My review of San Francisco Ballet’s opening night “Giselle” in today’s Chronicle:

“Yuan Yuan Tan has dominated the start of San Francisco Ballet’s 75th anniversary season, which should be no surprise. With her liquid limbs and cool glamour, she is a wonder of the ballet world. Yet Saturday, at the opening of the company’s “Giselle,” Tan’s first-cast prominence began to smell a little fishy.

Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets in “Giselle,” photo credit Erik Tomasson.

In physicality and temperament, Tan is hardly a dancer you’d typecast as the title role’s rustic peasant girl – her arms are so long, they practically can’t help unfurling in aristocratic flourishes, her natural demeanor so elegant, it seemed she’d be right at home in the courts of Albrecht, the deceptive prince who breaks Giselle’s heart.

But the bigger problem was that Giselle must be a flesh-and-blood character, and Tan didn’t seem to have thought out who, beyond a pretty flirt, her Giselle was. And so Saturday, with the corps women in top form as the ghost maiden Wilis of Act 2, this revival of Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson’s 1999 production – the best of his many story ballet stagings – remained a finely danced vessel awaiting a worthy heroine to reveal its full pathos.”

Click herefor the full review.

Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets in “Giselle,” photo credit Erik Tomasson.

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