At the San Francisco Ballet – Programs 6 continues with NIGHT, ON COMMON GROUND, and RODEO

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Choreographer Julia Adam’s NIGHT is a fantastically imagined dreamscape. The soundscape consists of selections from the provocative “Night Grooves” by composer Matthew Pierce – including beautiful renditions of Present, Office Parks and Strip Malls, African Smile, Salvadori Dali. The music can be sampled on-line and an order placed for the next issue of CDs. Onstage, the dancers’ translation of kinetic energy into suggestions of pursuit and resistance, desire and invasion was engaging and perplexing.

San Francisco Ballet premiered NIGHT in 2000. The 30-minute ballet draws-out imagery and bursts of energy common to everyone’s dream life – those odd projections of personalities and events, the three-dimensional embodiments of combined symbols and ideas – all drifting through and lifting the mind during what should be the lull of sleep. There is never a choice of subject, but sometimes an episode to settle upon – such as the momentary whim of an armchair channel-flipper. In the midst of such visions there can be a subjective choice to join it, judge it, jettison from it, or just hang-out until it’s over….

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Adams’ NIGHT. Images by Erik Tomasson

Marking its world premiere, Helgi Tomasson’s ON COMMON GROUND utilizes nine movements from composer Ned Rorem’s String Quartet No. 4. While not a “dream”, the production does inspire a fantastical appreciation of San Francisco Ballet – its amazingly diverse company of dancers, the daring use of music never intended as dance, the frequent absence of scenery and the filling up of the cavernous space with brilliant choreography, and the incomparable talents of conductor Martin West and the Ballet Orchestra. As with the SF Symphony, jeweled solo opportunities are provided to its individual members. Cello soloist David Kadarauch lavished a fiery temperament through the rich edginess of Rorem’s point / counter-point composition. Displayed in simple athletic-type attire designed by Sandra Woodall, under the warm lighting designs of Michael Mazzola – the awesome physical strength and artistic sharpness of this uncommonly sensual collection of Classically grounded dancers invites the highest levels of artistic appreciation.

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DAVIT KARAPETYAN and LORENA FEIJOO, TINA LeBLANC and JOAN BOADA – On Common Ground. Photo by Erik Tomasson

The perennial favorite, Agnes de Mille’s RODEO, lassoes dreams and fantasies into an always welcoming round-up of trysts, trials and traditions. In the Opening Night Spotlight as “The Cowgirl” was Kristin Long, a member of San Francisco Ballet since 1990. Shining-in from the Corps de Ballet – tall and lovely Pauli Magierek as “The Farmer’s Daughter” was swept away by the charms of “Wrangler” Aaron Orza (a native of Walnut Creek and possible nominee for the Clint Walker Look-A-Like Contest).

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(Left) Pauli Magierek and Aaron Orza, (Right) Garen Scribner, Kristin Long, and Rory Hohenstein. Photos by Erik Tomasson

But Rory Hohenstein was MVP throughout the evening, appearing prominently in all three works. Promoted to Soloist in 2006, Mr. Hohenstein captured just about everybody’s heart with his stunning work in last season’s ELEMENTAL BRUBECK. In this presentation of Program 6, Rory Hohenstein proves his sensuality in NIGHT, his teamwork and compatibilities through ON COMMON GROUND, and as a nimble tapper and supporting romantic lead in RODEO. An emphatic “Yes, Sir!” pierced through the bravos at his curtain call.

The following casts have been announced for this coming Friday evening and Sunday afternoon:

Friday, April 13th at 8:00 PM
NIGHT
Conductor: Gary Sheldon
Featuring: Tina LeBlanc, Ruben Martin

ON COMMON GROUND
Conductor: Martin West
Cello: David Kadarauch
Featuring: Sarah Van Patten, Tiit Helimets, Molly Smolen, Ruben Martin

RODEO
Conductor: Martin West
Featuring as –
Cowgirl: Kristin Long
Wrangler: Aaron Orza
Roper: Matthew Stewart
Rancher’s Daughter: Pauli Magierek

Sunday Matinee, April 15th at 2:00 PM
NIGHT
Conductor: Gary Sheldon
Featuring: Vanessa Zahorian, Tiit Helimets

ON COMMON GROUND
Conductor: Martin West
Cello: David Kadarauch
Featuring: Lorena Feijoo, Davit Karapetyan, Tina LeBlanc, Joan Boada

RODEO
Conductor: Martin West
Featuring as –
Cowgirl: Sarah Van Patten
Wrangler: Brett Bauer
Roper: Garrett Anderson
Rancher’s Daughter: Pauli Magierek

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RORY HOHENSTEIN – Kicks-up de Mille’s RODEO

To order tickets on-line to PROGRAM 6:

Friday, April 13th at 8:00 PM
Sunday Matinee, April 15th at 2:00 PM
Tuesday, April 17th at 8:00 PM
Saturday Matinee, April 21st at 2:00 PM
Saturday, April 21st at 8:00 PM

Check out Seán’s recent interviews and articles:
MANON LESCAUT – KDFC 102.1 and the San Francisco Opera
PASCAL MOLAT, A Stroll Through Eden/Eden
ALTAR BOYZ – In San Francisco
AFTER THE WAR – at A.C.T.
COLOR ME KUBRICK – starring John Malkovich

SUGGESTED DVD: WHY DANCE? A Film by James E. Manning

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San Francisco Sentinel’s Fine Arts Critic Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Ask him a question on AllExperts.com . If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: seanmartinfield@att.net.

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