Review of Program 2
For full program notes, tickets, and schedule : San Francisco Ballet
War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, CA

RUN: January 27 – February 6, 2016
RATING: 5 of 5 stars

(January 31, 2:00pm, 2016)

Mathilde Froustey and Davit Karapetyan in Balanchine's "Rubies". (© Erik Tomasson)

Mathilde Froustey and Davit Karapetyan in Balanchine’s “Rubies”.
(© Erik Tomasson)

Choreographed by George Balanchine
Composed by Igor Stravinsky

Rubies sparks with energy at San Francisco Ballet; rather than using it as a show-off of extensions, the dancers create a powerhouse piece of dynamic lines interspersed with playful capers. Karinska’s timeless costume designs glimmer, accentuating the richness of movement. Supported by Stravinsky’s syncopated piano and strings entwining with each other, this ballet’s exacting rhythm traces confidently across the stage. I have seen Jewels many times, and do not tire of the second segment—it continues to inspire and delight.

San Francisco Ballet in Morris' Drunk To Me With Only Thine Eyes.. (© Erik Tomasson)

San Francisco Ballet in Morris’ Drink To Me With Only Thine Eyes..
(© Erik Tomasson)

Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes
Choreographed by Mark Morris
Composed by Virgil Thomson

A casual piece, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes is rather like what dancers fool around with in the studio when no-one is watching. Shifting with waves in the music, it changes between shuffling marking, warmup, and explosions of virtuosity. Santo Loquasto’s costume designs reflect a formalized version of practice studio attire, perhaps influenced by the music, which is 13 piano etudes. Pianist Natal’ya Feygina was mesmeric, building the melody into delicate longing in the finale. Gennadi Nedvigin is magnificent in this piece, languidly making his way across the stage with lyrical pirouettes. Vanessa Zahorian nimbly took to the stage with her characteristic bright cheerfulness. Comfortable and beautiful, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes is musical and spontaneous.

Lorena Feijoo and Luke Ingham in Scarlett's Fearful Symmetries. (© Erik Tomasson)

Lorena Feijoo and Luke Ingham in Scarlett’s Fearful Symmetries.
(© Erik Tomasson)

Fearful Symmetries (World Premiere)
Choreographed by Liam Scarlett
Composed by John Adams

Light and shadow drive Fearful Symmetries in constantly fluctuating darkness, from hovering twilight gray to chiaroscuro black. Geometric shapes suspend over the dancers, winking on and off. David Finn’s lighting design is spectacular, reflecting the altering emotion of music and movement. Jon Morrell’s costume designs demonstrate the individuality of each dancer through shades and necklines, yet is cohesive and perfectly tailored to augment placement. Fearful Symmetries radiates vitality, with techno overtones and precise motion, interspersed with sinuous intimate moments. It was described as primal by Tina LeBlanc in the Meet the Artist interview, which captures the grounded sensuality of the piece.

Do not miss San Francisco Ballet’s Program 2—it is a luscious buffet of exhilarating dance with an astounding world premiere by Royal Ballet’s Liam Scarlett. The program is a technical and artistic masterpiece.