San Francisco Ballet

The Sum of Its Parts

“Frankenstein” lumbered its way across the pond last weekend with much hoopla about its creator, Liam Scarlett, being the “youngest choreographer ever to have a full-length ballet commissioned by the Royal Ballet,” and advertisements emphasizing that this co-production between San Francisco Ballet and the Royal is “more a love story than a monster story.”

A Civil Affair

More than three decades at the helm of San Francisco Ballet has sharply attuned Helgi Tomasson to the political mood of his high society season opening gala attendees. Eight years ago, with the gala held one night after Barack Obama’s inauguration as president of the United States, Tomasson closed with George Balanchine’s “Stars and Stripes.” Last Thursday, on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the only red, white and blue to be found were the Bastille Day colors on Vanessa Zahorian’s sash in the pyrotechnic pas de deux from “Flames of Paris.”

The Loveliest Nutcracker

For us ballet diehards, the annual “Nutcracker” marathon performs double duty, filling companies’ coffers for the “real” season, and giving rising talents a chance to step out as one of those myriad Sugar Plum fairies in a mid-run matinee.

Shapes & Lines

It happened six days ago; it happened in a different age. An age in which we believed a racist, misogynist sociopath like Donald Trump could never be president. The audience at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater rose immediately, en masse, and poured forth solemn, awed applause for the LINES Ballet dancers.

The Forsythe Saga

Think of it as the terpsichorean equivalent of a mic drop—times four, or Beyoncé before Beyoncé (but a decided precursor to “Formation”). However one chooses to look at it, William Forsythe’s “Artifact Suite,” performed over the weekend by Houston Ballet (who premiered it just last month), was an anarchic, jaw-dropping stunner. One third of a unique bill—a trio of American ballet troupes each performing a Forsythe opus—“Artifact” is a one-act, forty-minute abstraction of the his 1984 “Artifact,” the first piece the American-born choreographer made for his now disbanded troupe, Ballett Frankfurt.