A festival of new works in search of ballet’s future must be valued as much for the conversation it catalyzes as the new dances themselves, and on this count alone, San Francisco Ballet’s Unbound festival ranks as a landmark success. Heated, giddy, disappointed, perplexed: Talk echoed through the War Memorial Opera House lobby all last week, as audiences rushed from candid panel discussion to curtain time, and the 12 international choreographers commissioned for this sweeping, questing survey paced the aisles, and glamorous visitors like Julie Kent flitted through the crowds. Ballet diehards and newcomers alike compared knee-jerk reactions. And the last of the four programs on offer gave everyone prime fodder, juxtaposing hard-earned sublimity (Dwight Rhoden’s intensely felt “Let’s Begin at the End”) with spectacular absurdity (Arthur Pita’s cheerfully superficial “Björk Ballet”).
Frances Chung and Angelo Greco in Dwight Rhoden's “Let's Begin at the End.” Photograph by Erik Tomasson