Put This on Your Radar – January 16, 2017 (On the Road Edition)

A weekly, highly personal and subjective list of performances and artists we want you to know about:

Leigh’s pick (Martha’s sitting this week out):

The Log concentrates on NYC coverage (because it’s our home and NYC needs it) but I often travel out of town to see dance – mostly ballet. You can’t cover what’s happening at home with real expertise if you don’t know what’s being done elsewhere, and some dances are just worth getting on a bus, plane or train to go and see.

Starting January 24 at San Francisco Ballet, programs one and two, with new works by Jiří Bubeníček and Yuri Possokhov, an encore of Justin Peck’s “In the Countenance of Kings” and repertory by Alexei Ratmansky, William Forsythe as well as Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, are a microcosm of what SFB does best.

For years, New York thought of SFB as a Balanchine satellite, but that impression is a good two decades out of date. The company’s niche, more than any of the other U.S. heavy-hitter ballet companies, is in commissions and new works; it’s the group that can do crossover works by Morris or Taylor better than anyone else, and they dance Forsythe like a hit of ozone.

Lorena Feijoo of San Francisco Ballet rehearses Yuri Possokhov’s “Optimistic Tragedy.” Photo © Erik Tomasson.

In the cautious ballet world, where a flop could bankrupt a company, SFB’s Choreographer in Residence Possokhov takes risks, and isn’t afraid to fail. 2015’s “Swimmer,” an adaptation of John Cheever’s dark tale of suburbia, became in Possokhov’s hands a sprawling, surreal, and ultimately tragic ode to America, seeing us the way only an immigrant can. Even if the new “Optimistic Tragedy” turns out to be less messy but genuine and more genuine mess, it’s because Possokhov has the innocence of a fool and the heart of a lion.

Got something to say about this? Sound off here