SF Ballet Program 1: Let’s hear it for the boys

What do you get when you mix choreographers Helgi Tomasson, Yuri Possokhov and William Forsythe in a program? One of the most diverse and satisfying concerts given by San Francisco Ballet to date.

Program 1 opened Sunday afternoon at the War Memorial Opera House with Tomasson’s “7 for Eight” (2004), in which eight couples, costumed in black with a hint of sparkle, danced to Bach on a bare stage with smooth grace.

The pas de deux were mainly showcases for the ballerinas, with the men in (quite literally) supporting roles; one might have wished the men to shine in a more mutual fashion. But it was beautiful, crisp and classical, and an audience pleaser.

Next was Possokhov’s “Magrittomania” (2000), with music by Yuri Krasavin, woven around portions of Beethoven played by pianist Natal’ya Feygina. The colorful, whimsical piece is a tribute to surrealist René Magritte, light in tone yet with a hint of despair at its core.

Davit Karapetyan was beautifully expressive, Yuan Yuan Tan was flowing and seductive as the siren in a red dress, but the trio of Esteban Hernandez, Wei Wang and Max Cauthorn was especially striking, a bravura turn of brilliant jumps and turns that recalled a joyous folk-dance. Possokhov gives his men substantial material to dance and abundant stage time to exhibit their talents.

Unfortunately, the costumes for the women were a distraction, having a decoration on the bosom that suggested nipples, which conjured awkwardness rather than surrealism. It was a relief whenever they donned jackets to hide this detail.

The program steadily built to Forsythe’s “Pas/Parts,” a 2016 North American premiere.

The dancers, sparely-clad in brightly colored costumes, cavorted, slinked and cha-cha’d to a score by Thom Willems’ that combined repetitive, mechanical electronics with echoes of catchy Latin rhythms and vocal riffs that brought warmth and familiarity.

The dancers came alive to the grit and challenge of Forsythe’s choreography that clearly used ballet vocabulary, but also had new twists and turns. Sofiane Sylve positively luxuriated in the movement, and Maria Kochetkova and Francisco Mungamba danced a taut, fraught pas de deux.

The stage was set as a white, sterile box, but the movement was engaging and downright sexy. The finale with the full cast onstage was frenetic, yet structured and glorious all at the same time.


San Francisco Ballet Program 1
with Tomasson’s “7 for Eight,” Possokhov’s “Magrittomania,” Forsythe’s “Pas/Parts”
Where: War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26, Jan. 28 and Feb. 3; 2 and 8 p.m. Jan. 30, 8 p.m. Feb. 5
Tickets: $30 to $255
Contact: (415) 865-2000, www.fballet.org

J.B. Rosario

Recent Posts

PETA demonstrates against leather outside Levi’s headquarters

Campaigners with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals demonstrated outside Levi's corporate headquarters near the Embarcadero to protest the…

5 mins ago

Mystery backers of Trauss, Johnson drop $100k into D6 race

A cool $100,000 just dropped like a thud into the hotly contested District 6 supervisors race, aimed squarely at taking…

2 hours ago

Athletics demolish Angels in record-setting 21-3 rout

By Alex Hall Special to S.F. Examiner OAKLAND -- The Oakland Athletics have one of the five best offenses in…

4 hours ago

Elderly woman struck by flatbed truck dies in second SF traffic death this week

A 75-year-old woman struck by a flatbed truck in Bernal Heights has died, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office. Marlene…

4 hours ago

Richard Sherman kept out of practice with heel injury

SANTA CLARA -- At first, it looked as though Richard Sherman was just taking a veteran's day off, walking around…

4 hours ago

St. Ignatius hires new head varsity baseball coach Brian Pollzzie

The St. Ignatius athletic department announced on Thursday that they have hired the new head coach for its varsity baseball…

5 hours ago