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Your Ultimate Guide to Program 5

Your Ultimate Guide to Program 5

Showcasing SF Ballet’s In-House Talent

What Is It? A celebration of SF Ballet’s in-house talent, featuring three ballets made for the Company by artists from the Company. Two ballets created by Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson—The Fifth Season and Harmony—as well as Magrittomania, choreographed by dancer-turned-choreographer Yuri Possokhov, display the range of talent in the Company’s ranks.

Who’s It For? Lovers of all things sleek and modern, with a dash of the absurd.

THE FIFTH SEASON

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s The Fifth Season // © Erik Tomasson

What Am I Seeing? The Fifth Season, choreographed by SF Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson in 2006, is a study in contrasts. Cool, sophisticated movements and simple costumes coexist with passionate interludes, minimalist music with romantic melodies. Divided into six movements and featuring six principal dancers who dance together in different combinations, this ballet creates an abstract landscape of shifting moods.

What Am I Hearing? Karl Jenkins’ String Quartet No. 2 and the largo from Palladio. Tomasson knew he wanted to choreography to the String Quartet, but wanted six movements in the ballet, so he added in the largo.

What Should I Look For? Note how different each section of The Fifth Season is. The central pas de deux to the Palladio largo is full of lyricism and longing, and other movements draw upon different dance styles, from waltz to tango. How do these contrasts make you feel?

HARMONY WORLD PREMIERE

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Harmony // © Erik Tomasson

What Am I Seeing? A buoyant celebration of dance and dancers, created during shelter-in-place. Working initially with a small pod of dancers, Tomasson’s Harmony is a series of linked solos and duets, united by full cast gatherings onstage.

What Am I Hearing? French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Pièces de clavecin. Tomasson was reacquainted with this music during the pandemic, when he heard a recording by Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson. “I find the music tells me what I need to do, what steps I have to create,” Tomasson says.

What Should I Look For? Notice how the lighting and choreography work together to emphasize the theme of celebration. At the beginning, dancers step out of the darkness into a diagonal ray of light before bursting into buoyant leaps on a stage filled with light.

MAGRITTOMANIA

Nathaniel Remez and Alexander Reneff-Olson in Possokhov’s Magrittomania // © Erik Tomasson

What Am I Seeing? The surrealist world of painter Rene Magritte’s works brought to life onstage, including the iconic green apples and bowler hats. When Possokhov created this ballet back in 2000, he tailored the pas de deux’s choreography to showcase the talents of his former onstage partner, Principal Dancer Yuan Yuan Tan.

What Am I Hearing? Some of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most recognizable works—including “Für Elise,” a movement from the “Eroica” symphony, and the “Appassionata” piano sonata—all arranged by Yuri Krasavin.

What Should I Look For? The central male figure in Magrittomania is an enigma. How does he move through this surreal world? With whom and what does he interact? Look out for unconventional juxtapositions and movements that push the boundaries of dance.

Program 5 was performed from April 2–16, 2022.

Header Image: Wona Park and Angelo Greco in Tomasson’s The Fifth Season // © Erik Tomasson