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Writing from 2002

December 21, 2002, Smuin Ballet: The Christmas Ballet "Frazzled holiday frenzy victims take note: If you need a little cheering up, and the "Nutcracker" isn't going to do it for you, check out Smuin Ballet's 'The Christmas Ballet 2002,' which continues through Dec. 29 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco."
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December 19, 2002, San Francisco Ballet: The Nutcracker "It’s always worth it to see a beautiful dancer such as Maffre make something out of nothing. Her partner, Wexcsteen, has better choreography, but I found him a touch bland and not as clean in his technique as I had expected from someone who looked so striking physically."
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December 17, 2002, Oakland Ballet: The Nutcracker "Although weak choreography, drab lighting and vaguely anemic accompaniment by the Oakland East Bay Symphony, under Michael Morgan, hampers this 'Nutcracker,'some fine dancing framed by Ron Steger's beautiful Victorian sets elevates the production to a higher level."
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December 1, 2002, Diablo Ballet: La Boutique Fantasque "Thanksgiving audiences of all ages warmed to Diablo Ballet's performances of 'The Magic Toy Store (La Boutique Fantasque)' at the Dean Lesher Center in Walnut Creek over the weekend. Even without the scene-stealing high-spirits of Kelly Teo, who retired this year, Diablo Ballet danced a solid show that was buoyed by lively performances from company stalwarts Viktor Kabaniev and Tina Kay Bohnstedt."
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November 11, 2002, Smuin Ballet: Stabat Mater, Bouquet, Come Dance Me a Song "It was an evening in which the Smuin Ballet's characteristic vividness seemed muted, with only sparks of their usual gusto appearing here and there. But then, the character of each of the three works on the bill was pensive in mood, even that of 'Come Dance Me a Song.'"
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November 9, 2002, Bolshoi Ballet: Swan Lake with Galina Stepanenko as Odette/Odile and Nikolay Tsiskaridze as Siegfried "In this country now, we are quite fortunate to see such a high level of dance on a regular basis, both from native and touring companies, so much so that sometimes I’m afraid we become overly picky, perhaps dwell on details that aren’t so important. The Bolshoi, being the Bolshoi, can’t help but take on a kind of iconic status. What I began to feel, I realized, is that when the first group of corps women run onstage and their pointe shoes clack and knock on the floor, you suddenly realize that they are very human."
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October 26, 2002 Ronald K. Brown/ EVIDENCE: Walking Out in the Dark "'We must speak the truth to each other, or else stay buried in the dark,' says Ronald K. Brown at the beginning of his latest work 'Walking Out in the Dark' presented by Stanford Lively Arts at their Memorial Auditorium. Brown’s endlessly kinesthetic and often eloquent choreography has placed him at the forefront of young American artists seeking light in the dark, although he is less known than he should be."
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October 23, 2002, Cullberg Ballet: Swan Lake "Reams and reams have already been written about the bald-headed swans of indeterminate gender, about the Manichean undertones and Freudian leanings of the revamped story, but less has been made of Ek's warm affection for the old classics of ballet."
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October 14, 2002, LINES Contemporary Ballet: 20th Anniversary Celebration "Opinions about Alonzo King's LINES Ballet may always be polarized. If you are a devotee, then artistic director King is a visionary, creating works of affecting spirituality and choreographic power. If you're a detractor, King's ballets are twitchy, derivative and unnecessarily 'California woo-woo.' As with most things, the answer probably lies somewhere in between."
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October 13, 2002, Oakland Ballet: Dei Sogni Piacevoli, Three Virgins and a Devil, Opus 45, Glory Fugue "Oakland Ballet finally unleashed the kind of energy that its fans have been waiting for with the world premiere of 'Glory Fugue.' The company performed the piece Friday at Oakland's Paramount Theater as part of its second program this fall."
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October 6, 2002, LINES Contemporary Ballet: Still dancing between the LINES "Alonzo King is exhausted. His company, LINES Contemporary Ballet, is amid a whirlwind of preparations for its upcoming 20th anniversary season at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, so perhaps that explains why he's a little stressed."
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October 5, 2002, Ballet Prejlocaj: Helikopter, The Rite of Spring "Love him or hate him, few can see the works of Angelin Preljocaj and not be provoked. The 45-year-old French choreographer, whose company, Ballet Preljocaj, appears tonight and Sunday as part of San Francisco Performances' season at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, is known as much for his challenging intellectual layering as for his articulate and absorbing choreography."
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October 4, 2002, Mark Morris Dance Group: Resurrection, A Lake, Something Lies beyond the Scene, Foursome, Lucky Charms "The program included the world premiere of 'Something Lies Beyond the Scene,' set to witty poems by Edith Sitwell; 'Resurrection,' with witty costumes by Isaac Mizrahi; 'Lucky Charms,' to witty music by Jacques Ibert; and 'Foursome,' a witty conception of…well, you get the point."
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September 26, 2002, Gansu Dunhuang: The Heavenly Horse "The audience at the sold-out show was privileged to see the Gansu Dunhuang Art Academy's spectacular production of 'The Heavenly Horse' at the Calvin Simmons Theatre in Oakland Tuesday night. Like a lavishly operatic circus, the ballet was marked by an epic grandeur and monumental designs as well as several stellar performances."
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September 22, 2002, Company C: A Night in Tunisia, I Am, Hush, Aposiopesis "It may seem crazy to launch a new ballet company these days, when companies everywhere are barely surviving. But Charles Anderson's new endeavor, Company C, had a promising opening on Friday with a good-sized audience turning out to show their support at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco's Fort Mason Center."
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September 16, 2002, Oakland Ballet: A Night in Tunisia, Jinx, Bamboo "Oakland Ballet itself, though, seems still to be searching for its identity as a company. The newer members of the troupe that Brown has gathered are going to need more time, more coaching and more focused direction to match up to more seasoned performers such as Phaedra Jarrett, Erin Yarbrough and Mario Alonzo."
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September 9, 2002, Diablo Ballet: Diablo's dilemma inspires donor "Ron Huxley has a challenge for the Contra Costa community. He's donating $10,000 in matching funds to Diablo Ballet, which he hopes will help spur people to pitch in to help save the company."
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September 8, 2002, 9/11, One Year After: Companies work to keep focus on future "For the dance world, as for everyone, memories of 9/11 remain fresh. Nearly everyone in the dance community was personally and professionally affected by events last fall. As artists, dancers wanted to respond to what happened, and as citizens, they wanted to show their solidarity. At the same time, their livelihood underwent dramatic changes as performance dates were cut and, in some instances, entire tours canceled."
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September 1, 2002, Fall Arts: Introducing dance styles from around the world "A world of dance comes to the Bay Area this fall, bringing with it companies and artists from Spain, France, Sweden, Mexico and Russia, to perform alongside homegrown favorites such as the Axis Dance Company and the Oakland Ballet."
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August 25, 2002, Diablo Ballet under financial pressure"What is it worth to keep a critically acclaimed professional ballet company in a community? What is it worth to keep the regional arts alive here?
Diablo Ballet's current financial crisis brings these questions to the Contra Costa community at a time when most Americans are thinking about things besides the stability of our arts and nonprofit groups."
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July 14, 2002, Carolina Lugo's Brisas de España: Entrádas "Entrádas means 'entrances,' as in the entrance of a dancer, but it can also mean 'beginnings.' Brisas de España uses the occasion of their fifth anniversary to present some of their most popular works of the past few years..."
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July 3, 2002, Moving Arts Dance: Hush, Psychedelic Six Pack, Temporal Landscapes "With a ballpark atmosphere of popcorn, pop music, families and fireworks, Moving Arts Dance gave the Fourth of July weekend an early boost with a lightweight sunset program Wednesday at the Chronicle Pavilion at Concord."
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June 30, 2002, Under the Radar: Five unusual dance venues around the Bay Area "The art-deco Alice Arts Center exudes a comfortable classiness. Home to groups ranging from Citicentre Dance to Oakland Ballet to the Bay Area Blues Society, this restored turn-of-the-last-century building also houses dance studios, offices and a hotel for artists involved with the center."
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June 23, 2002, San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival: A profile of tango dancers Marcelo & Valesa Solís "The couple on the floor is completely immersed, focused on each other and moving precisely, but with great pleasure in a meandering pattern through space. They're so close that in movies, it would be a clinch. This, however, is the embrace of tango, a dance of intimacy and refinement."
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June 20, 2002, Savage Jazz Dance Company: Dancing jazz Savage style "Reginald Ray-Savage wants to clear up one thing from the start: His Savage Jazz Dance Company doesn't specialize in what the average person thinks of as "jazz dance." Rather, the Oakland-based group performs serious dance pieces to classic jazz.
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June 1, 2002, White Oak Dance Company: Largo, Early Floating, The Experts, Chaconne "Audiences may have come to see one of ballet's bona-fide stars, but along the way they were treated to some fine performances by other members of White Oak Dance Project, all of whom remind us that classicism is not always a dirty word where modern dance is concerned."
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June 1, 2002, Joe Goode Performance Group: What the Body Knows, Mythic Montana "Saturday's performance of 'Mythic, Montana' at the Yerba Buena Center shows us that, as the Joe Goode Performance Group (JGPG) marks its sixteenth anniversary, their new works have only deepened the company's ability to tell cogent and thoughtful stories by any means possible."
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May 13, 2002, San Francisco Ballet: Giselle "It was less a sad occasion than a joyous celebration of a dancer at the height of her powers, where perhaps the most touching aspect of the evening was not Berman's own incandescent portrayal of the title role, but the way her fellow company members paid homage to her with their own dancing."
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May 6, 2002, Diablo Ballet: Incitations, White Light, Scriabin for Two, Who Cares? "The eight-year old ballet company, as always, showcased their impressively fleet, sure-footed dancers in works ranging from quirky modern to neoclassical ballet. Clearly, though, their current standout is Tina Kay Bohnstedt, whose duet with Lauren Jonas in Kabaniev's 'White Light' was a high point of the evening."
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May 2, 2002, Lyon Opera Ballet: Cendrillon and Un Ballo, Gaspard, Bolero "Many who found Marin's recent 'Points de Fuit' --presented by her own company here in April --befuddling and pretentious (although I would personally disagree) no doubt, heaved a sigh of relief at 'Cendrillon,' which is just as long, but much more accessible."
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April 29, 2002, Moving Arts Dance: Psychedelic Six Pack, SAPP, To Vernon, Aposiopesis "If Moving Arts Dance is thinking about moving to the next level, the company made a creditable start with Friday's performance at the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek."
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April 27, 2002, San Francisco Ballet: Damned "I slipped into standing room on Saturday afternoon because I couldn't miss Muriel Maffre as Medea, and, as expected, she just blew me away."
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April 26, 2002, Moving Arts Dance: Anderson brings experience to Moving Arts "Charlie Anderson wants to put even more 'moving'in Moving Arts Dance. 'I just really want beautifully moving dancers,' says Anderson, a former dancer with New York City Ballet and new artistic director of Moving Arts Dance, based in Walnut Creek and considered one of the East Bay's top modern dance companies. "
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April 23, 24, 2002, San Francisco Ballet: Silver Ladders, Damned, Sandpaper Ballet "To have one talented in-house choreographer is a wonderful thing, but to have two drawn right from the ranks of your dancers is almost a surfeit of riches, and in Julia Adam and Yuri Possokhov San Francisco Ballet has just that."
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April 22, 2002, LINES Contemporary Ballet: The Heart's Natural Inclination, Splash, Koto "Choreographer and artistic director Alonzo King has fallen lately into a kind of habitual approach to his works, but while 'Koto' exhibits a few of his formulaic characteristics, it also transcends them with fascinating imagery, tight musicality, and above all, concision."
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April 5, 2002, Compagnie Maguy Marin: Points de fuite "A bare stage, screaming guitars, flocking dancers, 'Don't talk to me about what you are saying. I'm not asking you what you are saying,' -- all without intermission. French post-modernist Maguy Marin frustrates."
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April 4, 2002, San Francisco Ballet: L'Arlesienne, Continuum, Death of a Moth "San Francisco Ballet's Program 6, which runs in repertory with Program 5 for two weeks, is an uneven mix of pieces, but nonetheless, there were several memorable moments and a clear standout in the premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's 'Continuum.'"
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April 2, 2002, San Francisco Ballet: Chi Lin, A Garden, Later, Black Cake "Of the four, 'Chi-Lin' was probably the most successful, with production values and dancing that elevated it above most of Tomasson's previous works."
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April 17, 2002, San Francisco Ballet: A preview of Yuri Possokhov's Damned
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April , 2002, National Dance Week: A preview of free events around the Bay Area
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March 12, 2002- San Francisco Ballet: Jewels "The defining quality of San Francisco Ballet's version seems to be a youthful freshness that underlies each of the movements, along with strong technique and effervescence."
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March 1, 2002 - San Francisco Ballet: Othello "It will be immortalized on television, with the controversially non-controversial choice of Desmond Richardson as the lead, and it carries the imprimatur of two major American dance companies, but is it any good?"
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February 21, 2002, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre: All Ailey Program: Memoria,Excerpts from Night Creature, Streams, The Mooche, Opus McShann, A Song for You, For Bird-- With Love, Hidden Rites, Cry, Revelations; Program B: Serving Nia, Following the Subtle Current Upstream, Caravan "There is no doubt that Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is one of the finest American companies around, not just surviving, but thriving in the twelve years since the passing of its founder in 1989. Of the three programs last week, one might have thought that one with a premiere by Ronald K. Brown, a piece by local favourite Alonzo King, and a fun-filled revival of Louis Falco’s “Caravan” would have been the star, but it was the evening of old favorites choreographed by Alvin Ailey himself that lit a spark."
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February 17, 2002, Ballet San Jose of Silicon Valley: Rivulet, Apollo, Graduation Ball "In a mixed repertoire program which Ballet San Jose presented for its Valentine’s Weekend performances last week in San Jose, the highlight was a frothy version of “Graduation Ball” which showed off this company of carefree, sunny personalities."
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February 15, 16 2002 - San Francisco Ballet: Fanfare, Dances at a Gathering, Glass Pieces "Although long, 'Dances at a Gathering' is obviously the sort of work that can transport an audience given the right set of conditions. Without a doubt, it's worth seeing on these dancers again; one has the distinct sense that after a few performances, it will be an entirely different animal."
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January 31, 2002 - San Francisco Ballet: 2002 Opening Night Gala "It's easy to believe that San Francisco Ballet has never been stronger. The diversity of its repertoire was only surpassed by the calibre of dancing from the impressive roster of principals and soloists..."
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February 7, 9, 2002 San Francisco Ballet: Without Words, Angelo, Prism "Nacho Duato’s exquisite "Without Words" only becomes more beautiful with each viewing. The starkness of the figures moving through a dark space, with a shadowy echo of the dancers projected on a hanging curtain are only small, yet important details in a work that has been conceptualized with deep sensitivity from start to finish."
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February 5, 2002, Cal Performances: James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet "An Alphabet" is a sprawl of ideas juxtaposed into what could be a fascinating collage of thought. However, the very static and at times confusing direction of this "performed installation" served to smother rather than illuminate the proceedings and ended up producing a bewildering barrage of stimuli for the ears and hardly anything for the eye. A few audience members lasted only a bit longer than four minutes and thirty-three seconds into the piece before making their way quietly up the aisle."
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January 29, 2002 - Joe Goode Performance Group: Shut up and Dance "Saturday's performance of the Joe Goode Performance Group's program, 'Shut Up and Dance', offered an evening of eclectic works, old and new, some still rough at the edges, and others carefully finished, but all of them thought-provoking and engaging."
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Reviews by Year

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