SFB Program 2

I’m too lazy to write about the gala two weeks ago, although there were many good things about it. I will say that I’m glad I finally saw “The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude” — I can strike that off the bucket list. Overall, it was a fine showcase of talent, and I might be a repeat attender.

I don’t know why the trek seems so much farther from Mountain View versus Palo Alto, but getting to the War Memorial Opera house seems to be that much more of a chore this year. Those extra 5 minutes really kill.

Also, what the crap is up with the constant price hikes for standing room tickets? $30 for the full lengths is excessive. On the other hand, maybe they’re just trying to contain the crowd, or something. Makes me wonder whether I want to go see Giselle next weekend. The answer would be “no” but for the fact that Elana Altman is doing Myrtha on Sunday.

“Symphonic Variations” was very pure, very clean classical ballet. Judging by the amount of applause, people don’t seem to like that nowadays. I thought it was a nice piece, and would definitely welcome more Ashton in the repertoire.

After reading a few critics’ reviews, I was interested in what “RAkU” would bring. The martial arts-esque dancing by the male corps was believable in most parts, but looked strange to me at points. We all know Yuan Yuan Tan has come into her own as a dramatic actress after The Little Mermaid last year, and Possokhov does a good job of building this ballet around her strengths. Both Damian Smith and Pascal Molat were great in their roles. The lack of a clear explication of the story was a bit confusing for a piece that appeared to be very story-centric. I don’t think this is a dog, but I’m not convinced that “RAkU” is one of Possokhov’s better creations.┬áThe main gripe I had is one that I also overheard from one of the ushers, which is that it had one too many endings. Not as bad as RotK or AI, but still…

“Symphony in C” probably ranks as my favorite non-full-length classical ballet, and I would be hard pressed to imagine it being pushed out of the top 10 ever. One seldom appreciates just exactly how awesome SFB’s corps dancers are; this piece and “Artifact Suite” — another of my favorites and also to be reprised this season — really bring that to light. This viewing of “Symphony in C” wasn’t the best I’ve seen, but it still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Maybe it’s because I’ve mentally typecasted her, but Lorena Feijoo just seemed slightly cold, despite her dancing technically well (to my eyes). There was a rare mistake by Maria Kotchetkova during that eternal balance in the second movement, where she fell off pointe during that mesmerizing and interminable balance. Elana Altman, even in the soloist role, was terrific. But the real question is: who is this Nicole Ciapponi person, and where did she come from? She was fantastic in the third movement, radiated energy, and definitely held her own amongst far more veteran dancers.

I missed the beginning of the Super Bowl because of the driving time, but the football season ended when the Chargers were eliminated from the playoffs.

It’s also a little depressing looking at the turnover in the corps over the past 2 years or so. Such is the frailty of life.