If I took guidance from the wisdom of Green Day and asked to be woken ‘when September ends’, I’d be missing out on all kinds of treats. In the immediate post-Paralympic slump it almost seemed a tempting offer but then I remembered pinned to my noticeboard were my tickets to see the San Francisco Ballet at Sadler’s Wells. Not once, not twice but thrice. Last time SFB hit the Wells was 2004 and I was hiding out in small town Scotland embarking on the final year of my everlasting degree. I could easily be forgiven for missing them… Mind you, let’s be honest, back in 2004 I didn’t even know that SFB existed.My awareness of them came much later when I joined the Twittaz some years down the line and wound up following SFB principal Maria Kotchetkova. Last night I finally got to put a live dancer to the tweets, and she was smashing. So was the entire company in fact. Glorious.
SFB are in residence at Sadler’s Wells until next weekend running three programmes of mixed bills. Last night kicked off with programme A comprising Balanchine, Liang and Wheeldon.
Balanchine’s Divertimento No 15 to music of Mozart was, well, strictly Balanchine. Not, for me, one of his greatest hits but largely enjoyable and, as ever, a quick speed through everything that is awesome about ballet in half an hour. Lovely costumes, cracking dancing and the perfect curtain raiser.
This was followed by Edwaard Liang’s Symphonic Dances to music by Rachmaninov. Now this, chums, was a real cracker of a piece. It was weighty, punchy and filled with moments that made you go “…ooh”. Yeah. Abstract in tone, the chemistry between the dancers was sizzling producing fiery pas de deux flanked by the corps moving seamlessly around them. I admit, I really liked the swirly long skirts the women were wearing which really helped the flow of the piece.
The night was rounded off with Christopher Wheeldon’s Number Nine which was sixteen minutes of pure unadulterated joy. There’s a beautiful simplicity in Wheeldon’s choreography here – much like his Polyphonia you’re not left wondering where that lift suddenly came from because everything blends together so perfectly. Number Nine is a much more upbeat piece though, a constant source of movement and a truly brilliant way to round off the evening.
If that’s what SFB promised me on opening night, I really can’t wait for the other programmes. Nope.
[All images via the Google machine, click to link back to original source]