Friday, May 7, 2010

Romeo and Juliet

I went to see SF Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet on Friday night. This was a 'complete' experience with a fantastic score, expressive choreography and an elaborate set and costumes. The score, by Prokofiev, is rich enough to just listen to alone. I recall vividly the first time I heard a section of it. In a crackling super-low fidelity ShortWave radio broadcast from 'Radio Moscow'. It was rich and dramatic sounding, I had to learn more about this music which was bouncing off the ionosphere traversing continents to reach me. Michael Tilson Thomas arranged a suite and recorded it with the SF Symphony, highly recommended.

The choreography struck me as classical ballet with modern touches (usually in the form of allowing some torso bending here and there). At one point, to demonstrate shared excitement through gesture, 2 of the dancers jumped up in the air to give each other the 'high five' (very contemporary !).

The performance looked sold out. The only floor level seat that I could get was off on the side (see photo). I prefer floor level seating because it allows me the best view of the dancers use of elevation. The seats at higher levels give a better view of the choreography and better acoustics from the orchestra, but for me it's mostly about the individual dancers so floor level it is.

I wish I could have taken (non-flash) pictures of the actual performance. Which leads me back to my main peeve about the 'old arts establishment'. In my humble opinion, they ought to get with modern times or continue to die a self-strangled death as their patrons slowly fade away. So.... I cannot point you to any exciting and interesting pictures of the performance on a photo sharing site because it's not allowed.

Earlier in the day I heard a podcast interview with Principal Dancer Maria Kochetkova. At one point the interviewer brought up the fact that she is on Twitter. Every time he asked a question about her 'tweeting' habits he and the audience could not suppress laughter because it sounded so funny (i.e. foreign and unknown). I'll grant SFBallet that they now have stuff up on YouTube and that there's a company Blog and an official Twitter account. But I think the next step is to relax the tight control and to allow patrons themselves to capture and relate their excitement about the SFBallet scene with their own media taken from their own point of view.

Socially evolved or not, I'm really looking forward to their next season !

No comments: