Each year a newer, more contemporary Smuin

“How can I describe you?” So starts the music by Nico Muhly and singer Teitur that is the inspiration for Val Caniparoli’s wry and sassy ballet, If I Were A Sushi Roll, which Smuin premiered in San Francisco on April 20. The ballet continued its run as the centerpiece of company’s Dance Series 2 this past week at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, before moving on to Mountain View and Carmel. The singer goes on as the Smuin ensemble, costumed as Men and Women in...

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SF Ballet’s Unbound dances on

The second program of San Francisco Ballet’s Unbound: A Festival of New Work presented work by choreographers Myles Thatcher, Cathy Marston and David Dawson. Marston and Dawson trained at the Royal Ballet, and Thatcher was trained at SF Ballet, where he currently dances with the company while developing his choreographic skills. Thatcher’s Otherness opened the evening, tackling the difficult question of how social roles affect and distort an individual’s identity, narrowing...

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My heart belongs to Jerry

True confession: I love Jerome Robbins’ choreography. As much as I admire and respect Balanchine’s choreography and his establishment of one of the most prominent and innovative ballet companies in the world, I love Robbins more. So it was with anticipation that I attended San Francisco Ballet’s Program 5: Robbins: Ballet and Broadway. Robbins’ choreography is ideal for SF Ballet: it combines the purity of neoclassical ballet with warmth, inventiveness and wit. All this was most...

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Company Wayne McGregor on the edge

Set to the electronic music of Jlin, who won the “Best Difficult Second Album” award at the 2017 AIM Music Awards, Company Wayne McGregor’s newest work Autobiography returned this company of formidable dancers and choreographers to San Francisco. Presented by SF Performances at the Yerba Buena Center for the Art Theater, the company’s sleek and endlessly compelling dance reveals that the demanding, for both dancers and audience, can be breathlessly wondrous. Notes to...

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Program 3 is Distinctly SF Ballet

San Francisco Ballet’s Program 3: Distinctly SF Ballet presented three pieces by choreographers involved directly with the company: Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, Val Caniparoli, who joined the company in 1973 and continues as principal character dancer and choreographer, and Myles Thatcher, who joined the company in 2010 as a dancer. That each of these choreographers is a product of his times is clear in the pieces chosen for the...

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“Rap on Race” redux: Spectrum Dance Theater takes on James Baldwin and Margaret Mead

In 1971 anthropologist Margaret Mead and writer James Baldwin met to talk about race. Their conversation took place over two and a half days and was released in audio only. Actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith has used the tapes of this conversation over the past 30-plus years, in the classroom and on stage, its text morphing into various theatrical forms. In a recent version, the choreographer Donald Byrd used Deavere Smith’s version of the text as part of an 85-minute dance–theater...

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