Tag Archives: ballet

SF Ballet Review: Romeo & Juliet

Image by laobc via openclipart


The San Francisco Ballet ended its 2015 repertory season with the romantic story of Romeo and Juliet at the War Memorial Opera House on May 9.

The principal dancers of the night were Vanessa Zahorian who played Juliet and Joan Boada who played Romeo.

Zahorian had an amazing corporal expression. In Act III, Juliet’s parents want to marry her to Paris, an aristocrat from the same Capulet family, but she refused. In this scene, Zahorian expressed her mixed feelings of fear and love toward her parents and her displeasure toward dancing with Paris. Her movements looked forced and she did not express the same energy as when she danced with Romeo. Even though Zahorian’s facial expressions were difficult to see from the balcony section, her body language could be seen from the last seat of the house.

The costumes and sets, created by Jens-Jacob Worsaae, were amazing. They transported the audience to Verona where the story takes place. In scene II, Juliet and Romeo were married in secret by Friar Laurence. The stage transformed into a chapel with an altar and a renaissance painting of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus in her arms. The lighting created by Thomas R. Skelton added a dramatic look.

One of the most beautiful dances of the night was in the scene called “Juliet’s Bedroom.” In this scene, Romeo spent the night with Juliet where they consummated their marriage. He needed to leave before the sun came out, but Juliet did not allow him and instead, they danced in an emotive pas de deux that was full of subtle movements of passion and love.


SF Ballet Official Website

Principal Dancer Joan Boada Garcia Spotlight video

Principal Dancer Vanessa Zahorian

Smuin ballet debuts at Yerba Buena Center

Image by laobc via openclipart


Smuin ballet opened its spring program called “Unlaced Dance Series” on Friday night at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

This season, the company showcases four choreographies, among them, Petal, Rome & Juliet Pas de Deux and the world premiere Ask Me. The styles of these choreographies range from contemporary ballet, classical ballet, and jazz.

The first dance of the program was Petal. Ellen Pickett, a choreographer from San Diego, first choreographed this piece for the Atlanta Ballet. At the beginning of the dance, the stage was illuminated with yellow lights, giving the appearance that dancers were performing in a yellow box. Smuin dancers executed this piece with strength and precise technique. Movements included sliding on the floor, lifts and fast turns. Female dancers wore yellow leotards and male dancers wore blue pants without shirts.

The second choreography of the program was Romeo and Juliet Balcony Pas de Deux interpreted by dancers Erin Yarbrough and Jonathan Powell. This piece was created in 1976 by the founder of the Smuin company, Michael Smuin, who passed away in 2007. Dancer Yarbrough, who has been dancing with the company since 2003, said that this is a special performance.

“I was dancing with my fiancé,” said Yarbrough. “I get to express my feeling of love for my partner.”

The last choreography was Ask Me, a world premiere choreographed by Adam Hougland. The music was a fusion of jazz and retro-soul and the choreography was  energetic.

Susan Morenstein, attendee, came to see the Smuin ballet for the first time.

“All the pieces were very different from each other, so it gave me as a person in the audience a broad spectrum of dance,” she said.

The coming performances of Smuin ballet, “Unlaced Dance Series,” will be held in Walnut Creek, Caramel and Mountain View. For more information, check the Smuin Ballet website.

‘Swan Lake’: A modern retelling of a classic love story

A preview of The Australian Ballet’s Swan Lake by Calperformances.

An elegant set combined with minimalistic props, dramatic lighting, and superb dance techniques make the Australian Ballet’s version of “Swan Lake” a stunning performance. The company performed last Sunday at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley as a part of its 2014 United States tour.

Choreographer Graeme Murphy retells Tchaikovsky’s classic story based on the love triangle between Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and Camilla. In this contemporary version, Odette (Diana) marries Prince Siegfried (Charles). After the wedding, she realizes her husband is in love with a baroness. Odette becomes so distressed that she is taken to a mental institution after she starts imagining swan-like maidens.

Throughout the three-hour ballet, dancers moved effortlessly, leaping and gliding through the air. Their pointe shoes carefully touched the floor as they gracefully twirled across the stage. Dancers donned long skirts with layers of tulle instead of the typical ballerina tutus.

Principal dancer Madeleine Eastoe, who portrays Odette, danced the four acts with passion and precision. When Principal dancer Kevin Jackson, who plays Prince Siegfried, lifts her, it was as if she was a feather floating in the air. Everything seemed so natural. Modern and classical ballet movements were combined to present a fresh and creative choreography.

“It was amazing — their technique and expression,” says Maya Bloemhaird, a dance student at Berkeley’s Ballet Theater. Bloemhaird, who has seen other productions of “Swan Lake,” says she has never seen a production like this. She praised the Australian ballet’s dancers for their rhythmic movements.“They are really focused on shaping the feet and how they are using their arms.”

Zrinka Jancic, a UC Berkeley student, was touched by Principal dancer Eastoe’s emotionally expressive performance.

“I found myself crying,” says Jancic. “I don’t find myself doing that easily.”