SENSORIUM: The San Francisco Ballet’s Journey into A Multi-Media Revolution


Jennifer Stahl in Possokhov's Swimmer. (© Erik Tomasson)(© Erik Tomasson)

Words: Ana L. Roman

Photography: Trisha Leeper and Erik Tomasson

Last Night 65/57 Magazine attended the second annual Sensorium presented by The San Francisco Ballet.  Held at the War Memorial Opera House, the sold-out event featured dance, art, and music, with a “pool”-themed After-Party following the performance. The evening was generously hosted by local artist and former Twitter product innovation team leader James Buckhouse.

San Francisco Ballet in Forsythe's Pas/Parts 2016. (© Erik Tomasson)(© Erik Tomasson)

The 90-minute performances included two works that shared themes of reflection and refraction: Yuri Possokhov’s Swimmer and William Forsythe’s Pas/Parts 2016. Possokhov’s illustrious choreography was imbued with a multi-media extravaganza featuring music by Shinji Eshima, Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan, and Gavin Bryars. Scenic designs by Alexander V. Nichols, costumes by Mark Zappone, lighting design by David Finn, and video design by Kate Duhamel gave Possokhov’s work all the elements of innovative dynamism. The choreographer’s program was by far a precise blueprint of what American dance production truly requires in order to catapult itself into the 21st century.

Vitor Luiz and members of San Francisco Ballet in Possokhov's Swimmer. (© Erik Tomasson)(© Erik Tomasson)

Forsythe’s daring Pas/Parts 2016 was a high velocity showcase of 15 dancers,  set to an electronic score by Thom Willems, and comprised of 21 sections of various styles from jazzy to orchestral. Forsythe’s works provided the perfect combination of contemporary, modern, and classical elements, hitting the cultural zeitgeist that American dance audiences truly crave.

DSC_8932(© Trisha Leeper)

“When we first conceived of Sensorium as an event to introduce a younger crowd to the art form of ballet, we had no idea how successful it would be,” said SF Ballet Executive Director Glenn McCoy. “But last spring we were so pleased that the event was so well-received and even more impressed by the enthusiasm and goodwill of the attendees. This year, we have an especially exciting program and we look forward to sharing our joy of dance with an even wider audience.”

DSC_8859(© Trisha Leeper)

DSC_8718(© Trisha Leeper)

DSC_8798(© Trisha Leeper)

DSC_8937(© Trisha Leeper)

The San Francisco Ballet has successfully hinted to the dance world its new themes for the future of dance production, all while giving audiences unexpected tactile experiences. The renegade choreography combined with refreshing experiential elements made Sensorium a singular spellbound success.

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