Kaleidoscope in Space & Time at the SF Ballet #SFBalletNiteOut – Review

Kaleidoscope in Space & Time at the SF Ballet #SFBalletNiteOut
Review Chris Edwards Napa 2-16-19
An amazing evening witnessing an amazing take on modern ballet. This work of art was broken into 3 distinct takes on the classical idiom of three musical masterpieces set to dance. This is a ballet unlike most and for anyone who loves going to the symphony, seeing elite athletes compete, or watching romantic movies. Not your typical ballet.
Act 1
Divertimento No. 15 is a traditional tutu ballet, but it’s far from stuffy. This sparkling masterpiece—choreographed in 1956 by 20th-century genius George Balanchine—features five principal women, three principal men, and a corps de ballet of eight. Keenly attuned to its music, this ballet showcases its dancers, highlighting their technique, musicality, and the pure joy of dance.

What made this act enjoyable was the solos for the principal women and one principal man. The history is Balanchine made this ballet for his favorite dancers and each of these variations on a theme showcases something unique about their personalities and technique. Also note the numbers games he plays. Like Mozart’s music, which exemplifies the clarity, balance, and formality of classical style, this ballet moves its dancers in pairs and threes to create a sense of symmetry and proportion.

The audience is a witness to an intimate exploration of love and passion created by LA Dance Project director Benjamin Millepied. First created for the Paris Opera Ballet, where Millepied was director from 2014 to 2016, this ballet features three couples who fall in and out of love over the course of its 30 minutes.  Music of Ludwig von Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, commonly known as the Appassionata accompanying the act Is exceptional and difficult to play, this sonata is explosive, volatile, and impassioned—a stark contrast to the sunny clarity of Mozart’s Divertimento and perfection to this set. This romantic interlude interrupts the frenetic pace set in the opening allegro and transforms the emotional energy of the ballet to a stunning end to the act that energized the audience and moves their heart.
A modern set that some traditionalist question but was my favorite act and an amazing way to end the show. Inspired in part by walking through San Francisco, Peck’s new ballet, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,crafts an evolving dreamscape to an album by electronic music group M83. The stunning diversion from traditional ballet is it’s danced in sneakers. Even in sneakers it’s amazing how the dancers move through classical shapes. This is an act of experimentation by Peck who has been experimenting with choreographing not in pointe shoes, but in sneakers. It’s a choice that changes the dancers’ relationship to weight and the floor, grounding them in a way that is unique, casual but beautiful and modern.
This act is unique for the three duets and how they differ from one another and for how soloists appear and disappear within the greater mass, suggesting not just a community, but a whole world of inspiration and dream.
This was an amazing performance of contrasts from Act 1 to Act 3 and a not to be missed performance. If one is unsure about attending the ballet this is a production by the San Francisco Ballet not to be missed. Performances through 2/23/19 at the iconic San Francisco Opera House. 
The night we attended also happened to be #SFBalletNiteOut after party night benefiting the Transgendered Law Center with lavish music, face painting and meet the performance artists. An especially delightful treat and a highly recommended addition if you get the chance to join one of the #SFBalletNiteOut events. 
Chris Edwards Napa 2-16-19

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