Infinite Romance: San Francisco Ballet gala 2015

War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco — January 22, 2015

Just a quick recap: last week Thom and I went to San Francisco Ballet’s opening gala, which celebrates Helgi Tomasson’s 30th year as artistic director. It was a finely tuned program with something for everyone (see below), ranging from classic pas de deux to abstract new work, and even a Paris Opera Ballet-like défilé that showed off the entire company and school in one family portrait.

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Danseur roll call

Oh, hello, neglected blog! Yes, it’s still here, gathering dust, but fabulous blogger Adult Beginner was kind enough to include it on her new blogroll of men who take ballet. This may be the kindest kick in the derrière I need to get back to updating it! Check out these fellow danseur-blogueurs in the meantime.

Light and dark: San Francisco Ballet Program 7

War Memorial Opera House — April 21, 2013

Here are my collected tweets from last Sunday’s performance of San Francisco Ballet Program 7, which included Criss-Cross (Helgi Tomasson), Francesca da Rimini (Yuri Possokhov), and Symphony in Three Movements (George Balanchine).

It was principal dancer Pierre-François Vilanoba’s retirement performance; my San Francisco Ballet season subscription is regularly on Fridays, but for Program 7 I changed to this performance especially to see him dance and bid him farewell. Before the performance he did the Meet the Artist interview with Cheryl Ossola:

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Happy New Year 2013!

Arabesque at City Hall in Pasadena, California.

Happy New Year! Yes, this blog and I are very much still alive. The last several weeks of 2012 were quite busy for my ballet calendar: in addition to regular classes, I was in a performance workshop, which culminated in a student showcase! It was my very first time performing ballet for an audience and marked my return to the stage after an absence of more than ten years (I say as if there has been a public clamoring in the meantime). OK, it was basically a recital for an audience of mostly family and friends, but still, it has rekindled my thirst for performing.

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Smuin Ballet’s energetic season opener

Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, San Francisco — October 5, 2012

Smuin Ballet is one of my favorite dance companies here in the Bay Area, so I’d been eagerly awaiting their new season. And when they announced the return of Trey McIntyre‘s Oh, Inverted World (to the music of The Shins), I was over the moon, since I had missed its premiere in 2010. Their opening night last Friday did not disappoint. Once again, my collected tweets:

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Pirouettes and popcorn: Royal Ballet’s ‘La Fille’ at the movies

Last weekend, I had a joyous time watching my first full-length Royal Ballet performance and my first La Fille Mal Gardée at that, all from a convenient nearby movie theater. As a ballet geek-in-training I’ve been trying to watch as much ballet as I can. It’s about time I start expanding my scope beyond the local companies, and if a movie theater can provide a spark of the opera house experience (for now), I’ll take it. And the day I went happened to be the day of the Olympics closing ceremony in London, so I was already in an English mood!

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The gift was ours to borrow: Thank you, Marvin Hamlisch

Ah, sad to hear that Marvin Hamlisch died today. A Chorus Line, whose music he composed, will always have a special place in my heart as my first high-school musical. My freshman year at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco I was cast in the ensemble. While I had been into musicals since I was a little kid, it was that experience that helped crystallize my love for performing on stage. And what better show than one about the life of performers, in this case, dancers. Even nowadays I’m always singing or humming those songs, and sure enough I named this blog after a Chorus Line song, Cassie’s “The Music and the Mirror.”

He had quite a multi-faceted career, to which I intend to devote more exploration, but at the very least I must say for his Chorus Line music I am indeed grateful.

In 2005 Thom and I saw Marvin Hamlisch conduct Brian Stokes Mitchell’s concert with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington. At the time I wrote:

Before Brian’s set, the National Symphony Orchestra played suites from South Pacific (Richard Rodgers) and The Light in the Piazza (Adam Guettel), and afterwards conductor Marvin Hamlisch asked the audience to name the connection between the two. One woman in the front row blurted out that the composer of Piazza is “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s grandson.” Ha! (Guettel is Rodgers’ grandson.) It became a running gag throughout the evening. “We knew Rodgers and Hammerstein were close, but…”

Hamlisch is a bit of a cutup. When one couple arrived late into the concert hall (why they weren’t escorted by an usher, especially since they had seats way up front, I don’t know), he stopped his banter, asked for their tickets, and showed them to their seats himself.

‘Sketch 2: The Women Choreographers’

ODC Theater, San Francisco — August 2, 2012

Amy Seiwert‘s Imagery presents Sketch 2: The Women Choreographers, a program of three new contemporary ballet pieces developed with the company by Gina Patterson, Julia Adam, and Amy Seiwert. My very quick Twitter takes from Thursday’s sold-out opening night:

Here is a bit of rehearsal footage of Sarah and Weston in their captivating pas de deux from In the Time:

I enjoyed all the pieces, and Sleep Sketches was a nice whimsical counterpoint to the other two more sober dances. The final performance of the program is tonight, Saturday, August 4 at 8 p.m. at ODC Theater, San Francisco (tickets).

» See also Facebook album of performance photos; Carla Escoda’s preview on Huffington Post (“Storming the citadel“) and Allan Ulrich’s review in the San Francisco Chronicle (“Seiwert ‘sketch’ riveting“).

Program notes are below:

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