My review of Yuri Possokhov?s new work for San Francisco Ballet, which premiered Wednesday, is now up on the Chronicle?s web site:
?The unimaginatively titled “Reflections” (snappy appellations have never been Possokhov’s strong suit) is an attempt at academicism for the 21st century. It is ambitious, bold, sometimes muddled and ultimately enjoyable. It closed a program that also found the Ballet in its finest hour with an exquisite performance of Balanchine’s “Square Dance.”
If a single quality typifies Possokhov’s small but steadily growing body of work, it is cinematic sweep, and “Reflections” is no exception. Working with Mendelssohn’s first symphony, Possokhov has found inspiration in Ingmar Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers,” though film buffs could be forgiven for missing the connection. The movie’s influence mostly manifests in Sandra Woodall’s striking black, white and red visual design — enhanced by towering mirrors in various arrangements — and in a mood of high drama that sometimes feels extrinsic to the music.
The ballet launches like Balanchine’s “Symphony in C” on Mars, with regimented lines of women and Kristin Long dashing through like a comet. The ladies wear corsets and pie-plate tutus that suggest a Space Age version of the naughty French maid outfit. They preen most alluringly with their backs arched deeply, hands saucily hugging hips.?
Equally newsworthy Wednesday evening was the pairing of Tina LeBlanc and Gonzalo Garcia in “Square Dance”:
“Tina LeBlanc was once again sparkling as the lead female, powering quick footwork with a mastery that brought giggles of delight from smitten onlookers. Gonzalo Garcia has danced the lead male role before, and yet his rendition of the adagio solo struck as a revelation. The part is famously challenging, not so much technically taxing as emotionally exposed. Garcia immersed himself — solemn, pensive, vulnerable.
But more exciting than the individual performances was the incredible partnership developing before our eyes. LeBlanc, one of the company’s veteran ballerinas, has forged an improbable chemistry with her younger consort.”
Check out the full review–with photo of the magisterial Muriel Maffre–in the paper.