America’s oldest professional ballet company, the San Francisco Ballet can claim an illustrious history of “firsts,” including presenting the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker.
This season, we’re especially looking forward to the world premier of Edwaard Liang’s “Symphonic Dances” – a “first” which largely is made possible by Lead Sponsors Richard C. Barker, David and Kelsey Lamond, and Yurie and Carl Pascarella, and Sponsors Doris and Ted Lee.
Opening on March 21, 2012, as part of Program 5, it was created expressly for SF Ballet. Liang’s piece is set to Rachmaninov’s score of the same name. “It’s very spiritually based,” Liang says of the score. “Some people would call it dark, but I consider it intensely spiritual. As a choreographer I don’t want to limit audiences in what they see. This is an abstract ballet, so I really want them to find themselves through it.”
Liang says “It’s a huge orchestration and it’s really just big, bold music. And that’s one of the reasons why I was drawn to it.”
There are a multitude of reasons for one to be drawn to ballet, which is often what makes it such a rich experience — there’s something for everyone, and all states of mind. At the 2012 Opening Night Gala, with its theme of Bella Notte, one was transported to the richly sensual Italian Renaissance, in reference to Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet (March 6, 2012 — March 11, 2012).
The dinner decor for the evening was created by J. Riccardo Benavides of Ideas. Each room at City Hall was appointed in its own color palette, with bold textured fabrics, statues, busts, architectural decor pieces, and elegant furnishings inspired by the Italian Renaissance. The color palette was taken from Michelangelo’s frescos and Botticelli’s paintings, and there was even a 22-foot tall reproduction of Michelangelo’s “David.”
We were pleased to see that no one took the Renaissance theme literally in their attire for the evening. The Ballet is always one of the best events for fashion — maybe because people who appreciate the beauty of dance and movement would naturally have a strong appreciation for the beauty of the stuff that goes on the body too. This year there was a greater level of elegance, refinement and great personal style than in recent memory.