Saturday 2pm, 2/13. It’s really not that hard to understand why Balanchine is worshipped as a choreographic genius, and today’s program showed why.
“Serenade” started out the program, and I must say it was nice to see Elana Altman on the stage. Kristin Long and Yuan Yuan Tan also had soloist roles. I don’t remember if I’ve seen “Serenade” live before, but it is strikingly beautiful. KL seemed to be sprightlier than I remember; perhaps her injury (injuries?) have finally healed. YYT is elegant as always, although there was some sort of hairclip problem that was very conspicuous. From youtube, it looks like the hair was supposed to go down intentionally, but it sure looked a little awkward. One might say unballetic. Oh well.
I don’t know what it is, but for some reason I have a very hard time staying awake during “Stravinsky Violin Concerto,” despite not disliking either the music or the ballet itself. Maybe it’s just that I get really tired during the middle of the program, or that the complexity of it all tires my brain out. Nonetheless, it was a great show by Altman and Vanessa Zahorian.
But really it was Maria Kochetkova in “Theme and Variations” that stole the show. She’s a freakin’ dynamo of energy and effervescence. And despite being rather short, her lines are unbelievable — she inhabits so much more space and radiates so much confidence. It’s very hard to take your eyes off her when she’s dancing. Taras Domitro also had a clean, regally understated performance, but he didn’t show up for the curtain call. Hopefully he’s ok and not injured. There was one bit of partnering where maybe something didn’t go quite right.
I remember seeing an excerpt of “Theme and Variations” during Tina Leblanc’s farewell performance. Today’s performance seemed so much more infused with spirit. But then again, I think sitting up close gives a much different perspective than back in the standing room area. I really am beginning to think that distance mutes the effect of ballet. Going back up to the balcony section would probably be torture at this point.
Two pieces by Tchaikovsky in one show seemed a little repetitive, much as I like his music.
I have to find a way to see program 2, which ends next weekend. It will also be an exciting weekend next weekend, because we’re supposed to go see a company class of SFB right before the show on Sunday. One of the perks of being a Stanford student and having Muriel Maffre as a teacher, I suppose. I don’t know why going to see a class seems so exciting, but I’m excited. I’ll probably stay and see the program afterward, which is the Balanchine program again. Hopefully the cast is different, but to be honest I wouldn’t mind seeing the same dancers again.