I reviewed Cullberg Ballet for the Chronicle today:

“He gave the dance world a “Sleeping Beauty” hooked on heroin and a “Giselle” trapped in an insane asylum. But Mats Ek doesn’t need a controversial twist on a classic to ignite his inimitable imagination.

That was the captivating lesson Thursday as San Francisco Performances brought Sweden’s Cullberg Ballet back to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater. The bald, coed flock of the company’s 2002 local debut in Ek’s iconoclastic “Swan Lake” has flown the coop. And with revisionist gimmicks absent, the power and fluidity of these 20 multinational dancers — and the emotional depth of the troupe’s former artistic director — shone all the more vividly.”

My favorite offering was Ek’s “Solo for Two,” which was all the more touching on second viewing:

“But where “A Sort Of” is nightmarish and slightly unfocused, Ek’s 1996 “Solo for Two” is delicate and distilled. Gunilla Hammar and Boaz Cohen are an all-too-human couple flitting through each other’s sleep. Ek’s gift for weirdly compelling emotional logic comes to the fore as he finds an unexpected layer of humor in Arvo P?rt’s spare music. These lovers pee in the corner and blow their noses on their pajamas. But the endearing crudities only underscore the actuality of their solitude, and a sad ache colors every action.”

The show continues at the Yerba Buena Center tonight and tomorrow.

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