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Mark Morris' original "Sandpapper Ballet" at the Opéra Garnier
courtesy of the San Francisco Ballet / Lloyd Englert
by Carol Pratl

Paris Opera hosts San Francisco Ballet

The San Francisco Ballet, one of the largest full-time repertory groups in North America, promotes the European classical tradition, while presenting modern and contemporary works by such prestigious choreographers as Agnes de Mille, Paul Taylor and William Forsythe.
This company has rejuvenated its repertoire since Islandic-born Helgi Tomasson took over as director in 1984, presenting new versions of familiar classics while commissioning a number of avant-garde dancemakers to create works specially.
The Paris Opera was one of the first European dance institutions to recognize the virtuosity of the San Francisco Ballet, inviting the troupe for the first time in 1988 and again in 1994. This month the company will stage two very different programs of new works. The first includes four pieces: “Prism” and “Chaconne for Piano and Two Dancers,” both by Tomasson. The latter is a playfully competitive tribute to his mentor Jerome Robbins. “Night” is a contemplative work which alternates lighting and mood by Canadian company member Julia Adam. The jazzy “Sandpaper Ballet,” was created by Mark Morris for 25 dancers in 1999. The second program blends ballet and modern movement and features Lar Lubovitch’s expressionistic rendition of Shakespeare’s “Othello” with original music by Elliot Goldenthal.
San Francisco Ballet. Program 1: May 12-14, 7:30pm, “Prism” (chor. Helgi Tomasson, mus. Ludwig van Beethoven); “Night” (chor. Julia Adam, mus. Matthew Pierce); “Chaconne for piano and two dancers” (chor. Helgi Tomasson, mus. Georg Friderich Haendel); “Sandpaper Ballet” (chor. Mark Morris, mus. Leroy Anderson). Program 2: May 17 & 18, 7:30pm; May 19, 2:30pm & 8pm, “Othello” (chor. Lar Lubovitch, mus. Elliot B. Goldenthal). Opéra National de Paris-Palais Garnier, pl de l’Opéra, 1er, M° Opéra, tel: 08 36 69 78 68