The oldest professional ballet company in the USA, San Francisco Ballet, shines on the Sadler’s Wells stage. Displaying ten works across three programmes, the company is evidently both versatile and full of energy.
George Balanchine’s 1956 Divertimento No. 15 commences Programme A with finesse. Its 16-strong cast effervesces in fiendishly difficult choreography, with rapid jumps, turns and changes of direction all neatly executed.
2012 work, Symphonic Dances, uses Rachmaninov’s expressive score of the same name to inspire bold choreography including adventurous lifts. Creator, Edwaard Liang, wants audiences to “find themselves” in the ballet and its passionate pas de deux and group dances are open to multiple interpretations.
The piece shifts seamlessly through diverse moods, at times feeling delicate and classical and at others, menacing. Dancers shimmer, with orange ankle-length chiffon skirts adding extra dimension to the movement. Daniel Deivison’s superbly fluid performance is deserving of particular praise.
Final work, Christopher Wheeldon’s Number Nine, creates choreographic shapes to its rhythmic score by Michael Torke. The brightly-costumed cast form a vibrant rainbow of colours as they spring dynamically about the stage.
Throughout, the company is technically-assured and their exuberance more than makes up for the less exciting moments of choreography.
San Francisco Ballet is at Sadler’s Wells until 23 September. To book tickets visit sadlerswells.com.
Photo: San Francisco Ballet in Symphonic Dances, by Erik Tomasson