I’m very happy to be back in the Bay Area for summer break, and even happier to see the next generation at San Francisco Ballet School’s Student Showcase. My report for the Chronicle:

“One measure of an international ballet company’s muster lies in how many of its dancers were trained at the troupe’s own academy, and by this accounting, San Francisco Ballet is looking better and better. Fully half of the Ballet’s members now are graduates of the San Francisco Ballet School.

Still, this proportion might strike you as low, given the thrilling and precocious artistry on display Wednesday at the first of three Student Showcase performances. (The program repeats Friday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Novellus Theater.) And the debt to Lola de Avila – who has directed the school for 13 of the last 20 years and is now returning to Spain to run the famed school her mother founded – is clearly immense. Her imprint could be seen everywhere, in what was easily the finest Ballet school showcase I’ve witnessed in a decade of relishing this elevated dance recital.

The opening class demonstrations make your heart melt at the sight of all those rosy-cheeked, long-limbed little ones, but those drills also demonstrated the school’s emphasis on arms and epaulement – the nuanced shading of the head and neck angles – for the girls, and juicy feet for the boys. These foundations proved firm in the second-act excerpt of that bedrock Romantic ballet, “La Sylphide.” Beneath the soft, rounded arms of those sweet forest fairies must lie solid technique and steely strength.

The corps girls were superb. And Lacey Escabar, as the titular Sylph, was a sensation. She had the gentle curves, the dandelion-in-the-wind buoyancy, but most impressively she had dramatic maturity.”

Read more here.

PS: About two years ago, Pointe Magazine asked me to choose one talented SF Ballet School girl to profile, and I picked Lacey. What a talent. Delightful to see her develop.

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