Robert Tanitch reviews San Francisco Ballet at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London EC1
San Francisco Ballet, the oldest professional ballet company in the United Sates, founded in 1933, came to London with four distinct triple bills, all European premieres, all choreographed in the last five years and showcasing the company’s artistry and versatility.
Helgi Tomasson, the artistic director and chief choreographer has said their main aim is to search for something new all the time. I saw 3 of the 12 works.
Remember when we used to talk. Remember when we used to play.
Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet to music by Keston Heston reflects on society’s hyper-dependence on the cellphone, texting and scrolling all the time, and leading to their inability to truly connect with each other.
The dancing, classic and contemporary, literal and lyrical, says it is time to throw way the cellphone and start interconnecting and having some fun.
Angelo Greco has an engaging solo (Wavelength) at the beginning. Lonnie Weekes has a an intriguing solo (Trying To Breathe) at the end when he keeps collapsing.
Your Flesh Shall Be a Great Poem
Trey McIntyre’s impressionistic and tender ballet, full of joy and anguish, to music by Chris Ganeau, opens with an eclipse of the sun and takes his inspiration from a photograph of his grandfather in football gear in the 1920s and who in his old age suffered from dementia.
McIntye takes his title from the great American poet Walt Whitman’s Preface to Leaves with Grass, when he asks the reader “to re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem.”
Whitman loved young men and the final image is of a young man (Benjamin Freemantle) in his underpants doing all sorts of things with a stool.
David Dawson says his ballet is “physically emotional virtuosity combined to make something human.” He develops Carl Jung’s concept of the male aspect of the female psyche and the female aspect of the male psyche. The music is by Ezio Bosso.
“Don’t do what you know,” Dawson tells his dancers. “Do something beyond.”