Chroma, Beaux, and Number Nine at SF Ballet, for Zyzzyva

Yuan Yuan Tan and Taras Domitro in McGregor's Chroma. © Erik Tomasson

The San Francisco Ballet’s Program 2, which finished its run late last month, started strong. Wayne McGregor’s “Chroma” — one of three works making up the program — looked more like contact sport than ballet, an effect strengthened by the horn-and percussive-heavy, action-film score by Joby Talbot and Jack White III. MacGregor was not trained in classical ballet, and his choreography diverges from the classical in several refreshing ways. Ballet’s traditional “lift”—the illusion that the dancers do not share our subjection to the laws of gravity—was tossed out. The dancers seemed to revel in their weightiness, often moving in ways emphasizing horizontal rather than vertical lines. Pas de deux resembled the alternately combative and aggressive sexual grappling between equally powerful forces, rather than the stylized chivalry of the traditional male-female duets. It was exciting and sometimes scary, and the only bad call was the costuming—loose mini bandeaux in flesh tones that obscured the dancers’ waistlines and gave the impression they were wrapped in giant dental dams. (continue reading)

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