Odette Needs Your Final Votes for Dance Advantage’s Top Dance Blog Contest of 2013!!!


Hi Peeps-

Last week, before the unfair and unmanicured hand of doom came down upon Odette’s PC, Odette’s Ordeal qualified for the finals (!) of Dance Advantage’s ‘Top Twenty Dance Blogs’ (thanks to *you*, Odette’s loyal readers!) & now needs your *final* votes in 2 categories!

(Are you sitting down? Because the deadline is in an hour and a half!)

Odette is SOOO sorry for the late notice, trust me…more sorry than the sorriest sorrowful sorrower (making up words is totally allowed in these *Special Circumstances*) than you could possibly know:

Guess whose computer has been sick since the day the final phase of the contest began?

Mmm Hmmm. You got that right, peeps; 1/24/13, the day of the San Francisco Ballet Gala, the reason this whole blog came into being, also happened to be the 1st day of needing your votes for the contest finals…and Odette’s computer decided to take an extended nap. A week long ‘I am sick and tired of this and going to *not* cooperate till I’m correctly diagnosed’ nap.

Odette rushed home from Gala on 1/24/13, loaded photos, began her review, worked on said review, a pending interview, and the ‘After Party’ posts all day Saturday, was cruising towards clicking the almighty ‘publish’ button on Sunday, finally beginning to *think* about informing her readers of the need for votes, like every other qualifying blogger, knowing she still had days to rack up those votes, and…



(I know, right?…)

That is correct, readers. The day I needed to publish a post telling you all that I needed your final votes…my computer decided to contract a serious illness.

I know it’s last minute (literally), but…

*Pleeease* vote by *clicking* on (no comments needed) Odette’s Ordeal in 2 different polls:

‘Your Favorite Dance Blog’

(scroll down to the gray box, in the link below, to find it, click ‘Odette’s Ordeal’, which is 3rd on the list, then click ‘Vote’)

and then go *back* and find, just below that, the ‘Speaking Dance’ category! Click Odette’s Ordeal of the 3 blogs in that box, click ‘Vote’ again and you’re done!

2 votes with 2 simple clicks & ‘Odette’ will be forever grateful! This is the final vote and I really need your help, if anyone out there can hear me, considering I had no means of informing you before this minute-thanks so much for the love!

 Here’s the link:


Thanks for your support and know I am absolutely amazed I got any votes at all, considering I had no means of informing you of the contest finals!


See You at the Ballet (where everything is beautiful!)

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San Francisco Ballet Gala 2013: Performance & Party Photo Galleries

SFB Gala 2013 'Moving the Compass'; photo of 'Raymonda' tutu from SFB's blog

SFB Gala 2013 ‘Moving the Compass’; photo of ‘Raymonda’ tutu from SFB’s blog

Lorena Feijoo in Nureyev’s Raymonda Act III © Erik Tomasson

Lorena Feijoo in Nureyev’s Raymonda Act III © Erik Tomasson

SFB Corps Dancer Diego Cruz at the After Party 'Barre'; photo: Fernando Lopez

SFB Corps Dancer Diego Cruz at the After Party ‘Barre’; photo: Fernando Lopez

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^The Gala Performances^


The After Party Celebration:

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Odette is sad to report that her computer has been very ill (possibly Mad Cow Disease) since 2 days after SFB’s Gala, so the reviews of Gala & Program 1 will be posted as soon her computer is up and running. (Talk about timing! lol) In the meantime, feast your eyes on the slideshows of the Gala Performances & After Party photos.

Odette’s apologies for any errors or omissions in this entire post, but she is not able to publish a *real* blog post or make any corrections just yet, until her PC has recuperated. These photos were already loaded with the Gala program below, so she figures you just want to see them, with or without the reviews.


Another issue that has Odette deeply chagrined is that her wonderful readers wrote enough comments for her to qualify (again!) in the annual Finals of Dance Advantage’s ‘Top Dance Blogs’ contest (Woot!)… which is fabulous!!!

*But* (here’s where that deep chagrin enters the picture)…

The day that the final phase of the contest began-the day Odette was to inform her readers, like every other qualifying blogger, that she was even *in* the finals and that they should now make their final votes for Odette’s Ordeal in 2 categories-happened to be 1/24/13, the day of SFB’s Gala. Odette rushed home from Gala, loaded these wonderful Gala photos (which she *did* post on Facebook and Twitter, if you follow her there), began working on her review, and before she got to post that review or even *think* about a ‘Top Dance Blogs Contest’ post, asking her readers to vote…

…her computer suddenly became stricken before she could publish anything at all.

(Enter full time day job, lots of rebooting and intermittent freezing of computer processes in the eves…and in between attending Gala and Opening Night of Program 1, being up to all hours trying to unsuccessfully nurse her poor computer back to health, post on her blog, and finally getting the diagnosis and treatment plan from an actual professional techie, yada, yada, yada…)

Now it’s the actual contest deadline (midnight tonight) and she is *just* getting to publish this much for you…

…and beg you to vote for Odette’s Ordeal in the 2 categories she qualified in, if you haven’t already succumbed to her Facebook pleas, which is the only way she has been able to seek votes (using her iPhone).

*Pleeease* vote by *clicking* on (no comments needed this time) ‘Odette’s Ordeal’ in 2 different polls:

‘Your Favorite Dance Blog’ (scroll down to the gray box; ‘Odette’s Ordeal’ is 3rd) and just below that, in the ‘Speaking Dance’ category! 2 votes with 2 simple clicks & ‘Odette’ will be forever grateful! This is the final vote and she really needs your help-thanks so much for the love!
  Here’s the link:



Happy San Francisco Ballet Season 2013!!!


Opening Night Gala 2013

Thursday January 24, 2013: Repertory and Casting



Composer: Louis Gottschalk

Orchestrated by: Hershy Kay

Choreography:George Balanchine

Current Staging by: Elyse Borne

Costume Design: after Karinska

Conductor: Martin West

Piano Solo: Michael McGraw

Casting: Sasha De Sola*, Pascal Molat*


Final solo from L’ARLESIENNE

Composer: Georges Bizet

Choreography: Roland Petit

Staged by: Luigi Bonino

Scenic Design: René Allio

Costume Design: Christine Laurent

Lighting Design: after Jean-Michel Desiré

Conductor: Martin West

Casting: Pierre-François Vilanoba*



Composer: Matthias Strebinger, adapted by Holger Simon Paulli

Orchestrated by: William McDermott

Choreography: August Bournonville

Current Staging by: Helgi Tomasson

Conductor: Martin West

Casting: Clara Blanco*, Gennadi Nedvigin



Composer: Wojceich Kilar

Choreography: Myles Thatcher

Costume Design: Susan Roemer, Myles Thatcher

Lighting Design: Kevin Connaughton

Conductor: Martin West

Casting: Dores Andre*, Dana Genshaft*, Joan Boada*, Jaime Garcia Castilla*


Raymonda’s solo from RAYMONDA ACT III

Composer: Alexander Glazunov

Choreography: Rudolph Nureyev after Marius Petipa

Reconstructed and Staged by: Grant Coyle, assisted by Bruce Sansom

Lighting Design: after John B. Read

Conductor: Martin West

Casting: Lorena Feijoo


2nd movement of TRIO

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson

Scenic Design: Alexander V. Nichols

Costume Design: Mark Zappone

Lighting Design: Christopher Dennis

Conductor: Martin West

Casting: Sarah Van Patten, Tiit Helimets, Vito Mazzeo


grand pas de deux from DON QUIXOTE, ACT III

Composer: Ludwig Minkus and Riccardo Drigo

Choreography: after Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky

Staged by: Helgi Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov

Costume Design: Martin Pakledinaz

Lighting Design: after James F. Ingalls

Associate Costume Designer: Heather Lockard

Conductor: Martin West

Casting: Frances Chung, Taras Domitro


pas de deux from ONEGIN, ACT I

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Arrangement and Orchestration: Kurt-Heinz Stolze

Choreography: John Cranko

Staged by: Reid Anderson and Jane Bourne

Scenic and Costume Design: Santo Loquasto

Lighting Design: after James F. Ingalls

Copyright Dieter Graefe

Conductor: Martin West

Casting: Maria Kochetkova, Vitor Luiz


pas de deux from STARS AND STRIPES

Composer: John Philip Sousa

Adapted and orchestrated by: Hershey Kay

Choreography: George Balanchine

Current Staging by: Elyse Borne

Costume Design: after Karinska

Lighting Design: after Sarah Linnie Slocum

Conductor: Martin West

Casting: Vanessa Zahorian*, Davit Karapetyan*

pas de deux from AFTER THE RAIN

Composer: Arvo Pärt

Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon

Costume Design: Holly Hynes

Lighting Design: Mark Stanley

Conductor: Martin West

Violin: Roy Malan

Piano: Michael McGraw

Casting: Yuan Yuan Tan, Damian Smith


excerpts from SUITE en BLANC

Composer : Édouard Lalo

Choreography: Serge Lifar

Staged by: Maina Gielgud

Conductor: Martin West

Casting: Sofiane Sylve*, Tiit Helimets*


* Indicates premiere in role ^Indicated guest artist Program and casting subject to change


Click here for ticket info for *the* Gala event of then year!

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2013 Top Dance Blogs Contest; Nominate ‘Odette’s Ordeal’ With a Comment!

The Dance Advantage Top Dance Blog Contest 2013

The Dance Advantage Top Dance Blog Contest 2013

Hello Dear Readers!

As this Thursday’s San Francisco Ballet 2013 Opening Night Gala (woot!) begins the season with a program to delight every SF Balletomane (woot woot!), Odette is brushing off her keyboard to continue to bring you up-to-the minute previews, interviews, ‘Newsy Bits’, reviews, video clips, and photo shoots of your favorite dancers…in her trademark ‘Let’s Celebrate the Dancers’ style (woot woot woot!).


In exhange for all the goodies Odette will bestow on her peeps this coming season, she would very dearly love to have *your* support, once again, in this years’s annual ‘Top Dance Blog Contest 2013′ sponsored by Dance Advantage: http://www.danceadvantage.net/2013/01/07/be-a-top-dance-blog

All you need to do to nominate Odette’s Ordeal into the finalist round (part 2 of the contest begins 1/24/13, when your actual votes will be summoned), is comment right here on this post (in the comment box at the bottom) by midnight on 1/22/13!

Just one single (teeny tiny, simple wimple, itsy bitsy) comment, that requires a few very generous seconds of your very busy life, will suffice.

It is important to note that commenting on *this* post (*not* Dance Advantage’s blog post) is the *only* guaranteed protection you will have from suffering an untimely death caused by:

1. A heretofore unknown planetary object crashing into your general vicinity at 149 times the speed of light (even faster than Vanessa Zahorian can turn!)

2. Hungry angst-ridden teenage zombies in drag, singing ‘Glee’s Greatest Hits’ off-key (choreographed by Myles Thatcher)

3. The Disney Villains’ Dance of Doom-Bwahahaha! (choreographed by Val Caniparoli)

4. Bubonic Plague (choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon)


5. The Wrath of Odette (Run, hide!!!)

Soooo…please take that itsy bitsy moment (right now, before you take a bite out of that healthy ballet burrito) and protect yourself from Disney villains and zombies by making that comment in the box at the bottom of this entire post that says ‘Enter your comment here’, telling me (and the world) why you love Odette’s Ordeal. A solitary sentence will do.

Thank you in advance for your support; your comments and votes won Odette’s Ordeal the #9 Dance Blog Award in the whole universe for 2012…in her first year of blogging!

See You at the Ballet!

P.S. Stay tuned for Gala Casting


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San Francisco Ballet Announces Nutcracker Casting!



San Francisco Ballet is back “in the house” (officially pronounced howwwwwwwwws-in a deep basso profundo timbre-for those SFBalletomanes who feel the need) and has just announced Opening Night Nut Casting! To seasoned SFB fans, this announcement ends the traditional way-too-long period of time since our favorite dancers stepped/jetéd out on their own home stage at the War Memorial Opera House (since May, to be precise), so the advent of Nutcracker, our official harbinger of the anxiously-awaited 2013 SFB Season, is reason to rejoice!

Before we get to that Nut casting, let Odette give a big hearty “Congrats” and “Merde” to recently promoted Soloist Sasha De Sola, who dances her first Sugar Plum Fairy on 12/8/12 at 7pm, Carlos Quenedit, who will premiere his first SFB Nutcracker Prince in the glorious Grand Pas de Deux on 12/9/12 at 2pm, and to new company Soloist Luke Ingham who debuts as King of the Snow on 12/7/12 Opening Night at 7pm. Luke will be partnering SFB favorite Sarah Van Patten…but not for the first time-he *has* been doing just that while SFB has been on tour, but this will be our first opportunity to see them together here (where they belong!) at home. Odette will also be “in the howwwwwwws” on opening night, to give her full report on Mr. Ingham. (It should be all good-this young man has already been wowing audiences all around the world!)

 Now…let’s get right to that Cracker Casting (remember, as always, casting is subject to change, so keep checking SFB’s casting page here for frequent updates):


Casting from December 7–9, 2012

* Denotes premiere in role for current production. All casting subject to change.


Friday, December 7, 7 pm (Opening Night)

Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Damian Smith

Queen and King of the Snow: Sarah Van Patten, Luke Ingham*

Sugar Plum Fairy:  Sofiane Sylve

Grand Pas de Deux:  Frances Chung, Davit Karapetyan


Saturday, December 8, 2 pm (Matinee)

Conductor: Ming Luke

Drosselmeyer:   Val Caniparoli

Queen and King of the Snow: Vanessa Zahorian, Taras Domitro

Sugar Plum Fairy:  Sarah Van Patten

Grand Pas de Deux:  Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets


Saturday, December 8, 7 pm (Evening)

Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Ricardo Bustamante

Queen and King of the Snow: Frances Chung, Vitor Luiz

Sugar Plum Fairy:  Sasha De Sola*

Grand Pas de Deux:  Yuan Yuan Tan, Vito Mazzeo


Sunday, December 9, 2 pm (Matinee)

Conductor: Ming Luke

Drosselmeyer: Val Caniparoli

Queen and King of the Snow Yuan Yuan Tan, Vito Mazzeo

Sugar Plum Fairy: Courtney Elizabeth

Grand Pas de Deux: Sarah Van Patten, Carlos Quenedit*


Sunday, December 9, 7 pm (Evening)

Conductor: Martin West

Drosselmeyer: Damian Smith

Queen and King of the Snow: Koto Ishihara, Gennadi Nedvigin

Sugar Plum Fairy: Jennifer Stahl

Grand Pas de Deux: Vanessa Zahorian, Taras Domitro


One last hearty “Congratulations” to this year’s SFB Opening Night Nutcracker Principal Cast, which belongs to Frances Chung as the grown up Clara & Davit Karapetyan as the Nutcracker Prince (yes, this is the final act’s Grand Pas de Deux pair), Sofiane Sylve as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Luke Ingham & Sarah Van Patten as King and Queen of the Snow, and Damian Smith as Herr Drosselmeyer.


For tickets, visit SFB’s Nutcracker page here.


See You at the Ballet!

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Tiit Helimets, San Francisco Ballet’s Princely Estonian Dancer, to Present Unique Performance Art Installation at De Young Museum

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Tiit Helimets, San Francisco Ballet’s golden-haired Estonian, most frequently associated with the ‘white tights’ roles of ballet royalty, has a new venture and it is a treasure trove of collaborative riches, full of familiar San Francisco Ballet dancer talent in very unfamiliar ways (many surprises in store for those that proudly consider themselves ‘San Francisco Balletomanes’, as we like to say in OdetteSpeak), and so chock full of varied artistic promise that the description “unique multi-media installation” barely scratches the surface. Yet these are the words I, myself, chose to write in the Kickstarter ad below, to support Mr. Helimets’s upcoming show at the De Young Museum.
When you’ve read about the one-time only evening of world premieres to be presented on October 12, 2012, from 6:30-8:30pm, my enthusiasm will likely spread like wildfire;  it is my hope that you will then click on the link that takes you directly to the ‘Kickstarter’ ad, at the bottom of this post, and join me in supporting this incredible event…and the ‘behind-the-scenes’ companion film that will be made to document the artistic process associated with the installation.
(If for no other reason than seeing the accompanying video trailer on the ‘Kickstarter’ site, which features a paint splattered Tiit talking about his project, a mysterious ballerina’s feet in pointe shoes, and a list of incredible ‘perks’ to those who support the project. you must go there and check it out.)
(Or you can just skip reading it below, and go straight to the Kickstarter ad here.)
Here it is-
‘What I Wrote and Why I Wrote It’:

Tiit Helimets and Co.- The de Young Project, Fall, 2012

On October 12, 2012, from 6:30-8:30 pm, Tiit Helimets, Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet and Artistic Director of Tiit Helimets and Co, will be presenting a unique multi-media installation at the prestigious M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, one of the most respected fine arts museums in the U.S.

This remarkable and unprecedented project is an homage to Mr. Helimets’s Estonian roots, with particular inspiration drawn from the colors of his homeland’s flag. Tiit is known for his generosity amongst his co-workers in the world of ballet and the ‘de Young Project’ is no exception; this fresh Tiit Helimets and Co. endeavor will, once again, be a collaborative effort which includes some of ballet’s finest dancers, as they explore their artistic talents beyond the world of classical ballet.

In addition to showcasing the previously unknown artistic talents of some of the San Francisco Ballet’s most familiar movers (normally seen on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House), the installation will include an extraordinary presentation of multiple world premieres, in a veritable bouquet of fine and performing arts:

Dancers: Dana Genshaft, Myles Thatcher, and Luke Willis
Narrators: Shannon Roberts and Molly Shaiken
Original specially commissioned musical composition: Jonah Kim
Singer: Shannon Roberts
Makeup: Melanie Birch                                                                                      Stage Manager: Jane Green
Costumes and Jewelry: Dores Andre and Jaime Garcia-Castilla
The world premiere poem that inspired the entire project: Abi Basch
Live painting performance of ‘Synesthesia’: Dustin Shane, who ‘sees’ music as it is played
Photography: Alexander Reneff-Olson
Screening of Eastern Odyssey: Quinn Wharton’s film of Tiit Helimets and Co.’s 2011 Summer Tour to Estonia


“Blue, Black, and White” a brand new film by Rapt Productions

In this brand new film, Tiit has given us yet another behind-the-scenes opportunity to watch the entire creative process of Tiit Helimets and Co. “Blue, Black and White” chronicles the de Young Project as it unfolds, leading right up to the actual performance installation. And this is where you can make a difference.

If you have said to yourself (even once!), “wow”, while reading about this sensational hand-selected group of artists that will be displaying their heretofore hidden talents, please make a donation to bring Tiit Helimets’s vision to life; the de Young Museum has provided the installation space, but the project and film cannot happen without your additional support to fund the costs of film production and materials.

Tiit Helimets and Co. continues to bring us closer to understanding the creative process of the artists we most respect and will once again give some fabulous exclusive perks in return for your support; to whet your appetite, take a look at the list of goodies attached to each level of donation.

And did we mention that there will be an ongoing series of film teasers, for donors only, unveiling the ongoing progress of the project leading up to the installation? Or that there might be those wonderful artist conversations and interviews for your viewing pleasure?

No donation is too small; remember-it is a collaborative effort of donors that will ultimately support this collaborative effort of artists.

Thanks for sharing the vision!

With Great Gratitude,

Tiit Helimets and Co.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Please click here to go directly to the Kickstarter ad, so you can view the video and donate!
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
See you at the de Young!!!
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Baby Girl Born to San Francisco Ballet’s Lorena Feijoo & Vitor Luiz!

Lorena Feijoo, Vitor Luiz, & about-to-be-born-to-the-proudest-parents-in-the-world ‘Baby Girl’! Taken 1 month ago.

She’s here! She’s here! She’s HERE!!!

San Francisco Ballet’s most P.P.P. (Passionate Principal Pair), Lorena Feijoo and Vitor Luiz, are now the proud parents of an 8.5 pound baby girl, born yesterday morning at 10:02 am in San Francisco. Lorena’s Facebook page tells us that Baby Girl was put immediately in her mother’s arms, and that Lorena’s sister, Lorna, described her as “bella”.

Vitor also sent Odette a personal message that they will soon be sending some exclusive baby photos to Odette to share with her readers, so stay tuned!


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San Francisco Ballet Casting & Programming Change for Stern Grove 2012

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All slideshow ^ photos © Erik Tomasson

Yuan Yuan Tan & Davit Karapetyan in Balanchine’s ‘Scotch Symphony’; Photo © Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet Casting & Updated Programming for Stern Grove Performance, 7/29/12, 2pm

Please note the following changes in SF Ballet’s Stern Grove program: Myles Thatcher’s lyrical and undulating Spinae will replace the pas de deux from Tomasson’s 7 for Eight. Odette fell in love with the May 30th, 2012, performance of  Spinae at SF Ballet School’s 2012 Student Showcase and is pleased to report it will again be performed by the SF Ballet School Trainees and Company Apprentices. This is the 2nd year that SFB has decided to share the stage with its own talented pre-professionals (currently on their own tour in Tokyo!) and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Last year’s Stern Grove performance of Thatcher’s Timepiece was proof that these young dancers deserve their hard-won place on that stage. This isn’t just *any* group of ballet students-this is a hand-selected mini-troupe from one of the best schools in the country; most of these dancers will find professional jobs in major companies, if we won’t see them in SFB itself.

San Francisco Ballet Students & Trainees in Thatcher’s ‘Spinae’, 5/30/12 Student Showcase; Photo © Erik Tomasson

Christopher Wheeldon’s Number Nine will replace Within in the Golden Hour. All I have to say about that is this: Though Within the Golden Hour seems to be preferred by SFBalletomanes, I think it is a very wise choice to save it for the Opera House stage this next season. Why? The lighting is so integral to the ballet that my fear, upon receiving the first press release, was that much of the atmospheric quality would be lost in the light of day and I would hate for anyone to see the ballet in less than its optimum conditions. The highly technical Number Nine may not be as poetic, but let’s face it-it’s still Wheeldon, right? And I think this technicolor ballet might shine anew on the outdoor stage. I have nicknamed it ‘The Crayola Ballet’, while a friend often refers to the brilliantly costumed dancers as “Lollipops”. (She happens to prefer the male “Orange Lollipops” best, but I’ll leave you to go scurrying for your cast sheets before I give her preferences away.)

Dores Andre & Pascal Molat in Wheeldon’s ‘Number Nine’; Photo © Erik Tomasson

(Their initials are PM and DDO)

(PM is pictured on this page. DDO is from Brazil).

(Was that bad of me?)


The order and casting of the new ‘Grove’ program for Sunday, July 29, is:

Choreographer: George Balanchine
Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor: Martin West

Yuan Yuan Tan, Davit Karapteyan
Nicole Ciapponi


Choreographer: Myles Thatcher
Composers: Phil Kline and Mary Ellen Childs

Lacey Escabar, Lauren Parrott, Emma Rubinowitz
Alexander Reneff-Olson, Wei Wang
Jeanette Kakareka, Mimi Tompkins
Aaron Renteria, Devon Carbone, Max Cauthorn


Choreographer: Hans van Manen
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor: Martin West

Gennadi Nedvigin, James Sofranko, Hansuke Yamamoto

Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Composer: Michael Torke
Conductor: Martin West

Frances Chung, Pascal Molat
Vanessa Zahorian, Garen Scribner
Sarah Van Patten, Ruben Martin Cintas,
Sasha DeSola, Vitor Luiz


^Note that popular Soloist (and one of SFB’s strongest contemporary Artists), Garen Scribner, and the Corps de Ballet dancer (and newlywed!) that wowed us in Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15, Sasha De Sola, are strutting their very talented stuff along with some of the company’s biggest stars in Number Nine.

Newbies and longstanding SFBalletomanes will be equally delighted by van Manen’s SOLO as we rediscover that sometimes it takes a rivalry (and revelry) of *3* to dance a solo. This romp of a gala piece features 2 familiar SOLO faces, Gennadi Nedvigin and Hansuke Yamamoto, along with James Sofranko making his debut, and will have you smiling from beginning to end-or Odette will give you your money back!*

*(Did I mention that the fabulous Stern Grove summer performances, including SF Ballet’s program, are FREE?)

Hansuke Yamamoto in van Manen’s SOLO; Photo © Erik Tomasson

I have to save descriptive comments about Thatcher’s gorgeous Spinae for my actual review, but here’s a sneak peek; two video clips are from the free City Hall Rotunda Series performance last season (one from my new blogging buddy, Jeff Tabaco of The Music and the Mirror), one video is an interview with the choreographer and SFB Corps de Ballet dancer, Myles Thatcher, on choreographing his ballet on the Trainees, and the photos are from the SFBS 5/30/12 Student Showcase I attended:

Interview with Myles Thatcher
Spinae at City Hall Rotunda Series footage, 1st clip view
Spinae at City Hall Rotunda Series footage, 2nd clip

San Francisco Ballet Students & Trainees in Thatcher’s ‘Spinae’, 5/30/12 Student Showcase; Photo © Erik Tomasson

Balanchine’s odd little gem, Scotch Symphony, featuring ‘Scots in Skirts’ (I couldn’t resist saying that, but will clarify that there are, indeed, a lot of young men in tartan present), a lovely sylph in a diaphanous pink romantic skirt, and a sprightly kilt-adorned female soloist in my favorite RED POINTE SHOES (thank you, Nicole!), features last season’s opening star pair, Davit Karapetyan and Yuan Yuan Tan. See our beloved ‘YY’ in this and you’ll know ‘Why YY Wows’!

Courtney Elizabeth in Balanchine’s ‘Scotch Symphony’; Photo © Erik Tomasson

Yuan Yuan Tan & Davit Karapetyan in Balanchine’s ‘Scotch Symphony’; Photo © Erik Tomasson


 As always: please be informed that in the event of injury or illness, casting is subject to change. Please check the official SFB Casting page for updates here:



For more information about Stern Grove and its 75th Season, please visit their web site here.


A few words to the wise: Come early-really early-for the best spot, if you don’t want to be sitting up in the trees with binoculars (I kid not!); this is one of *the* most popular free (or otherwise) events in San Francisco.

That said, come with friends, a picnic, a comfortable pillow and blankie/towel to sit on (with a waterproof tarp underneath if you come uber-early, as the grass is VERY dewy in the morning) and the time will fly. I used to bring a book and headphones to kill the time before the performance, but found there really is no need. The dancers will soon be warming up on stage for all to see (no curtain!), the orchestra will be rehearsing, and the fireflies will be soaring, so you will be as entertained by the pre-performance activites as by the actual performance. The outdoor air is rife with happy summer feelings and the camaraderie of fellow dance lovers.

I cannot stress this enough: WEAR LAYERS, A HAT, AND BRING SUNGLASSES AND SUNSCREEN! The weather *can* be ‘moist’ (polite Odettespeak for foggy as hell). The morning often begins in a foggy 50 degrees, but you may find yourself sweating in honest-to-goodness summer heat and wishing you were in a tank top before the performance ends.

Then again-the fog may not lift at all. Or it may not even appear. After all, this is San Francisco, peeps!


Finally: I love to reconnect with SFBalletomanes at this event, so please come find me at one of the picnic tables.


A previous post here, which addressed SFB’s first 2012 Stern Grove programming announcement, which has since changed, is still worth visiting. Why would you still want to visit it? To view the SIX video clips from 2011′s Grove show, including Sofiane Sylve’s Isadora Duncan Dance Award winning Symphony in C performance!

~~~ See You at the Ballet!~~~

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