There’s a devastating moment that arrives about two-thirds into “Symphony #9,” the first and most powerful panel in Alexei Ratmansky’s “Shostakovich Trilogy,” danced by Mathilde Froustey and Luke Ingham during one of the final performances in San Francisco Ballet’s spring season. The ensemble rushes in with their happy little flexed-foot peasant dances, their movements—penchée splits like ironing boards, hands touching the floor—becoming unabashedly vulgar. Amid the creepily murky lighting, Ingham lifts Froustey, and her feet beat in twittering exuberance as her head, neck and arms hang dead above. The image sears: rarely has art shown us more powerful testimony to the horror of the soul killed by coercion.
San Francisco Ballet in Alexei Ratmansky's “Piano Concerto #1” from “Shostakovich Trilogy.” Photograph by Erik Tomasson
When a choreographer takes on volcanic and iconic works from American musical giants like Leonard Bernstein and John Adams one move they could take is to cool them down with a couple of more soothing European works in between.Continue Reading