My review of San Francisco Ballet’s “Romeo and Juliet” for the San Francisco Classical Voice:

“For general balletgoers, the run of Romeo and Juliet that opened Saturday and continues through this week is the crowning jewel of San Francisco Ballet’s 2010 season, which takes over the War Memorial Opera House every January through May. For close followers of this internationally ascendant company, though, this R&J also serves to crown Sarah Van Patten as one of the troupe’s — indeed, one of the country’s —most powerful ballerina-artists.

Van Patten, now 26, came to San Francisco in 2002, after a precocious start to her career at the Royal Danish Ballet. In her early seasons here, she was bold and headstrong, yet so green and unknown that we hardly knew what to make of her; her performances were suspenseful, often commanding, and sometimes edgy and erratic. In 2007, the last time San Francisco Ballet danced this Romeo and Juliet, Van Patten was granted a single night’s performance in the lead. She was utterly naturalistic, impassioned, and convincing; finally, it seemed, we had been granted a clear glimpse of her full gifts. Over her last two seasons, especially, that glimpse has become a consistent, steady view. Van Patten’s dramatic authority as Juliet on Saturday was no revelation — but only because the diehard subscribers and standees have seen her dominate the entire repertory this season.

To see her as one of the great Juliets makes catching this 1994 staging by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson tremendously rewarding, even though a new production would be welcome. (Van Patten will alternate with Vanessa Zahorian; a highly anticipated debut in the role by Maria Kochetkova was nixed, for unknown reasons.) ”

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