Catching up . . . My interview with SF Ballet soloist Rory Hohenstein in the Chronicle yesterday:

“Rory Hohenstein sets down his coffee and raises his arms, and suddenly it’s as if he’s a different person.

“It’s weird internal movement all the time,” he says, describing the steps in the ballet “Eden/Eden,” stretching his chest wide and undulating his shoulders to demonstrate. His pale face, with its dusting of freckles, no longer looks so boyish; his slight 5-foot-10 frame becomes larger than life.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” he says, his brown eyes excited. “Some ballets your body just goes crazy for.”

Hohenstein looks transformed — and it is a transformation that San Francisco Ballet audiences have been seeing a lot of lately. Six years ago, as an 18-year-old corps newbie, Hohenstein had an onstage persona more like his presence in real life: friendly, sweet, a little shy. But when Hohenstein steps out in the Opera House these days, he is something else: impassioned, unabashed and possessed of leading-man intensity. Choreographers have taken note.

“Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, William Forsythe — everyone has singled him out,” says company ballet master Ashley Wheater. “Whenever a choreographer new to the company watches rehearsal, they always say, ‘Who’s that boy in the corner?’ And, inevitably, it’s Rory.”

No surprise, then, that Hohenstein is suddenly all over the place, dancing everything from a charming Frenchman in “Aunis” to one of the lusty sailors in Jerome Robbins’ “Fancy Free.” Currently he’s stealing scenes as the head roper in Agnes de Mille’s “Rodeo.” This week he reprises his go-for-broke solo as the Red Man in Lar Lubovitch’s “Elemental Brubeck.”

It’s the Red Man solo that launched Hohenstein toward his promotion to soloist in 2006 — and not just because its razzle-dazzle steps drew on his childhood love of jazz and all things hammy. Exposed and all-out, the role pushed this normally reserved native of small-town Maryland past any last traces of bashfulness.”

Click here for the full story–and to learn how Hohenstein got SF Ballet artistic director Helgi Tomasson to rush backstage after a Jeune Ballet de France performance and offer the 18-year-old a contract on the spot.

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