The San Francisco Ballet gala Wednesday night was the company’s most satisfying in years. I reviewed for the Chronicle:

“Galas are all about variety and delight, two qualities San Francisco Ballet arguably serves up with more ease than any other ballet company in America. But in between giddy whispers of “Paris Hilton is here!” and attendant heiress sightings Wednesday night, a mood of reverence filtered through the War Memorial Opera House as the San Francisco Ballet ushered in its 72nd season.

The country’s oldest professional ballet company is nearing the three- quarter-century mark, but the magic number now is 20, which is how many years a soft-spoken, gallant Icelander named Helgi Tomasson has spent remaking the troupe from a regional player to an internationally respected powerhouse . . .

It was an evening of fresh maturity. Newly promoted soloist Elizabeth Miner brought gracious carriage and fluttery phrasing to “The Sleeping Beauty’s” Bluebird pas de deux, perfectly paired with Guennadi Nedviguine’s feathery beats. Boyish Gonzalo Garcia uncovered not just his chest, but new dramatic depths in Myriam Agar’s anxious “Sin Regreso,” a solo that might have looked silly in less committed hands. Vanessa Zahorian worked those hips and banged the tambourine in George Balanchine’s galloping “Tarantella.” Her partner Nicolas Blanc bounded with such gusto and unfailing rhythm that you had to wonder whether Edward Villella himself could have done it better.”

The Chronicle went gangbusters with coverage. I’ll spare you the Paris Hilton reportage, but offer a profile of principal Pascal Molat by Carolyne Zinko.

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