Critical Dance

The following is an article from our special section, San Francisco Ballet in London.

A Diary: Sunday, Day Minus 1 of San Francisco Ballet's Season in London, Summer 2001
Stuart Sweeney checks up on the company as they adjust to the Royal Opera House

Sunday is a cloudy day here in London with occasional showers, but mild. As is well known, London is ahead of the US and especially San Francisco. Well, not in everything, but certainly in time.

It's 3.30pm and San Francisco Ballet had class this morning and now there are rehearsals in the studios with time on stage later today. 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. However, access to all the large, beautiful studios of the Royal Opera House should be possible soon, now that the La Scala season has finished.

The SFB dancers are impressed with the facilities of the ROH, which will make their lives easier this week. The geography of the building still defeats them of course, but it beats everybody. I got lost once and asked a member of staff... and she got lost! The SFB technical staff are also impressed with the ROH lighting and other technical arrangements. That's good to hear as there were problems when it first opened, but they seem to be a thing of the past.

All the SFB performers and staff are excited to be in London and are greatly looking forward to the week. The whole Company are here and the usual SFB policy of giving everyone a chance is in operation. Some leading Principals are only dancing in three of the seven performances.

They have some UK support as one of the guest conductors is Paul Hoskins, who audiences here will have seen directing everything from pan-pipes to Stravinsky with Rambert Dance Company. He is sharing the podium each night with Neal Stulberg as they conduct the excellent Royal Ballet Sinfonia. I was told that Hoskins is a big hit with the dancers as he is very accomodating with regard to tempi.

I suspect that a lot of the SFB team are now keen to get the show on the road and release the inevitable build-up of tension. But there's no need to worry, we're going to love it, I'm sure.

Go to the next day's diary.

Please visit our special section, San Francisco Ballet in London, for reviews, interviews and more previews related to San Francisco's Summer 2001 tour to London.

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Edited by Azlan Ezaddin.

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