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Subject: "SFB in London - Programme 1 thoughts..." Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1983
Reading Topic #1983
Bruce Madmin

11-08-01, 05:46 PM (GMT)
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"SFB in London - Programme 1 thoughts..."
Renee Renouf, our West Cost reviewer, has reviewed practically all of the pieces that San Francisco Ballet are bringing to Covent Garden... except they have all been danced in rather different mixed bills to the combinations we are seeing.

I thought it would be rather neat to cut and paste some of our Ballet.co reviews to give you a pretty convincing foretaste of the various programmes.

To avoid having lots of threads potentially 'on the go' at the same time I'm locking these threads - thoughts and debate on the actual SFB London performances are actively welcomed and should be on the SFB in London thread.

Finally, for those who want to really do their homework, here is a link to a complete list of Renee Renouf reviews.

Thank you - Ed


SFB in London, Programme 1 'review' thoughts...

Fan Fare
Composer: Benjamin Britten
Choreographer: Jerome Robbins
Costumes: Irene Sharif
(from the April 2001 Ballet.co Magazine)

I remember years ago seeing Fan Fare. Perhaps it was when New York City Ballet made one of two early, economically disastrous forays to our Van Ness Avenue Valhalla, I think before they moved to the New York State Theater.

From what I gathered in the press room Jerome Robbins was quite explicit about staging FanFare with the original costumes. The women wear coronets or crowns which look straight out of a Forties Vogue advertisement for Stradivarious perfume, minus the impulsive long-haired musician grasping the women off her seat at the piano forte. Robbins choreographed this in a range of humor which stretches from a smile to a smirk, onwards to giggled, and yes, there was a wiggle somewhere, and then one to guffaw and some straight hambone. It's one of those good natured essays Robbins pulled off which sets a writer scurrying to match words to the wit of his movement selection. He knew how to be silly supremely well, and for all the stories regarding what a stickler he was, choreography remains emblematic of an affectionate loving soul who wasn't about to allow anyone puncture his carefully constructed armor..

The men carried the humor, principally in the brass .. and the percussion, although the girls simpered sufficiently in their exaggerated classical tutus to evoke the knowing nod of "oh, come on, must you?" As the Tuba, Chidosie Nzerem donned a moustache and pointed an emphatic finger with enormous gusto and elegant timing. The percussion rated an utterly deadpan Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Dee, not duo, but trio with Peter Brandenhoff, Christopher Stowell and Stephan Legate in an expression which rivaled anything Lewis Carroll ever created for Alice. Had it been vaudeville such deadpan would have rated star billing at The Palace.

Magrittomania (2000)
Music: Ludwig vonBeethoven/Yuri Krasavin
Choreography: Yuri Possokhov
Set and Costume Design: Thyra Hartshorn
Lighting Design: Kevin Connaughton
Roman Rykine, Yuan Yuan Tan; Benjamin Pierce, Muriel Maffre; Damian Smith, Katita Waldo Peter Brandenhoff, Jason Davis, Gonzalo Garcia and Gennadi Nedviguine, Joan Boada and Pablo Piantino.
(from the June 2001 Ballet.co Magazine)

This year’s reception of Magrittomania testifies to its marvelous appeal. A spring, 2000 exhibition of Magritte at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art may also have helped. It was most salient to see Possokhov’s invention, filled with secondary and tertiary references, not competing with the immediately universal connection of the nightmare tapped into by Julia Adam’s Night. Last year the two were danced back to back and the audience was so struck by Adam’s theme, they didn’t focus on Possokhov’s accomplishment. This year, no such problem! The audience caught on and loved it. It was a terrific vindication to Possokhov’s grasp of his developing craft.

So did the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee. Hartshorn and Connaughton won an award for visual and lighting design and Yuri Possokhov for one of two choreographic awards for the 1999-2000 season.

For all its virtuosi dancing, Magrittomania is a near classic exposition not only of Magritte, but on the European version of Our Man in The Grey Flannel Suit. When Helgi Tomasson revealed that the 2001-2002 season include works by Adam, Possokhov and Wheeldon, he adroitly placed each young choreographer’s essay on different programs.

Possokhov places L’homme Magritte down stage left from whence he rises, doffs his black bowler and begins to dance a solo to indicate what is it all about anyway. There are wonderful attitude jetes en tournant sometimes forward, sometimes back, covering the stage, an expansive use, wide a la seconde jetes as well, excellent use of male classical dance vocabulary. Roman Rykine reprised his role with added sharpness and luster. He was joined with equal verve by Gennadi Nedviguine, Joan Boada and Pablo Piantino, who outdid themselves in the trio to klesmer music.

When L’homme Magritte focuses a flashlight on Tan/Maffre/Waldo in a red dress, Possokhov follows with a solo where one hand is grasped behind the back by the other, something of an Adam’s rib analogy. Apples have already appeared, and women wearing men’s jackets. The solo demands long reaching movements, a supple torso and an enigmatic waiting air. Created on Tan, the change in body mass which Maffre and Waldo represented changed the crystalline quality of the piece. Maffre and Pierce danced a large, warm emotional exposition while Waldo and Damian Smith seemed to blend more totally with the ensemble.

The use of Beethoven’s fateful theme from the Fifth Symphony was used with telling effect in the pas de deux, with great swaying forward and back in sitting position, the faces of both figures masked with gauze.

London audiences will see Magrittomania in August, the sole venue in Europe, probably due to the sets. They’re in for a treat.

Symphony in Three Movements (1972)
Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Choreography: George Balanchine
Staged: Richard Tanner
Original Lighting: Ronald Bates
(from the June 2001 Ballet.co Magazine)

When the curtain rises on this product of The New York City Ballet’s Stravinsky ballets, nothing could be more typical of later Balanchine style than the row of smiling ponytailed corps de ballet in glistening white Milliskin on a diagonal from upstage left to downstage right.

There were some wonderful, almost gutsy partnerships, “I dare yous”, and “well, now, you don’t say,” which seem to typify Balanchine’s ideas in allegro, Lorena Feijoo and Parrish Maynard, Kristin Long with Christopher Stowell, and a delightful first of Julie Diana paired with Yuri Possokhov.

The dancers and the audience all seemed to enjoy it, but oh, those ponytails with Milliskin!

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