My review for the Chronicle:
“The grandly titled “International Salute to San Francisco Ballet” has a practical purpose: As the National Ballet of Canada, New York City Ballet and Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo pay tribute to the San Francisco Ballet’s 75th anniversary this week, our hometown dancers gain a breather for putting finishing touches on the torrent of 10 world premieres about to be unveiled during Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson’s ambitious New Works Festival.
But don’t mistake these visiting performers for mere stand-ins marking time. Two-thirds of Tuesday’s opening offered rich choreography and vital, engaging performances. And if the Monte Carlo company’s program-capping contribution is an interminable bore, at least it’s a ballet so stereotypical in its Euro-fashionable pretentiousness that it has to be seen to be believed.
But first, the good news. New York City Ballet has sent just four dancers to alternate in George Balanchine’s 1972 “Duo Concertant” – and what a delight opening night’s Yvonne Borree and Jared Angle proved. Balanchine’s jesting and then surprisingly touching jaunt to Stravinsky is a treasure – it hasn’t been seen on the War Memorial Opera House stage in at least a decade – and it could hardly be performed with more authority than by members of the troupe Balanchine co-founded.
Borree is a dancer not in her first flowering, and not in great favor in New York, but she looked fresh and in fine form Tuesday, and she had a wonderfully crisp counterpart in Angle. Watching them you realized anew just how distinctive a New York City Ballet performance of Balanchine is, from the confident but not hammy way the two handled the passages of simply standing and listening to violinist Arturo Delmoni and pianist Cameron Grant, to the breakneck tempi. Detractors might call the studied quality of gesture sterile, but the swiftness and angular style looked gold standard to me. The second-cast dancers, Sterling Hyltin and Robert Fairchild, represent a slightly younger City Ballet generation; I hope to catch them also.”
Click here for the full review.