Ghosts, Shades and an Exotic Firebird

 

San Francisco Ballet in the joyous final celebratory scene of Yuri Possokhov's FIREBIRD (Photo: Erik Tomasson)

San Francisco Ballet in the joyous final celebratory scene of Yuri Possokhov’s FIREBIRD (Photo: Erik Tomasson)

 

San Francisco Ballet’s latest mixed bill yielded the luscious, enigmatic Ghosts by Christopher Wheeldon, the otherworldly wraiths of La Bayadère‘s Kingdom of the Shades, and a curiously de-feathered Firebird, courtesy of SFB’s resident choreographer Yuri Possokhov. All revivals, though this was the first time they had appeared on my dance card.

Wheeldon’s fluid and inventive partnering bowed graciously to Balanchine, Robbins, Ailey, Graham, Kylián, and the Rockettes, among others, stitched together by lots of aimless rushing back and forth.
 

San Francisco Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon's GHOSTS (Photo: Erik Tomasson)

San Francisco Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon’s GHOSTS (Photo: Erik Tomasson)

 

Davit Karapetyan and Yuan Yuan Tan were glorious in Bayadère, undaunted by a wayward violin.  The grave beauty of the platoon of Shades, as they filtered down a long ramp and into their stark lines, was not dimmed in the least by a few wobbly ankles.
 

A vision of otherworldly beauty: the San Francisco Ballet corps in the Kingdom of the Shades from Makarova's staging of LA BAYADÈRE (Photo: Erik Tomasson)

A vision of otherworldly beauty: the San Francisco Ballet corps in the Kingdom of the Shades from Makarova’s staging of LA BAYADÈRE, after Petipa (Photo: Erik Tomasson)

 

The luminous Mathilde Froustey in Makarova's staging of LA BAYADÈRE (after Petipa) (Photo: Erik Tomasson)

The luminous Mathilde Froustey in Makarova’s staging of LA BAYADÈRE  (Photo: Erik Tomasson)

 

Wit and invention were plentiful in Possokhov’s condensed Firebird, but his uninspired choreography for the Firebird itself (danced on Thursday night by Sarah Van Patten, who can dance anything), and her ill-conceived costume, gave her the air of a burlesque dancer rather than a supernatural creature.

– More in our review on Bachtrack. –

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