I?ve just returned from the Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco, where I led a lecture and Q and A with Yannis Adoniou, artistic director of Kunst-Stoff. The Yerba Buena Gardens have commissioned a fresh take on Fokine?s iconic ?Les Sylphides? from Adoniou, which he has set to the original Chopin and titled ?Less Sylphedes.? I?ll admit I?m not fond of postmodern puns, and the whole premise might sound either promising or appalling, depending on how sacrosanct you hold your classics, and how well you know Adoniou?s work. But I saw the new piece in the studio yesterday, and again in excerpts on the outdoor stage this afternoon, and I think Adoniou?s approach is quite remarkable. The ethereality of Fokine?s fantasia of romanticism dissolves into carnality?but it does so gradually, with great craft and gathering force.
There will be two versions of Kunst-Stoff?s new ?Less Sylphedes?: a lower-tech outdoor setting, and an edition with video projections to be presented during the company?s home season at ODC Theater September 22-October 1. But first you should get yourself to Third and Mission Streets, where the work will be danced at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, Friday August 26, and at 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All the performances are free; click here for more info.
As for the September home season, one of the luxuries of having three dance writers at the San Francisco Chronicle, even if all of us are freelance, is that I can participate in a lecture like today?s and then recuse myself from reviewing the work until I feel I?ve recovered sufficient objectivity. But I?ll be at ODC Theater for Kunst-Stoff?s season next month, and in my non-objective opinion, you should be too.