Silicon Valley Ballet Dances Modern

1 Mar

Silicon Valley Ballet gave its subscribers and audience three modern works, two of which I have seen and, one, a local premiere under the overall title Director’s Choice, February 19-21.

It started off however, with a classical pas de deux apparently different at every performance. For the matinee it was the Diana and Acteon pas de deux from Esmeralda, the original pas de deux by Marius Petipta adapted by Jose Manuel Carreno with no credit given for the in between Agrippina Vaganova version seen in many gala performances and international competitions.

Carreno cast two corps members, Chloe Sherman and Yuto Ideno in this pas de deux with workmanlike results. Both were correct, but had not danced it enough to feel comfortable or to give it the bravura touch. Sherman’s performance was the more reticent, hueing to correctness rather than the dash of the mythic huntswoman. Ideno danced with more freedom and spirit.

Next on the program was Jorma Elo’s Glow-Stop with its snippets of Mozart and Philip Glass, a work which has gone around the block since it was premiered by Boston Ballet where Elo is the resident choreographer. The dancers are assigned to act or perform like animated puppets, port de bras thrust into angles when finishing pirouettes, sudden bends of the torso, disparate and multiple maneuvers happening all over the stage, sudden arrivals and departures; in essence, it is the classical vocabulary employed to be contradicted. The dancers danced it energetically.

, the work by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, left me minus lingering thoughts other than flashes of color and a sudden, brief interlude of tights and a white spaghetti stringed bodice with curlicues of black worn by Ommi Pipit-Suksun and her partner.

Ohad Naharin’s Minus Sixteen with a diverse score completed the program. It far and away captured my attention. Outside of the structure, it is Naharin’s satire of orthodox Israeli society and conflicting poles – orthodoxy against near desert climate, youth against tradition before the anomaly of come on, come all, all accented by Klesmer song, repeated multi times. Apart from the lively performance with the visual interest of a line of sixteen-chaired dancers suddenly flopping on the floor, discarding hats, then jackets and shirts, with one stubborn hold out downstage left, who simply collapses while others divest themselves of their clothing, its structure holds even after seeing it three or four times. Undoubtedly a vintage piece, it does remain a distinct statement evoking the social disparities in Israel today. And, of course, when the dancers go out into the audience and acquire temporary partners, the audience enjoyed not only the spectacle of the amateur recruits but are left with amusement and the good sensation it elicits.

The program notes did acknowledge Dennis Nahat as the founding artistic director of Ballet San Jose, but no mention was made of Karen Gabay as Artistic Associate.


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