Reflections on Paris

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As San Francisco Ballet’s run comes to a close here in Paris, I am left to contemplate what has transpired and what I will remember for years to come. It has been an intense tour with no shortage of performances (18) or amount of ballets (also 18) and the Company deserves credit for pulling it off. The audiences have been very receptive, and judging from our prolonged curtain calls and strong ticket sales and reviews, SFB in Paris has been a resounding success.

Ten years ago, SFB inaugurated the Les Etes de la Danse festival and I remember with fondness Yuri Possokhov’s final performances. A decade later, this summer marks the last performances of two more great dancers, Damian Smith and Ruben Martin Cintas with SFB. Backstage watching Damian and Yuan Yuan Tan perform the pas de deux’s from Wheeldon’s After the Rain and Ghosts for the last time will remain some of my favorite memories of their unforgettable partnership.

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Close to the Finish Line

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We are close to the finish line and it has been such an exciting tour for so many reasons that I mentioned in my first blog. I have three more ballets to dance and I’m very happy to have picked up my family at the airport this morning—they are coming to see my last performance here on Thursday–so another big support group will be there.

It has been a really great tour because the audience has been great and all my friends and family have been so impressed by the quality of our dancing and also by the diversity of our repertoire. I believe no other company has done what we’ve done here in Paris, performing 18 ballets plus the gala, over such a relatively short time. Dancing so many different works over a short period like we do during our three and a half month season is a hallmark of the Company and we’ve been up to the challenge! French people think that America puts quantity over quality but with SF Ballet, they can see that its quality and quantity—both are possible. Now I will spend some vacation in south of France with my family, enjoying my family, friends, food, wine, and sun. For me, it’s been an incredible experience to share with my family and the French audience, what I do the best.

Pascal Blog Photo

Pascal Molat in Zanella’s Alles Waltzer (copyright Erik Tomasson)

 

 

 

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Bonjour from Paris!

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We’re just finishing the final week of our performances here in Paris and the tour has been great! It’s been almost a month since I left with the Company to travel to Spoleto, Italy on the first leg of SF Ballet’s tour. The main difference between the two engagements is that the Spoleto Festival venue was outdoors so shooting outside was especially nice since the weather was warm. The theater in Spoleto doesn’t have a permanent backstage–there were no side lights so it was more like a concert venue than a formal theater. Read More »

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Le Théâtre du Châtelet

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By now we’re deep in our second week of performances at the Chatelet Theater in the heart of Paris, and we’re as busy as ever with rehearsals and performances. It’s a beautiful theater to work at every day, and although I do love the War Memorial Opera House back home, there’s something majestic about looking out from the stage at the archways and ornate decorations on the walls and ceilings here. The rings climb upwards to a fifth level and create almost a “wall” of audience that makes the public feel very close. From the house it feels like an intimate venue even though it seats 2,500. The acoustics are amazing and the orchestra sounds so clear and vibrant, maybe it has something to do with the bare wood floor. One also feels intimate with history here, in the theater and in all of Paris for that matter. The Ballets Russes premiered Stravinsky and Fokine’s Petroushka at the Chatelet in 1911, and Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Mahler, Strauss, and Debussy all conducted their own work here as well. We are just across the street from Notre Dame cathedral, and we are literally steps away from the Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette was imprisioned before she met the guillotine. Its something remarkable to dance in a theater and a city like this, where you feel a part of the history of art and human existence!

TheatreErik

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