Made for SFB – Program Seven

13 Apr

April 5 was the opener for these three ballets, sandwiched between Swan Lake and Cinderella.  It was a  nicely balanced program starting with Helgi Tomasson’s Trio with three principal couples backed by a handsome glistening screen hinting at Venetian or Byzantine wall murals.

Sasha de Sola opened the ballet with Vitor Luiz, her line expanding confidently, maturing with every finish in her port de bras, Luiz providing support with his particularly understated competence.  The actual trio followed, with Sarah Van Patten and Tiit Helimets as tender lovers, being trailed by Aaron Robison as the Death figure with a deliberately understated focus, not forcing the inevitable, but knowing it.  Maria Kochetkova and Angelo Greco danced the third assignment; both nicely matched in size, but Kochetkova’s earlier allure seemed diminished despite Greco’s gallant partnering.  I suspect her dual allegiance with American Ballet Theatre makes for a degree of dislocation.

The Ghost in the Machine to music by Michael Nyman and conducted by Ming Luke is Myles Thatcher’s second ballet for San Francisco Ballet.  Costumed by Susan Roemer in shades of grey, a V shape in the back of the men’s torsos and little peplums on the women’s tunics, both lighter than the rest of the costumes, the decor by Alexander V. Nichols provided stark lines of black variously illumined during the ballet, forming an expansive V shape. It was a visually handsome production.

Five couples carried the work which is derived from the phrase first coined by Gilbert Ryle and the title of a book by Arthur Koestler, concerned with the separation of mind and body – a rather interesting formulation with the paired skilled dancers: Vanessa Zahorian/Joseph Walsh; Sasha de Sola/Steven Morse; Dores Andre/Carlo Di Lanno; Isabelle de Vivo/Estaban Hernandez [both promoted to soloist status 7/1/2017] Emma Rubinowitz/Max Cauthorn.  De Sola had several moments where she was exposed, stage center, where her height and expression proved quite appealing.  Andre and Di Lanno provided a definite rapport, and understanding chemistry. De Vivo and Hernandez, both scheduled for solo status 7/1/17, were partnered again effectively.

Thatcher has a feeling for space, for entrances and exits and for moving groups. His themes tend to make him choose too lengthy music, but his choreographic talent is apparent and growing.

Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour was first commissioned and danced by San Francisco Ballet in 2008 using music by Erik Bosso and Antonio Vivaldi.  Martin Pakledinaz was responsible for scenery and costumes, James F. Ingalls for the lighting.  It was interesting to see it back because of Vanessa Zahorian’s cheerful and joyous partnership with Joseph Walsh, an example of definite enjoyment.  And also a variation between Francisco Mungamba and Lonnie Weeks, both excellent technicians with Mungamba’s emphatic accents to his port de bras providing sparks of excitement.  He’s another of the newly elevated soloists, 7/1/2017. Sarah Van Patten and Luke Ingham seem happily fated to be excellent partners, while I wonder again at Kochetkova’s dismissiveness towards her excellent partners, here Vitor Luiz. The work proved a happy, almost exclamatory ending to the evening.

A hors de catagorie comment about the company whose young dancers seem to be taking hold with confidence and admirable energy.  It is my understanding that the company will not only lose Vanessa Zahorian, Davit Karapetyan and Lorena Feijoo,  but there will be additional departures by Carlos Quenedit, Taras Domitro and Aaron Robison, all in the principal dancer category. With last season’s departure of Joan Boada, Pascal Molat and Gennadi Nedvigin [all three celebrated with Sustained Achievement Awards by the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards late in March], the company has experienced a sea change of some magnitude.  Given next year’s schedule starts with Sleeping Beauty, one wonders about new hires as well as the obvious challenges.


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