Critical Dance

Review of Fri Night by Melanie Nix, special to (Program 1)
San Francisco Ballet, with Programme 1, dished up an equal number of pleasing and disappointing works. The evening got off to a slightly bad start with Fanfare, a Jerome Robbins work first premiered in 1953. Unfortunately it hasn't traveled well. The dancers were exceptional, there is no doubt, but they looked a little peeved to be wearing peach and baby blue tutus sporting huge appliqued instruments across the bodice! There were some cringe-worthy moments of choreography... more

Review of Sat's Performance by (Program 1)
The clear and elegant choreography relies heavily on couples and trios for the creation of its fluent patterns. The central Pas de Deux was danced by Muriel Maffre and Cyril Pierre. Maffre's radiant but cool elegance proved to be just perfect for showing off the ballet’s classiness. more

Flash Reviews of Program 3 (Thu and Sat)
"Another evening which showed the Company on great form." "Night was a huge hit and Tina LeBlanc's hunting performance brought the house down." Member impressions and newspaper reviews. more

Flash Reviews and Observations of Program 1 (Mon and Fri)
"The audience gave the opening night performances a very warm reception." "...most impressed with the o verall quality of the dancing throughout." Member impressions and newspaper reviews. more

Two Reviews of Thu Night by (Program 3)
Ballet broke my heart about 10 years ago. Of course there were times when I missed Ballet dreadfully, but I never went back. As fate would have it, I found myself a decade later going to see Ballet again for the first time, at the same theatre we last said goodbye. San Francisco Ballet is probably the best company to go and see if you're a recovering Ballet addict. more

Two Reviews of Wed Night by (Program 2)
Well what a diverse and entertaining evening. As my first introduction to SFB I can’t think of a better way to have been baptized. more

Two Reviews of Tue Night by (Program 2)
Having only a week at the Royal Opera House to impress itself upon a relatively new audience San Francisco Ballet have opted for three programmes of short pieces that illustrate the breadth of its repertory. more

Other Reviews and Observations of Program 2 (Tue and Wed)
"Quite taken by Glass Pieces. It really shows off the company." Member impressions and newspaper reviews. more

Review of Opening Night (Mon, Prog 1) by
As one can imagine on San Francisco Ballet's opening night of their 2001 tour, there was an atmosphere of great excitement. more

Previews of the SFB Season by Forum Members
"I've been asked to pick a program, if I had to choose one of the three. I simply can't. They are all three superb bills." more

Principal Casting
"I see this casting list and think 'lucky London' all around. But Gonzalo Garcia, if he hasn't yet lost his youthful enthusiasm, will be a blast in the third movement of Prism." more

Preview of San Francisco Ballet's Season in London, Summer 2001
Stuart Sweeney summarizes the programs to be performed at the Royal Opera House
July 24, 2001

From now to the end of November, London dance fans hardly have a chance to draw breath. Later in the year, we will see the 2001-2 Royal Ballet season with Don Q, Onegin and much else. In addition, Dance Umbrella has an exceptional programme this year with Ballett Frankfurt, Mark Morris, Alvin Ailey and other top companies from around the world.

For the present, as the Kirov Opera vacates the Royal Opera House after an unspectacular season, the Royal Ballet is back in-situ to be followed by London's first sight of Sylvie Guillem's production of Giselle for La Scala. Then to conclude the ambitious Hochhauser season at Covent Garden, we will have the great pleasure of three mixed bills from one of the most exciting companies in the world - San Francisco Ballet.

It's almost two years since the company was last here, when they made such an impression on dance fans in London. They were at Sadler's Wells for just a week, but inspired programming gave us a splendid overview of the Company. We saw an unconventional Gala which went way beyond the usual rep for such evenings and allowed us to see all the Principals and most of the rest of the dancers.

Next, there was an excellent mixed bill with Jerome Robbins' The Cage and Mark Morris's Sandpaper Ballet delighting everyone and showing the variety of work that the Company can offer. Finally, we had no less than four casts in San Francisco's distinctive production of Swan Lake by their Artistic Director, Helgi Tomasson. I saw two of these casts and, reading reviews of the others, it was clear that all were from the top draw. Overall, we had been expecting SFB to be good, but they took our breath away. more

Expectations of San Francisco Ballet's Tour to London

Azlan Ezaddin talks to the company prior to its departure
August 6, 2001

When San Francisco Ballet performed at Sadler's Wells two summers ago, in 1999, London fans and critics alike responded with such emotional enthusiasm that it surprised ballet fans worldwide.

Night after night, the audience went into wild applause, even giving one performance seven curtain calls, which until then was unheard of. The London Times wrote, "…the extraordinary array of talent on display was enough to show that San Francisco deserves to be the envy of the ballet world." One London-based correspondent even boldly proposed, in the forum, a gambit to keep the company in London. They're still talking about it in London, and they're still talking about it at San Francisco Ballet. more

A Primer on San Francisco Ballet for Londoners

By Emma Pegler
August 11, 2001

San Francisco Opera Ballet and its affiliated school was founded in 1933.With Adolph Bolm as ballet master, its few ballets appeared mostly in opera productions.

San Francisco Opera Ballet and its affiliated school was founded in 1933.With Adolph Bolm as ballet master, its few ballets appeared mostly in opera productions. Bolm had trained at the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg. Like many of the Russian dancers who had trained at the Imperial School, danced at the Mariinsky Theatre and then toured with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, he was able to found his own school of classical ballet, first in Chicago and then San Francisco, places that were opened up by touring with Diaghilev. In that same year, a young Balanchine was coming to the United States to start a similar venture in New York, at the behest of Lincoln Kirstein. more

Programme 1: Fanfare, A Garden, Magrittomania, Symphony in 3 Movements – 13 & 17 August
- Monday's review
- Friday's review
- Forum discussion, including previews and reviews

Programme 2: Quartette, Sea Pictures, Bugaku, Glass Pieces – 14 & 15 August
- Tuesday's review
- Wednesday's review
- Forum discussion, including previews and reviews

Programme 3: Night, Prism, Chaconne for Piano and Two Dancers, Sandpaper Ballet – 16 & 18 August
- Thursday's review
- Saturday's review
- Forum discussion, including previews and reviews

To book, ring +44 (0) 7304 4000 or visit the website

Press Release
American Dream Returns to London. Two More Ballets Added to Programme. more

Ticket Availability


For the latest news, reviews and gossip, please visit our SFB in London forum.

All photos in this special section by kind permission of San Francisco Ballet, unless noted otherwise.

Designer: Lena Marie Stuart
US Director: Azlan Ezaddin
UK Director: Stuart Sweeney

All contributions as noted in each feature.

An Interview with Amanda Schull,
Film Star and Corps Dancer

"I enjoy more dramatic pieces because to me the performance presentation of dance is more important than technique." more

An Interview with Pierre-François Vilanoba,
Principal Dancer

"I am dancing much more than in Paris. Since I arrived in San Francisco, I have been dancing so much." more

A Diary: Saturday, Day 6 – Looking Back
Helgi Tomasson (Artistic Director of SFB) was ambitious in his programming, staging many different pieces by different choreographers and even bringing works by two of his own dancers. He treated the London audience as a mature bunch of discerning but open-minded individuals, and it paid off. more

A Diary: Friday, Day 5
"The dancers would like to stay here longer. Most went to see Tate Modern last Sunday and we have another free day this Sunday, but it's not enough to see London properly and then of course there's shopping!" more

Alarums and Excursions
The potato makes headlines. more

A Diary: Thursday, Day 4
Can it really be that it is Thursday already? As the saying goes, time sure flies when you're enjoying yourself. more

An Interview with Joanna Berman,
Principal Dancer

"I didn't have a revelation at any one point; I just knew I always wanted to dance." more

A Diary: Wednesday, Day 3
Waiting outside the company's headquarters for the week, a fairly small room hidden away in the maze of corridors backstage at the Royal Opera House, I see the dancers coming out of the lift, bringing them from the studio in which they have just completed the morning's hour class to their dressing rooms. more

A Diary: Tuesday, Day 2
Tuesday is another hot day in London. Some of the dancers found the stage very hot on Monday night but Megan Low, from the Corps, would much rather have it that way than too cold. more

A Diary: Monday, Day 1
A warm, sticky day in London and I suspect that we'll all be cursing the inadequacy of the less than two-year old ROH air conditioning system this evening. Later we did! more

An Interview with Lucia Lacarra,
Principal Dancer

"I'm open to anything and take every opportunity. I don't have dreams; I just work and see what comes." more

A Diary: Sunday, Day Minus 1
The change-over with La Scala is not quite completed, so some of the rehearsals to date have been in small studios with the door open to allow enough space. more

An Interview with Julia Adam,
Principal Dancer & Choreographer

"I cannot get over the level of talent in this company. I feel so lucky that those are the people I get to be working with." more

More interviews
Forum discussion of the above interviews and links to newspaper interviews. more

San Francisco BalletRoyal Opera