My review of San Francisco Ballet’s program four in today’s Chronicle:

“If you want to know where the San Francisco Ballet is headed, talk to the younger dancers. For months, they’ve been buzzing about “Eden/Eden,” the futuristic work by British choreographer Wayne McGregor that had its U.S. premiere on the company’s Program 4 Tuesday night. Such bizarre, crazy movement! Like nothing we’ve ever danced! And indeed they danced it with obvious relish.

But what may feel cutting-edge and exciting to dancers brought up in the relatively artistically isolated world of ballet is not always a thrill for the audience. “Eden/Eden” is relentless. It’s designed to be. It’s about cloning, and it uses music by the minimalist composer Steve Reich — fast repeating xylophone rhythms intercut with robotic voices, and audio clips of scientists talking about genetic engineering. The nine dancers start out in flesh-colored underwear and bald caps, looking like eerie mannequins; Ursula Bombshell’s costumes really do succeed at making them look identical. Later, apparently as they begin to take over the human race, they put on clothes; there’s also a tree hovering in the background, and it disappears along with our last shred of humanity. Think Philip K. Dick for the Opera House stage.

The movement would indeed be novel for a ballet dancer. Limbs hyperextend; arms look as if they want to pop out of their joints. Much of it is quite inventive: hips and ribs shimmying upward from deep grand plies; a leg extended with a flexed foot rocking side to side, boom-boom-boom. Muriel Maffre is the high priestess of this kind of style, but the whole cast — including corps members Dana Genshaft and Hayley Farr — clearly take to it, and the young soloist Jaime Garcia Castilla has a whip-crack solo that may be his finest moment yet.

So why then does it all grow so tiresome?”

For my best answer to that final question, and the rest of the review, click here.

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