Sketching out the new in ballet

At the end of Amy Seiwert’s new ballet, Verses, the woman sitting next to me in the audience said, “That was lovely. It made me want to be a dancer, and I have never felt that before.” What more can we ask of art, than it urge us to open our eyes and our desires to experience the world in as many different ways as possible? What more can a choreographer hope for, than to reach, ultimately, deep into our sense of empathy? Although choreographer Amy Seiwert has been the...

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Not so safe choreography at SAFEhouse

At a small gallery space in the Tenderloin on May 17, SAFEhouse for the Performing Arts presented three performances developed during its RAW (resident artist workshop) program. Several Bay Area choreographers created three dynamic pieces that overlapped in their consideration of intimacy, boundaries, and the creative process. The evening opened with Steven Horner’s Encountering, performed by himself in the round and hinging on heavy audience participation. Each seated spectator...

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Love en pointe: San Francisco Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty”

The Sleeping Beauty is one of the cornerstones of classical ballet. With luscious music by Tchaikovsky and exquisite and imperishable choreography by Marius Petipa, the ballet was first performed at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg in 1890. Even today, the ballet is a loved ornament in the repertoire of the Mariiinsky Ballet, or Kirov Ballet, remaining so through the company’s many transformations. It’s one of those ballets that any classically trained choreographer...

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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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