Choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky and danced by San Francisco Ballet
No one fell asleep this time! I spent some time with the program and got a little caught in them, or rather the lack of them. The best reflections on the piece came from the Musical director and Principal conductor, Martin West. To some extent, this makes sense given that the ballet is about the Russian composer Schokovitch. I have no idea who wrote the notes about the dance but they end with this: “The color red is prominent; backdrops offer hints of Stalin-era Russia. Yet all three ballets are markedly different”. This seems like an obvious point. Why bother? When I closed the program, I wondered why should I invest or care about this ballet?
In contrast, the SF Symphony program notes from 4/18 were stellar (yes, I am a little behind with my writing). They were quite informative and even included suggested readings. In the past, these suggestions have prompted me to read more about Charlie Chaplin, Chopin, and others. I felt not only welcomed, but respected as an audience member.
I don’t really care if the MacArthur Foundation thinks Ratmansky (choreographer) is a “genius” or if the repetiteur is more forthcoming about the intent and emotion of the piece than Ratmansky. Give me notes that offer more than just the obvious, give me something that matters to how might “see” the dance better.