SF Ballet's IN SPACE & TIME, PROGRAM 03
San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) opens Program 03, In Space & Time, on February 14, with performances through February 24 at SF War Memorial Opera House. In Space & Time includes Helgi Tomasson's The Fifth Season, called a masterful arrangement of overlapping shadows (San Francisco Chronicle); Harald Lander's Etudes, a 42-dancer study of how technique becomes art; and Cathy Marston's narrative Snowblind, a retelling of Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome, which returns after its premiere at Unbound: A Festival of New Works in 2018.
In Space & Time begins with Helgi Tomasson's The Fifth Season, created for SF Ballet's 2006 Repertory Season. Karl Jenkins' String Quartet No. 2 in five movements plus an added largo from the composer's Palladio serve as the ballet's musical base. Tango, waltz, and Baroque dance rhythms infuse Jenkins' otherwise propulsive, minimalist score, setting Tomasson's angular yet fluid, abstract yet dramatic choreography for six principal dancers and corps of eight. Scenic and costume designs by Sandra Woodall and lighting by Michael Mazzola heighten the work's cinematic qualities; bold, geometric shapes hang in front of backdrops of primary and secondary colors, and monochromatic costumes and muted lighting perpetuate the minimalist aesthetic.
Cathy Marston's one-act ballet Snowblind gripped from first moment to last (San Francisco Chronicle) at its world premiere during the 2018 Unbound: A Festival of New Works. Based on Edith Wharton's novella Ethan Frome from 1911, Snowblind narrates a heart-rending love triangle between central characters Ethan Frome; his hypochondriac wife, Zeena; and Mattie, kin to Zeena, who captivates Frome after she's hired to provide domestic support. A corps of 13 dancers acts as passersby and embodies flurries of snow, setting the scene of Massachusetts in the dead of winter. Philip Feeney arranged Snowblind's music, which includes pieces by Wharton's contemporaries, including Amy Beach and Arthur Foote, members of the Boston Six, as well as Estonian composer Arvo P rt. Patrick Kinmonth's scenic and costume design includes a multi-tiered set and muted colors, with lighting designed by James F. Ingalls.
Last seen at SF Ballet in 1999, Harald Lander's Etudes from 1948 is a nod to the rigorous study of the art form. Beginning with tudes (isolated studies) at the barre, the work evolves into a comprehensive showcase of Romantic and Classical technique for more than 40 dancers. Five principal dancers and a large corps exhibit the progression of a ballet class, from pli s and tendues to dramatic pas de deux and solos. Lander sourced inspiration from fellow Dane Knud ge Riisager, who orchestrated the progressively challenging tudes for piano by Carl Czerny, which parallel the increasing difficulty of technique displayed on stage. Etudes includes lighting design by Harald Lander and Craig J. Miller.
Casting for In Space & Time is posted on SF Ballet's website and will continue to be updated.
Additional information including videos and interviews about In Space & Time is available on San Francisco Ballet's website, in its Discover section. In Space & Times's Meet the Artist pre-performance interviews occur on February 14 at 6:30 pm, February 22 at 7 pm, and February 24 at 1 pm. In Space & Time's Pointes of View lecture about Lander's Etudes with SF Ballet School faculty and students is February 20 at 6:00 pm.
Photo Credit: Erik Tomasson