The 7 Fingers flights of desire

The acrobatic love duet between Émilie and Julien Silliau is punctuated with the snap of a fan and the crack of a whip in Reversible, the latest creation by Les 7 Doigts, which enchanted audiences this weekend at Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall. The sounds of whip and fan add rhythmic bite to the voice over of Ionesco’s absurdist play, The Bald Soprano. Like other productions by written, directed and choreographed by Gypsy Snider from her Montreal–based arts...

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Inhabiting Space & Time: SF Ballet’s Program 3

Harald Lander’s ballet “Etudes” is like every ballet class ever taken all rolled into one 40-minute performance. It begins with one ballerina center front stage doing a small plié (knee bend to you civilians), and then running offstage after a quick and whimsical shrug, leaving behind 12 dancers standing at ballet barres on three sides of the stage. So opens this delightful – and wryly humorous – tribute to the life of the dancer, and the most lovable choreography of San Francisco...

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The wondrously shifting Kaleidoscope of SF Ballet

San Francisco Ballet Program 2: Kaleidoscope closes with Justin Peck’s gorgeously athletic “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”, one of three short ballets that opened the program’s run on Tuesday. Dressed in shimmery athletic wear – shorts, T-shirts, tights and sneakers – the company dancers formed in circles and shifting lines on the darkened stage with curtains removed revealing the starkly black backstage. A line of small bright squares of fixtures pour light forward toward the audience...

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SF Ballet’s sunny “Don Quixote”

San Francisco Ballet opened its 2019 season this past Friday with Don Quixote, a story ballet loosely based on the classic Spanish novel, Miguel Cervantes’ wry satire of a minor Spanish nobleman who has read so many chivalric romances that he is driven mad. Petipa’s 1869 version of the ballet, however, was like the story ballets of the time, a romantic portrayal of love. The complex and tragicomic knight of the 17th-century novel puts in a very minor but comic appearance. Don...

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Dancing life, its pains and joys

Cal Performances brings many wonderful dance companies to Zellerbach Hall, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is one of them. The Chicago–based contemporary dance company presented two programs this past weekend, along with a community dance class on Saturday morning. Friday’s performance opened with three short pieces with choreography by Nacho Duato, William Forsythe and Alejandro Cerrudo. Unlike many smaller companies that perform works primarily by their founding artistic directors,...

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Beauty’s subtle dance at Zellerbach Playhouse

Since the mid 20th century almost every art practice from the visual arts to performance has found the seductive powers of beauty troublesome. Too often it is accused of being the velvet glove for entrenched powers, a softening blow in league with oppression. So it is with some irony that Pavel Zustiak named his most recent performance piece, which premiered New York Live Arts in 2015, Custodians of Beauty. Cal Performances presented Custodians this past weekend at the...

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