SFB, Program 1, January 27, 2009

San Francisco Ballet
Program 1: "Prism," "Diving into the Lilacs," "The Four Temperaments"
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The city may be experiencing a slight chill, but last night, San Francisco Ballet opened Program 1 with s
izzling pizazz. There was nary a tutu in sight, but the dancers onstage displayed classic technique combined with a refreshing sincerity, providing the perfect warmth to melt any cold winter’s night.

Yuri Possokov’s “Diving into the Lilacs” provided the evening’s subtle dash of royalness. Set to Boris Tchaikovsky’s hauntingly beautiful “Sinfonietta for String Orchestra," Possokov played with dark, wintry moods and full shapes, reminiscent of his youth in Russia. He succeeded in highlighting the women in “Lilacs”; adorned in Sandra Woodall’s flowing chiffon dresses, they looked to be in full bloom, and the men complimented them as supportive stems. The dancers jogged, tiptoed, and skipped backwards, sweeping their bodies in arc-like ways, and partway through the third section, Anthony Spaulding leaped through the gaggle of women like a child running through a garden on a warm spring day. Maria Kochetkova, in a pale pink-purple, resembled a coy butterfly, fluttering effortlessly between the traditional ballet steps and contemporary movements with Pascal Molat. Yuan Yuan Tan, adorned in an almost-white purple, graced the stage with her lean, long limbs, a stunning contrast to Spaulding’s protective demeanor. And while Lorena Feijoo looked lovely in deep purple, she didn’t seem to be in sync with her partner, Joan Boada; but this was a minor glitch in what was otherwise a lovely build over 25 fast-paced minutes. Not to be outdone, former principal dancer Benjamin Pierce collaborated with lighting designer David Finn to create a kaleidoscope of copious blossoming lilacs against the backdrop that, depending on their lighting, simmered vividly in varying pastel hues. With numerous intricacies and tiny details, this is a special work that easily deserves multiple viewings. It’s just that good.

For more, go here.
Yuan Yuan Tan and Anthony Spaulding
in Possokov's "Diving into the Lilacs."
© Erik Tomasson

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