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San Francisco - Bay Area Columns

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
April 2012 Reviews
April 14th - A visit to the San Francisco Ballet for Program 7 (Balanchine Masterworks) is like a journey to the neoclassical royal courts. The King (Balanchine himself) lives in the choreography; the Crown Prince (Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson) brings the ballets to fruition; and the court (the entire San Francisco Ballet company) flawlessly interprets "Divertimento No. 15"..

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
Winter 2012 Reviews Part 2

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
Winter 2012 Reviews Part 1

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
December 2011 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area
by Heather Desaulniers
November 2011 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area

by Heather Desaulniers
September - October 2011 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area

by Heather Desaulniers
May and June 2011 Reviews

San Francisco Bay Area

by Heather Desaulniers
April 2011 Reviews

West Coast Wonders
Reviews from California and Washington

Cornish Dance Theatre - The Majors' Pavane
by Dean Speer
April 27, 2012 --Broadway Performing Hall, Seattle, Washington
College dance departments typically provide performance opportunities for their majors and Cornish Dance Theatre, an outgrowth of the original Cornish Ballet begun by Karen Irvin, is the venue for the Cornish College of the Arts Dance Department which gave its semi-annual concert

Pacific Northwest Ballet - 'Apollo' and 'Carmina Burana'
by Dean Speer
April 14, 2012 -- McCaw Hall, Seattle, Washington
We’ll probably never know these days what the first, original version of “Apollo” looked like, but we do know that the latter-day version mounted for Pacific Northwest Ballet by its Artistic Director, Peter Boal is near perfection.

Pacific Northwest Ballet - New Works Program
by Dean Speer
March 17, 2012 -- McCaw Hall, Seattle, Washington
It seems appropriate that Pacific Northwest Ballet’s New Works program comes on the heels of a very long Seattle Winter and just as the flowering plum and cherry trees are turning pale pink and crocuses are poking their cheerful heads up through the soil.

Chop Shop: Bodies of Work
by Dean Speer
February 12, 2012 -- Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue, Washington
Director Eva Stone’s annual February modern dance festival, on the very day I attended, celebrated its fifth anniversary with yummy chocolate cake for everyone there, in the foyer after concluding the program...and which was preceded by a whole lot of delicious dancing.

Seattle Dance Project 5
by Dean Speer
January 20, 2012 -- ACT Theatre, Seattle, Washington
Molissa Fenley is a prolific choreographer and her “Planes in Air” is a very nice piece which was debuted a year ago by Seattle Dance Project and which was a pleasure to enjoy seeing again.

Whim W'him - 'Cast the First Rock in Twenty Twelve'
by Dean Speer
January 22, 2012 -- Intiman Theatre, Seattle, Washington
Olivier Wevers tackled a troubling social issue in his latest project, Whim W’him’s "Cast the First Rock in Twenty Twelve." “ThrOwn’s” obvious Biblical reference is that of Christ Jesus’ admonition to those gathered, presumably men, who were poised to stone the adulterous woman, with “Who that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” [John]


Pacific Northwest Ballet Teachers' Seminar
by Dean Speer
21 teachers from around the U.S. gathered in the spacious, efficient, and very well-planned state-of-the-art ballet studios of Pacific Northwest Ballet for a four-day Teachers’ Seminar, 18-21 April 2012. Welcomed into the Jane Davis Board Room with fresh coffee, name tags, and packets, we began each morning with an 8 a.m. Pilates class...

Bob Lockyer: Mr. Television Dance
by David Mead
If there is one name associated with dance on television in Britain, it is surely Bob Lockyer. Described as “one of the great heroes of British dance” by the National Dance Critics’ Circle, Lockyer played an important part in the development of dance in the UK. In a 40-year career as director and producer of dance programmes for BBC television...

What Seth Says: Interview with PNB Principal Seth Orza
by Dean Speer and Francis Timlin
I’m from San Francisco. Both of my parents were dancers with the Oakland Ballet, when Ronn Guidi was its director. They had six children who all became dancers – three sisters, two brothers – one a twin – and a little brother still at San Francisco Ballet.

Pina Bausch and Beyond: Interview with Fernando Suels Mendoza
by Rosella Simonari

At the beginning of the 1990s, Fernando Suels Mendoza moved from Venezuela, his own country, to Germany to study dance at the Folkwang de Essen dance school. In 1995 he was enrolled in Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal and, since then, has been a permanent member.


Ballet San Jose : 'Cinderella'
by Heather Desaulniers
May 5, 2012 -- San Jose
Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose, CA
Change is hard, but the time has come to leave the past behind, move forward and re-focus the attention on the company's future. The goal of this season has been to do just that and the final program of 2012 (the company premiere of Ben Stevenson's "Cinderella") confirmed a brilliant future for this South Bay institution.

Noism1: 'ZONE'
by Carmel Morgan
April 26, 2012 -- Terrace
Theater, JFK Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC
In 2012, on the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to Washington, DC, Noism returned to the Kennedy Center once more, presumably by invitation, and fans of their prior performance in the nation’s capital were among the audience members.

Boston Ballet : 'Don Quixote'
byCarla DeFord
April 27, 2012 -- Boston Opera House, Boston, MA

One might say that “Don Quixote” rode into Boston on the back of the half-mechanical, half-human “horse” that carried the main character into battle in Act I. Dressed in full military regalia, complete with “bacieyelmo” (basin-helmet), breastplate, and lance, the Don tilted at a windmill and took on other well-known adventures.

Northern Ballet: 'Beauty and the Beast'
by David Mead
April 21, 2012 -- Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes, Uk

In the programme, David Nixon comments how he wanted to find a way of telling the “Beauty and the Beast” story that was new and magical, but that did not lose either its charm or deeper message. The good news is that he has succeeded magnificently, creating a visual feast and telling the story with great clarity, while still finding time to give it a bit of a modern twist.

Royal Ballet of Flanders: 'Artifact'
by Carmel Morgan
April 19, 2012 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK

Much is said about Forsyth’s deconstruction of theatre and much is extremely pretentious. But “Artifact” really does this. Are we inside the performers’ world or outside? When we are invited in do we forget or remember? A performance is a rock that erodes to sand and then to dust, only to disappear once it is over.

Christopher K. Morgan & Artists: 'Limited Visibility'
by Carmel Morgan
April 21, 2012 -- CityDance Studio Theater, MusicCenter at Strathmore, Bethesda, MD

It bears repeating that I’m not related to the artist whose company I’m now reviewing, despite our shared last name. However, I’d be proud to be related to him. Christopher K. Morgan is a gift to DC, and his gift extends beyond just his choreographic abilities. The recent performance of a new evening length work, “Limited Visibility” by his recently formed company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, showed off some of Morgan’s impressive skills

A Celebration of Bob Lockyer
by David Mead
April 13, 2012 -- The Place, London, UK
“Time flies when you are having fun” wrote Bob Lockyer in the opening line of the programme for his 70th birthday celebration at The Place. He was referring to his time working at the BBC where he recorded many of Robert Cohan’s seminal works for the London Contemporary Dance Theatre’s such as “Cell”, “Waterless”, “Method of Swimming Instruction”, “Stabat Mater”, “Forest”…

Eifman Ballet: 'Onegin'
by David Mead
April 6, 2012 -- London Coliseum, London, UK
In his reimagining of Alexander Pushkin’s 19th century Russian classic “Eugene Onegin”, Boris Eifman views events against the backdrop of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a time of great upheaval and uncertainty, and where the rules that dictate how society operates are undergoing rapid change.

Eifman Ballet: 'Anna Karenina'
by David Mead
April 3, 2012 -- London Coliseum, London, UK
Although I have a good idea of the story, having seen films and remember well Galina Samsova’s production of Andre Prokovsky’s ballet, I’ve never actually read Tolstoy’s novel. When it comes to watching Boris Eifman’s take on the story, perhaps that’s no bad thing. I don’t, for example, get too hung up on the missing characters and counterplots; of which there are quite a few.

Ballet Black: 'Together Alone', 'Running Silent', 'Captured', 'Storyville'
by David Mead
March 3, 2012 -- Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London, UK
The highlight of Ballet Black’s latest programme of four new ballets is Martin Lawrence’s powerful “Captured”. Lawrence learned his craft under Richard Alston, so his great musicality is no surprise, but you would never believe this is his first work on pointe. Set to Shostakovich’s 11th string quartet, “Captured” is a quartet featuring Sayaka Ichikawa, Damien Johnson, Joseph Poulton and Cira Robinson.

Singapore Dance Theatre: 'Swan Lake'
by Stephanie Burridge
March 15, 2012 -- Esplanade Theatre, Singapore
Founded in 1988, Singapore Dance Theatre is the city state’s flagship dance company. Featuring both classical ballets and contemporary works, its enviable repertoire includes the choreography of Nacho Duato, Jiri Kylian, Graham Lustig, Nils Christe and Singaporean luminary, the late Goh Choo San.

English National Ballet: Beyond Ballet Russes II
by David Mead
March 28, 2012 -- London Coliseum, London, UK
There are not too many ballets that you sit and watch in awe, but Balanchine’s “Apollo” is definitely one such, especially when it is danced so near-perfectly as by English National Ballet at the Coliseum. Zdenek Konvalina was a fine and commanding Apollo. The three muses were all playful in their own way.

Pet Shop Boys and Javier de Frutos: 'The Most Incredible Thing'
by David Mead
March 27, 2012 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1870 tale of the same title, “The Most Incredible Thing” tells the story of a competition. The king loves his daughter but continually scolds her for listening to pop music all day, so he announces a competition. Whoever produces “the most incredible thing” will win half the kingdom and the princess's hand in marriage.

English National Ballet: Beyond Ballet Russes I
by David Mead
March 20, 2012 -- London Coliseum, London, UK
English National Ballet has long been known for its popular productions of the classics, but under the leadership of Wayne Eagling, London audiences at least have been treated to some innovative and exciting mixed programmes often featuring new or little seen works. Last week’s first programme in their Beyond Ballets Russes season was a classic example and one the Coliseum audience lapped up.

Basil Twist and Christopher O'Riley: 'Symphonie Fantastique'
by Carmel Morgan
March 29, 2012 -- Robert & Arlene Kogod Theatre, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
You may be thinking, Basil Twist, isn’t he that puppet guy? Yes, that’s right. And you may be thinking, Isn’t this an online dance magazine? Yes, that’s right again. So, why are you reading a review of a puppet show in a dance magazine? Because Basil Twist’s “Symphonie Fantastique” features dance. Maybe not as you typically think of dance, but trust me, there was plenty of dancing.

Ballet Central
by David Mead
March 24, 2012 -- Chipping Norton Theatre, Chipping Norton, UK
Can there be a prettier town to go to watch ballet than Chipping Norton in the heart of the English Cotswolds? The town’s small theatre has a reputation that far outstrips its size and has become a regular venue on Ballet Central’s tours. Not only was this year’s Chippy (as the town is affectionately known) programme nicely varied...

Alberta Ballet: 'Swan Lake'
by Kate Snedeker
March 23, 2012 -- Jubilee Auditorium North, Edmonton, AB
It’s a cold, hard fact of ballet economics that full-length ballets pay the bills. Even sophisticated New York audiences tend to favor the likes of “Swan Lake” and “Romeo and Juliet” over mixed bills. However, in an era of shrinking budgets and rosters, tackling a full-length ballet can be a major financial and casting challenge. Fortunately for Albertans, the Alberta Ballet has met the challenge – and then some – with Kirk Peterson’s charming new production of “Swan Lake”.

2012 San Francisco Dance Film Festival
by Heather Desaulniers
This year's San Francisco Dance Film Festival opened with "Personal Space"- a short piece, seven minutes in length, from The Netherlands. In the first scene, we join an older couple sitting together, the woman pouring and stirring tea; the man reading the newspaper and smoking a pipe.

Paul Taylor Dance Company: Mixed Bill
by Colleen Boresta
March 18(m), 2012 -- David Koch Theatre, New York NY
For the first time ever, the Paul Taylor Dance Company is performing their spring New York season at Lincoln Center’s David Koch Theatre. The Taylor Company has been a staple in New York for many years but they were always seen at City Center. Since the New York City Opera is no longer singing at Lincoln Center, the Taylor troupe is able to make use of the larger stage at the David Koch Theatre.

The Martha Graham Dance Company: Gala
by Jerry Hochman
March 14, 2012 -- City Center, New York, NY
When a dance company, whose future was in doubt following the passing of its founder and the ensuing internal conflicts that threatened its continuing existence, not only survives but flourishes apparently as strong as ever, it is cause for celebration. And the celebratory gala at City Center on Wednesday was appropriate recognition for the remarkable resurgence of the Martha Graham Dance Company.

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company: 'Classic Cut'
by David Mead
March 14, 2012 -- Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London, UK
Shobana Jeyasingh celebrates her company’s twenty-fifth birthday with a ‘something old, something new’ double bill featuring a re-imagining, as she puts it, of her 1988 classic “Configurations” alongside her latest work, “Dev Kahan Hai?” (“Where is Dev?”).

Protein Dance: LOL (Lots of Love)
by David Mead
March 17, 2012 -- The Place, London, UK
Sitting on the train people watching after watching “LOL”, it was brought home to me just how accurate Luca Silvestrini’s piece is. There were any number of people, sat there, faces glued to their cellphone, texting away and, in one case, quite audibly fretting because someone hadn’t replied inside a few minutes.

New York Theatre Ballet: Signatures 12 Performance
by Jerry Hochman
March 10, 2012 -- Florence Gould Theater, New York, NY
The New York Theatre Ballet, a local dance company that performs regularly in New York and at a variety of national and international venues, has built a reputation over the years for the well-trained quality of its small group of dancers, but even more for the eclectic selection of dances that it presents in its “Signatures” series. This was my first experience with the company, and based on this viewing I’ll look forward to seeing them again.

Scottish Dance Theatre: Quadruple Bill
by David Mead
March 10, 2012 -- The Place, London, UK
In their final London season with Janet Smith as Artistic Director, Scottish Dance Theatre presented a diverse programme that emphasised the theatrical and showed off the multiple talents of her excellent company. Highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Rachel Lopez de la Nieta’s “Pavlova’s Dogs”, a 40-minute look at the humour you can find in the absurdity of human behaviour.

Dance Forum Taipei and Cie Herve-Gil: 'Will There Really Be a Morning'
by David Mead
February 24, 2012 -- Experimental Theater, National Theater, Taipei
Dance Forum Taipei has engaged in a number of interesting collaborations with overseas artists in recent years, but the latest, culminating in “Will There Really Be a Morning”, presented as part of this year’s Taiwan International Arts Festival, is surely the best yet.

Nederlands Dans Theatre 2: 'Passe-Partout', 'Gods and Dogs', 'Cacti'
by Dean Speer
March 6, 2012 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK
Cheshire-born Paul Lightfoot may have only been in NDT’s Artistic Director’s chair for six months, but it seems he already knows where he wants to take the company. Of course, as former dancer and former resident choreographer he is hardly a new kid on the block, but it seems he already has a very firm idea of where he wants to take the company.

Oregon Ballet Theatre: 'Giselle'
by Dean Speer
March 3, 2012 -- Keller Auditorium, Portland, Oregon
Simple. Elegant. Profound. Moving. Sad. Precise. Eloquent. Beautiful.  These are just some of the adjectives that came to mind while viewing Oregon Ballet Theatre’s new production of “Giselle” which closed Saturday night at the Keller Auditorium. Descriptors, however, fail to adequately paint a word picture of just how impressive the production, in toto, is.

Richard Alston Dance Company: Triple Bill
by Charlotte Kasner
February 29, 2012 -- Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, UK
“Roughcut” was made more than two decades ago for Rambert but looks as fresh as the day it was premiered. The Company danced to a person with fluidity and vigour as the movement ebbed and flowed on several levels. The transition from floor work to middle and upper levels was seamless, punctuated by a crooked elbow here and a bent back there...



New York City Ballet
Winter 2012

New York City Ballet - MIxed Bills
by Jerry Hochman
February 17, 24 and 26, 2012 -- Koch Theatre, New York, NY

New York City Ballet - Mixed Bill
by Colleen Boresta
February 25, 2012 -- Koch Theatre, New York, NY

New York City Ballet - Romeo + Juliet
by Colleen Boresta
February 19, 2012 -- Koch Theatre, New York, NY

New York City Ballet - Quad Bill
by Colleen Boresta
February 12, 2012 -- Koch Theatre, New York, NY

New York City Ballet - Mixed Bills
by Jerry Hochman
February 3 and 4, 2012 -- Koch Theatre, New York, NY

New York City Ballet - Mixed Bills
by Jerry Hochman
January 22 and 25, 2012 -- Koch Theatre, New York, NY

New York City Ballet - Sunday at the Ballet with George
by Tom Ferraro
January 22, 2012 -- Koch Theatre, New York, NY

New York City Ballet - 'Who Cares' and 'Union Jack'
by Colleen Boresta
January 22(m) , 2012 -- Koch Theatre, New York, NY

Further Features

CD Review: San Francisco Ballet Orchestra: 'Delibes'
by Heather Desaulniers
San Francisco Ballet is known for its stunning dancers, outstanding choreographers and top-notch artistic staff. But there is another crucial element that shapes every San Francisco Ballet experience: the talented, phenomenal musicians of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, led by conductor Martin West. This Spring, Reference Recordings provides an opportunity to celebrate this group of brilliant artists with the release of a new CD - their musical interpretation of Léo Delibes' "Sylvia" and "Coppélia". Let these transcendent scores guide your journey through two glorious narrative ballets.

editors' choice

· Royal New Zealand Ballet - 'NYC'
February 29 - March 30, across New Zealand
In his first production for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, new artistic director Ethan Stiefel pays homage to the city where he spent his performing career.  The company tackles ballets by Balanchine, Millepied and world premiere by Larry Keigwin.

For ballet-dance magazine

Executive Editor
Kate Snedeker

Executive Editor 2003-2005
Mary Ellen Hunt

Focus and Photo Editors
Elizabeth McPherson, Dean Speer

Associate Editors & Compositors
Francis Timlin, Holly Messitt, Lori Ibay, Azlan Ezaddin, Jerry Hochman, Carmel Morgan, Heather Desaulniers


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