writers on dancing

The DanceView Times, San Francisco Bay Area edition

       Volume 1, Number 4      An online supplement to DanceView magazine

A Transcendent "Diamonds"

Kirov Ballet
Zellerbach Hall
Berkeley, California
October 17, 2003

By Rachel Howard
Copyright ©2003 by Rachel Howard

Overheard walking out of the Kirov’s Fokine program at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall: "If that’s ballet, I’m there!"

The enthusiastic convert was a man, probably 35-ish, and seeing as we’d just been treated to a particularly lustful rendition of Scheherazade, I guessed his newfound zeal was inspired more by the scantily clad physiques on display than by the stunningly recreated Bakst sets, or the Maryinsky Orchestra’s lush sound, or, one coudl only hope, the dancing itself.

But perhaps I am too skeptical. For if that man had returned to see Jewels the following Sunday, I’d lay bets that he, like so many in attendance, would have walked out of the far more demure "Diamonds" spouting equal zeal. With Daria Pavlenko in the lead and a crystalline corps, this sometimes perfunctory finale to Balanchine’s only full-length abstract work was one of the best I've ever seen.
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Living Graham

Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
San Jose, Caliifornia
October 17, 2003

by Rita Felciano
Copyright ©2003 by Rita Felciano

What do you do as an artistic director if you program a masterpiece that will outclass nearly any other ballet you choose to stand beside it?  Add to this conundrum a budget that has just been cut by twenty percent and a deficit of over a million dollars. You also have thirty-five dancers who want to be on that stage and who will not relish doing so in front of empty seats, of which there are 2665 for every performance.

One thing that you can do is rely on what you already own and then you call on your friends for help. Which is exactly what Dennis Nahat, the ever ebullient and ever resilient artistic director of the struggling, but dancing better than ever, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley did for its first program of the new season.

Framing an excellent performance of Graham’s Appalachian Spring were two guaranteed crowd pleasers, Michael Smuin’s 1982 Stravinsky Piano Pieces and Nahat and Ian Horvath’s US from 1975. They were safe choices. Clearly, even if he were inclined to do so, Nahat did not feel that he could take risks.
read review


What's On This Week
October 20-26, 2003

Michael Smuin's chamber ballet troupe opens 10th anniversary season with premiere of "Tango Palace", plus "Suite Gershwin" and Smuin's version of "Les Noces."
Oct. 15-18, 21-25,29-Nov.1, 8pm, Oct. 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, 1-2, 2pm, October 12, 7pm, Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina Boulevard at Buchanan Street, San Francisco, (415) 495-2234,

Presenting "Bat Tales", a theater, music, comedy and dance program based on bat legends around the world.
Oct. 22, 11am, Herbst Theater, Oct. 26, 3pm, Veteran's Building Green Room, Mezzanine Level Ballroom, 401 Van Ness Ave. at McAllister, Civic Center, San Francisco, (415) 346-8959,

Kate Corby presents "While I Wait, Dances from the Homefront, Past and Present", a multi-media dance work exploring American military involvement from women's perspectives, with works by guests Megan Nicely and Company, and Nora Stephens of New York.
Oct. 23-25, 8pm, Oct. 26, 7pm, 848 Community Space, 848 Divisadero St. at McAllister, (415) 771-4787,

Kathleen Hermesdorf provides the often quirky choreography; her artistic partner Albert Mathias provides the pulsing original, live electronic music. "As Above, So Below" will feature three world premieres investigating alchemy through body, music, image and light.
October 16-19, 23-25, 8pm, ODC Theater, 3153
17th Street at Shotwell, San Francisco, (415) 863-9834,

The Nikolais/Louis Dance Foundation and Ririe Woodbury Dance Company present an evening of Nikolais dances, exploring physical space and spellbinding movement with sound, light, multimedia effects and costumes.
Oct. 24, 8pm, Memorial Auditorium, 551 Serra Mall at Galvez, Stanford University, Palo Alto, (650) 725-2787,

Presenting "Inspired by..." an evening featuring the works of South Bay choreographers Maria Basile, Heather Cooper, Carlos Gonzales, Richard Kear, Gary Masters, Jeannine Vogt, Mara Williams.
Oct. 24-25, 7pm, Dance Studio Theater/SPX 219, one block into campus from 4th and San Carlos, (408) 924-5046,

Calendar Listings courtesy of IN DANCE, a FREE monthly publication of Dancers' Group at

Faulty Magic

Motion Lab
ODC Theater,
San Francisco, California
October 17, 2003

By Rachel Howard
Copyright ©2003 by Rachel Howard

Motion Lab's latest show billed itself as a night of "kinetic and sonic alchemy," the elements involved being Kathleen Hermesdorf's choreography and Albert Mathias' looping, club-like music. As a program note even explained, "Alchemy is an ancient system of natural magic that 'implants heavenly things in earthly objects by means of specific alluring charms used at the right moment'." Blame it on bad magic, then, or faulty timing, but Friday's show at ODC Theater, which continues next weekend, was sorely lacking in either transformation or transfixing moments.
read review




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This weeks' articles


Mindy  Aloff's Letter from New York

The Balanchine Celebration
New York City Ballet:
A Veteran and a Raw Recruit
by Mindy Aloff

Heart and Soul
by Mary Cargill

Kid Stuff
Cas Public's If You Go Down To the Woods Today
by Susan Reiter

San Francisco Ballet:
New Wheeldon (Rush)
by Rita Felciano

New Tomasson (7 For Eight)
by Paul Parish

Possokhov's New Firebird for OBT
by Rita Felciano

Moscow Festival Ballet and Scott Wells
by Paul Parish

Hamburg Ballet's Nijinsky:
Nijinsky—Lost in the Chaos
by Clare Croft

NijinskyMadness and Metaphor
by Alexandra Tomalonis

Nijinsky and the Ballets Russes
by George Jackson

Batsheva: Breaking Down Walls
by Lisa Traiger

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence
by Clare Croft

Choreographers Showcase
by Tehreema Mitha

Zoltan Nagy
by George Jackson







Rita Felciano
Alison Garcia
Ann Murphy
Paul Parish


The next issue of DanceView, a quarterly review of dance published since 1979, will be mailed out in mid-October.

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last updated on October 20, 2003