San Francisco Ballet Dancers & Fans! At long last…

…Odette is finally opening the blog portion of
Odette’s Ordeal!*  
*The rest of the site, including my SFB ‘Mystery Dancer’ interview, its accompanying photo shoot, and new Dancer bios are still ‘closed’ to the public, pending last minute revisions, so this is not (yet!) the official launch of Odette’s Ordeal. My faithful SFB Newsy Bits subscribers will receive an official email invitation for the launch soon.
 Bonus: ‘SFB Newsy Bits’ readers, and new readers alike, will  find news of my 2 upcoming surprise ‘Odette’s Ordeal’ Ballerina Guest Columnists in the ‘P.S.’ at the bottom of this post! That’s right, peeps; coming to a computer monitor near you, ‘Odette’s Ordeal’ is proud to present…
‘The Notorious M & Z’, a duo so devoid of delicacy, diplomacy, and discretion…they’ll give you the WILIS!  
     A Warm Welcome to all San Francisco Ballet Dancers & Fans!!! 
I want to thank all my faithful SFB Newsy Bits readers, San Francisco Ballet for their kind assistance while setting up this web site which is not at all affiliated with San Francisco Ballet (a big shout out to the SFB PR Goddesses: Kyra, Meredith, Lauren, & Victoria!), the most remarkably and diversely talented Dancers of SFB that are the reason for this site’s creation, and most importantly…
 I wish to publicly acknowledge and thank the incomparable Ronn Guidi, Former Artistic Director, Founder, and Choreographer of Oakland Ballet, without whose generous tutelage and mentoring I could not have survived a traumatic childhood and grown into the lover of Ballet I am today. Ronn, you have my deepest and eternal gratitude for every personal tendu, arabesque, and developpé correction you lovingly bestowed upon me. You gave me confidence, a partial scholarship, a plan to catch up quickly in an art form I was a late starter in, allowed me to assist you with the beginners, made me an exemplar, advanced me quickly to my 1st pair of pointe shoes (after an incredible summer of 4-5 daily classes that you did not take payment for, and in which I was allowed to prove myself)…and allowed me, probably the oldest member of your Oakland Youth Ballet, the highest honor of shadowing regular Company class and studying Pas de Deux with the best. You believed in me, when I could barely believe in myself and you will always and forever be…
…my hero!
I hope my SFB Newsy Bits subscribers will forgive me for backtracking a teensy bit; I’m bringing the last couple newsletters here to celebrate the impending SFB 2011 Gala, as well as to bring any newcomers up to speed. After this slight overlap with SFB Newsy Bits, we must bid it adieu and celebrate my new home here on Odette’s Ordeal!
For those of you who told me that you loved having my newsletters come directly to your email inbox, don’t despair! You still have that option; all you need to do is ‘subscribe’ to Odette’s Ordeal and every time I post, you’ll get an email with a link guiding you here. You’ll see the subscription widget there on the right sight of this page. Easy-peasy!
And NOW….
Only 2 Days till:


 Skip my commentary & rush to the dotted blue line below if you haven’t yet seen the Casting news! (But come back for my observations about the Gala program!)     
We are indeed fortunate this year for Gala; we have TWO World Premieres and TWO San Francisco Ballet Premieres in store for us!  
 World renowned San Francisco Ballet Choreographers (and Former SFB Principal Dancers) Yuri Possokhov & Val Caniparoli have each honored the Company with a brand new pas de deux, and the internationally respected and immensely popular Edwaard Liang, formerly of New York City Ballet and Morphoses (the company Christopher Wheeldon built), has a piece making its San Francisco Ballet debut on the Gala program. In 2008 Yuan Yuan Tan & Damian Smith danced his Distant Cries for SFB’s 75th Diamond Gala Celebration and looked great doing it!
   This year, Mr. Liang has given them another of his pas de deux’ to dance for the 2011 Gala. If  his ballet Somewhere in Time is danced to the theme music from the movie by the same title (music based on Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini), it will have me at ‘hello’…
   Val Caniparoli’s piece Double Stop, choreographed on Tiit Helimets & Sarah Van Patten, has the violinist in me wondering if there’s a parallel between his ballet and the definition of ‘double stop’ in violin/strings lingo; a ‘double stop’ means playing 2 strings simultaneously (and not accidentally)! Whatever the title suggests, Val has stated that he has been ‘very inspired by’ Tiit & Sarah, and he finds them to be ‘very poetic’ in his new choreography. And poetic they must be together, as Helgi Tomasson has also cast the pair in his Giselle, just days from now! 
 I imagine that Yuri Possokhov’s new ballet, Talk to Her, choreographed on Lorena Feijoo & Vitor Luiz, could have a dramatic or even comedic flair (based on Lorena’s, as well as Yuri’s, considerable skills in those genres). I’m also curious to know if it has anything to do with Pedro Almodovar’s film with the same name…We are still discovering the depth of relative newcomer Vitor Luiz, but his incredible Don Quixote variations had us gasping up in Napa over the summer when he & Lorena guested with several other international ballet stars from American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, & the Bolshoi Ballet in Festival del Sole. With Yuri’s undeniable ability to repeatedly create ballets that end up in the ‘timeless’ category, whatever he has in store for us has me giddy with anticipation!  
 And what about that 2nd San Francisco Ballet Premiere? For John Neuemeier fans (of The Little Mermaid fame), the choreographer and Artistic Director of Hamburg Ballet has 3 of SFB’s best technicians (I mean that in a good way!), Jaime Garcia Castilla, Taras Domitro, & Vanessa Zahorian, dancing in the cleverly titled Neue Pizzacato Polka (another strings reference!). Considering the athletic petite allegro these Dancers are capable of, along with the title of the piece…well, frankly, I expect fireworks!!!  
After much boo-hooing and whining on my part, I am pleased to share that FINALLY we get to see the spectacular Sofiane Sylve, that Mistress of Pirouttes & Fouettés who is also a Guest Instructor at SFB, in the Black Swan pas de deux from Helgi Tomasson’s Swan Lake with new SFB Soloist Vito Mazzeo! For those of you unfamilar with Ms. Sylve’s formidable technique, take a gander at what she might look like dancing the Black Swan fouetté sequence in this one minute video clip where she does just that, with Friedemann Vogel at the Royal Albert Hall in London, 2007:

 Oh, and why not share another Sofiane highlight while I’m at it and since the shoe fits? Yes, I am talking about Sofiane Sylve’s amazing ‘Super Pirouette’, quite possibly the most ‘viral’ ballet video in the dance community. (And you there! I know you’ve seen it a jillion times, but you just can’t help yourself, can you? Oh, none of us can! It’s like chocolate. Instant gratification. She’s electric, people scream, she cracks a smile, it’s magnificent! Consider it a guilty pleasure.):

 The Gala performance begins with a BANG, offering up that perennial crowd-pleaser The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude (excerpt seen in the 1st part of the Sofiane Sylve video directly above), with a cast to die for-all making their debuts in this mind blowing, lime green hula-hoop-tutu’d William Forsythe ballet of dynamic petite allegro (small, lightening-speed footwork), quick changes of direction and balance, and turns to make us dizzy with delight…all against a ‘Sky Blue Backdrop’ . This is a fabulous showcase for 3 women (you got it: the famous ‘Mommy team’ of Tina LeBlanc, Kristin Long, & Katita Waldo made it their combined signature piece!) and 2 men. This year’s ‘Vertiginous’ cast features Principal Dancers Frances Chung, Jaime Garcia Castilla, & Pascal Molat, and 2 Corps Dancers we should all have our eyes on, the lovely Charlene Cohen and brand new Corps Dancer Nicole Ciapponi, who I hope to feature later in the season!
 I’m happy to see the return of Alles Walzer, last seen here at SFB’s 2008 Diamond Gala with Pascal Molat & the much missed Nicolas Blanc. This year we are being treated to the hi-jinx of Joan Boada & Gennadi Nedvigin. Hold on tight!
 Taras Domitro & Vanessa Zahorian, also paired together in this season’s Giselle and Coppelia (based on SFB’s behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage), will be performing the Gorsky/Petipa Don Quixote Pas de Deux from Act 3, and I wouldn’t expect any less than thrilling from this pair. Vanessa’s strength and flair wedded to Taras’ ability to jump a gazillion miles in the air, hang around up there for a couple decades, and then lightly and cleanly touch down…bring it on!!!
 Missing from the Gala Casting are SFB Principal Dancers Davit Karapetyan, Kristin Long, Ruben Martin Cintas, & Pierre-Francois Vilanoba. 
Although SFB Principal Dancer Maria Kochetkova will not be dancing in this season’s Gala, she will be returning from her Brilliant Bolshoi Ballerina Blowout, Reflections, before the end of SFB’s Giselle run. More about Reflections later, when we hear from my ‘Reflections Correspondent’!
The Gala ends with a full-company extravaganza and four major pairs of Dancers promise to excite in a preview of this season’s Balanchine masterpiece…(So, scroll down to the dotted blue line for Casting already! You didn’t expect me to tell you, did you?!)    
Speaking of Gala, here’s the official online invitation:


              From SFB’s web site, here it is in all its glory!: 

       SFB Gala Casting

                                                     Wed. January 26, 2011, 8 pm 

Choreography: William Forsythe
Conductor: Martin West

Frances Chung*, Charlene Cohen*, Nicole Ciapponi*, Jaime Garcia Castilla*, Pascal Molat*

World Premiere
Choreography: Val Caniparoli
Music: Tape

Sarah Van Patten*, Tiit Helimets*

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
Conductor: Martin West

Dana Genshaft, Courtney Elizabeth, Hansuke Yamamoto, Garen Scribner

Choreography: Renato Zanella
Conductor: Martin West

Joan Boada*, Gennadi Nedvigin*

Choreography: Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
Conductor: Martin West

Sofiane Sylve+, Vito Mazzeo+


San Francisco Ballet Premiere
Choreography: John Neumeier
Conductor: Martin West

Vanessa Zahorian*, Jaime Garcia Castilla*, Taras Domitro*

World Premiere
TALK TO HER (hable con ella)
Choreography: Yuri Possokhov
Conductor: Martin West

Casting: Lorena Feijoo*, Vitor Luiz*

SFB Premiere
Choreography: Edwaard Liang
Conductor: Martin West
Piano: Roy Bogas

Yuan Yuan Tan*, Damian Smith*

Choreography: Alexander Gorsky and Marius Petipa
Conductor: Martin West

Vanessa Zahorian, Taras Domitro

Choreography: George Balanchine

 Conductor: Martin West

1st Movement: Lorena Feijoo, Artem Yachmennikov
2nd Movement: Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets
3rd Movement: Frances Chung, Isaac Hernandez*
4th Movement: Sarah Van Patten, Hansuke Yamamoto

 +premiere in Tomasson’s production.

* Denotes premiere in role.

Casting subject to change.


Keep this SFB Casting link handy; you’ll be looking for Casting all season long:


See You at the Ballet!!!

Teri McCollum/‘Odette’

‘SFB’s Head CheerPeep’ 

P.S. Be on the look-out for my 2 surprise Guest Columnists, The Notorious M & Z! They’re arriving sometime on Monday 1/24/11 while I’m at my day job. I’m giving them the key to my apartment and the password to their page on Odette’s Ordeal, so it’s quite possible they will introduce themselves to you shortly!

 Word to the wise: I suggest you give a wide berth to these bitter battling ballerinas. Though they promise to abide by ‘Odette’s Golden Rule’ (Odette’s Ordeal, being a Dancer-Friendly site, has a strict policy: ‘If you can’t say something nice. don’t say it here!’), their brawls have been known to RAISE THE DEAD!


About Odette's Ordeal

'Ballet's Head Cheerleader'
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