Museum of Performance and Design when it was still situated on the upper floor of the Veterans’ Building in Civic Center, the period when Sally was dancing was not well reflected. She relates with zest the growth of the company and its increased number of performances. I’m afraid the result of the company’s slow emergence as a major national and international dance company is to blame for its not being so well known in contrast to memoirs written by New York-affiliated dancers.

Sally’s tenure was a yeasty, if frugal, time both in and out of San Francisco Ballet, a period when a dance lover writing 1000 words a month, ten times a year for $10 a column for Dance News could cover it all, at least to the end of the 60’s. The great divide was not only the Ford Foundation grants for scholarships to four schools enabling training to dancers who might otherwise never have enjoyed a professional career. It was also the enabling act for the National Endowments of the Arts and Humanities of 1965, which provided residencies for teachers and ensembles under its initial executive director, Roger Stevens.

World Ballet Day is a quantum leap in generating interest in ballet. Perhaps in the years to come additional historical figures will be reflected in the segments, and reinforce Sally’s quest in After the Applause Stops.