writers on dancing

The DanceView Times, San Francisco Bay Area edition

       Volume 2, Number 9   March 1, 2004    An online supplement to DanceView magazine

Wheeldon's Rush:  Fresh and Familiar

Rush, Grosse Fugue, and Valses Poeticos, imaginal disk
San Francisco Ballet
War Memorial Opera House
San Francisco,  California
February 24 , 2004

by Rita Felciano
Copyright © 2004 by Rita Felciano
published 1 March 2004

Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, the center piece of San Francisco Ballet’s third program surprised with its freshness and conventionality.

If you live in a Northern climate, you will understand the contradiction. There are days in late March or early April when Spring is just around the corner. The air has a blustery quality to it and feels fresh; breezes are almost, but not quite balmy. It’s an experience you go through year after year, and yet the experience is new every time. That’s how Rush felt.

Wheeldon chose for his third SFB commission a lovely little score by Bohuslav Martinu, the Sinfonietta La Jolla for Chamber Orchestra and Piano. Even though written relatively late in the composer’s life, it had a vernal quality about it which no doubt contributed to Rush’s atmosphere.
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Tomasson's Seven for Eight: Stainless Steel and Angelic Grace

Paquite, Seven for Eight, Le Carnival des Animaux
San Francisco Ballet
War Memorial Opera House
San Francisco,  California
February 24 , 2004

by Paul Parish
Copyright © 2004 by Paul Parish
published 1 March 2004

It often seems to me that we've arrived in the dance world at a stage very like that which succeeded the great age of Elizabethan drama—after Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Jonson, what follows is a generation that's hyper-aware of what's been done, and the gifted among them, the Fletchers and the Websters spend their wits making madder mad scenes, more villainous villains, elaborating self-consciously on the affective devices that made King Lear so involving, so upsetting it made grown men cry.

Similarly in the wake of the heroic generation (Balanchine, Graham, Ashton, Limon, name your favorites), we get dances that live in the suburbs of the masterpieces they created. It's nobody's fault—it's just where we are in the cycle. Today the technique has flowered to the point where the practitioners are so adept they are almost in advance of what the idea-folk can ask of them.

So you hear that Helgi Tomasson is going to make a ballet to Bach, what do you expect? Well, it won't have the organic, fated quality of Concerto Barocco, the structure will not make form reveal function—but I expect that the dancers will move o that music with a grace bordering on the angelic.
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A Firebird in Portland

White Nights
Oregon Ballet Theatre
Keller Auditorium,
Portland, Oregon
February 28, 2004

by Rita Felciano
Copyright © 2004 by Rita Felciano
published 1 March 2004

Oregon Ballet Theatre is in good hands. With two world premieres— Adin by new Artistic Director Christopher Stowell and Firebird by budding choreographer and San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer Yuri Possokhov—and Serenade, coached by the superb Francia Russell, the twenty-two member ensemble presented an evening of refined classical dancing that promised much for the future. Six of these dancers are new this season.

In his Firebird, which uses Stravinsky’s reduced 1945 version of the score, Possokhov has gone back to the folk tale at the heart of the narrative. A simple youth with a noble heart, here called Ivan, (Paul de Strooper) sets out on a quest and encounters two magical creatures, a glittering, golden firebird (Yuka Iino) and a beautiful girl (Tracy Taylor). After defeating the ogre Kaschei (Kester Cotton), Ivan has to choose between enchantment and reality. He makes the right decision, and the two live happily ever after.
read review



What's On This Week

March 1, 2004
An Evening with Suzanne Farrell
Former New York City Ballet principal and artistic director of The Suzanne Farrell Ballet
One of the greatest ballerinas of the twentieth century makes a rare personal appearance in San Francisco. Suzanne Farrell will join moderator Brad Rosenstein and curator Sheryl Flatow for an in-depth and intimate conversation about her extraordinary career, including her legendary work with George Balanchine and her current triumphs as artistic director of The Suzanne Farrell Ballet. Video clips of her work will be shown, and the conversation will be followed by a reception with Ms. Farrell. The evening is a benefit for SFPALM’s extensive dance archives.
7-9 p.m.
410 Van Ness Avenue, Veterans Building, 4th Floor, San Francisco

March 2, 2004
Balanchine: Passing Down the Legac
Panel discussion with Suzanne Farrell and Gloria Govrin
“Of course, today’s dance won’t last,” Balanchine once said, “it never lasted before.” Yet today there are dozens of former dancers working to preserve his legacy – not just his ballets, but his technique. But is there is only one way to dance Balanchine? Are there definitive versions of ballets that were often changed by Mr. B himself? Moderator Brad Rosenstein and curator Sheryl Flatow will explore these issues with Suzanne Farrell, artistic director of Suzanne Farrell Ballet; Gloria Govrin, associate artistic director of San Francisco Ballet School; and two other artists committed to passing along their knowledge of Balanchine to a new generation. Govrin studied at Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, and was a soloist for many years at New York City Ballet. Balanchine created roles for her in A Midsummer's Night Dream, Nutcracker, Firebird, and Harlequinade, and her repertory also included such ballets Stars and Stripes, Western Symphony, Apollo, and Agon, among many others. 6:00 – 7:30 pm
410 Van Ness Avenue, Veterans Building, 4th Floor, San Francisco

March 2, 3, 5, 7
San Francisco Ballet
Imaginal Disc (Adam-Pierce)
Grosse Fugue (van Manen-Beethoven)
Rush (Wheeldon-Martinu) company premiere
War Memorial Opera House, San Francico;

March 4, 6
San Francisco Ballet

Les Carnaval des Animaux (Ratmansky-Saint-Saëns)
Paquita (Makarova-Minkus)
Tomasson World Premiere
War Memorial Opera House, San Francico;

March 3
Ailey II

10:30 a.m., 1 p.m.
Zellerbach Hall
Bancroft Way and Telegraph Ave.
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94707

March 5-6
Mirror of Life VIII

Eleven choreographers will be showcasing both premiers and encore performances. The choreographers are Helena Birecki, Karin Cabello-Moriarty, Natasha Carlitz, Tammy de Jong-Todd, Erin Eliassen, Barbara Gasman, Jancy Limpert, Karen McWilliams, Janet Negley, and Laura Zweig. 8 p.m.
Cubberley Auditorium
4000 Middlefield Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94303,
Use south entrance to the campus.

Suburban/Urban Dance

Moscow Festival Ballet
Marin Community Center Veterans Memorial Auditorium,
San Rafael, CA
February 21, 2004
"Zen, if you don't mind"
Scott Wells and Dancers
848 Community Space,
San Francisco, California
February 19, 2004

by Paul Parish
Copyright ©2004 by Paul Parish
published 2  February 2004

San Francisco Bay is shaped like a wasp; San Francisco is at the waist, facing Berkeley and Oakland to the east (the Bay Bridge crosses that waist like a belt). It is a large bay - San Jose lies at the tail of the wasp, some 50 miles south of the waist. Another bridge goes across the neck of the wasp to San Rafael, county seat of Marin County, where Frank Lloyd Wright's marvelous complex of civic buildings include a handsome blue and gold auditorium where the weekend of February 21 the Moscow Festival Ballet won the hearts of about a thousand prosperous suburbanites with a generous, clear, satisfying production of Rostislav Zakharov's venerable Cinderella.
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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 February 23, 2004