On to Onegin !

Well, it's been over nine weeks since SF Ballet started back to work, and it's been non-stop!

The dancers have finally gotten their "sea legs" and are working hard and well. Of course, the learning never stops, there are always things to perfect, re-visit and hone. All that is much easier when you're in shape!

We just finished three weeks with Jane Bourne, choreologist for Stuttgart Ballet. She was here to set John Cranko's Onegin. The ballet is both a dancer's and an actor's dream! It is technically very demanding, especially for the leads but to really work, it must be acted. There are a lot of subtle, and some not so subtle moments. It is an exciting challenge for the dancers to tackle this incredible choreography, while maintaining the dramatic emotion and tension. It has been so much fun to see it evolve and to watch the dancers take on these parts and make them their own! Each cast is unique in its own way, and it is going to be a pleasure to see the various interpretations. As usual, I am delighting in the incredible variety of our dancers. No cookie cutters here! Each one tells the story in a very individual way. It will be a different ballet every performance. Can't wait!

We are also preparing for our upcoming tour to Orange County, where we'll perform for a demanding and discerning audience. We'll be taking Balanchine's Symphony in C, Yuri Possokhov's RAkU, Helgi Tomasson's Trio, as well as his full length, Romeo & Juliet. The company is excited; it's been a while since they have performed and they are more than ready to hit the stage. We will be taking a number of trainees from our School, and they will have a chance to perform with the Company and to experience life in the Company. I love working with the new and young dancers that we have. It is such a pleasure to watch them develop and turn into professionals. It's like watching a young bird learn to fly. There is a huge difference between being in a school or even in a trainee program, which is a transition step into a company, and actually being in a company. Although the vocabulary is the same -- class, for instance, is made up of the same kinds of exercises and positions they've experienced for years, and many of the ballets they will dance will be familiar -- the pace is totally different. The expectation is far greater and it takes time to adjust. So far, they are meeting the goals and beginning to really become part of the group. I wish them all well, and hope they enjoy this experience!