Justin Peck world premiere rounds out SF Ballet Program 7

The most thrilling moments of San Francisco Ballet’s world premiere of Justin Peck’s “In the Countenance of Kings” come toward the end.

Entering the stage from the right, one by one, the dancers drop to the floor, falling like dominoes into a line — but facing forward, similar to sphinxes, almost confronting the audience. The whirl of movement stops, and it’s arresting.

The dance, which closed Program 7’s Saturday matinee at the War Memorial Opera House, is set to pop music’s Sufjan Stevens “The BQE,” a “symphonic exploration” of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, according to program notes.

Orchestrated by Michael P. Atkinson, the fast-paced piece could be a soundtrack for an adventure film or Western, and it nicely complements the pleasant, if not earth-shattering, classically-inspired-yet-contemporary movement by Peck, the trendy 28-year-old New York City Ballet dancer-choreographer.

On Saturday afternoon, Francisco Mungama as “The Protagonist,” Daniel Deivison-Oliveira as “The Foil,” Henry Sidford as “The Hero,” Isabella DeVivo as “Quantus,” Norika Matsuyama as “Electress” and Lauren Strongin as “Botanica” were strong in the spotlight roles; however, the dance didn’t explain the grandiose names for the parts. And the costumes looked like workout togs.

Program 7’s other works — George Balanchine’s “Theme and Variations,” set to Tchaikovsky, and Christopher Wheeldon’s “Continuum,” set to avant-garde keyboard compositions by Gyorgy Ligeti (played beautifully by Mungunchimeg Buriad and Natal’ya Feygina) — offered a notable contrast to Peck’s congenial dance.

Led by an impeccable Frances Chung and Vitor Luiz, the company displayed the prowess for which it’s known in Balanchine’s famously technically challenging tutu-and-tiara classic. Anything but staid, it was beautiful.

On the other hand, “Continuum,” from 2002, had an angst-filled yet appealing modern edge. Wearing simple, dark leotards, four couples — Vanessa Zahorian, Luke Ingham, Koto Ishihara, Esteban Hernandez, Sasha De Sola, Carlos Quenedit, Myles Thatcher and Strongin – efficiently and effectively carried out the sculptural, minimalist, jagged and acrobatic movement.

REVIEW
San Francisco Ballet Program 7
Where: War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: 7:30 p.m. April 12-13, 8 p.m. April 15,2 p.m. April 17
Tickets: $30 to $255
Contact: (415) 865-2000, www.sf ballet.org

Leslie Katz
Share
Published by
Leslie Katz

Recent Posts

Dave Matthews, Phil Collins, Black Keys, Chainsmokers, Paul Simon coming to SF

Chase Center, the Warriors’ new 18,000-seat stadium in Mission Bay, will get christened Sept. 6 with a concert featuring Metallica…

2 hours ago

Hospital workers say they face retaliation after lobbying for removal of Zuckerberg’s name

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital workers rallied outside of the Potrero Avenue campus on Friday in support of a suspended…

3 hours ago

Jesse Jackson visits Fillmore church to speak against Islamophobia

Civil rights leader and former Democratic presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at San Francisco's Third Baptist Church Friday about…

3 hours ago

Mueller submits Trump-Russia report but doesn’t recommend more indictments

WASHINGTON _ Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III turned in his long-anticipated report on the Russia investigation Friday, a milestone…

4 hours ago

Jeff Adachi’s death ruled an accident caused by mix of alcohol, cocaine, heart problems

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s sudden death last month was accidental, caused by a mixture of cocaine and alcohol…

4 hours ago

Oakland A’s Gold Globe first baseman Matt Olson undergoes hamate surgery

The Oakland Athletics will be without their Gold Glove first baseman for the foreseeable future, as the team announced that…

4 hours ago