Monthly Archives: June 2010

ACT’s Tosca Project closes on July 3

San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Lorena Feijoo and A.C.T. core acting company member Jack Willis (pictured at the famed Tosca Café) are part of the multidisciplinary cast of The Tosca Project. Photo by Kevin Berne.

American Conservatory Theatre at San Francisco presents a collaborative project with the San Francisco Ballet in a world premiere dance theater production of The Tosca Project. This piece is a result of a three year collaboration between San Francisco Ballet choreographer Val Caniparoli and A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff, with a cast of dancers and actors. The story is inspired by San Francisco’s Tosca Cafe.

It sounds fascinating, and I’m interested in how artists can switch across theatrical mediums. Pascal Molat has shown ballet audiences that he can act, but can he convince the A.C.T. audience he can act as well? And doesn’t Lorena look fabulous?

A sailor (Pascal Molat) and his girl (Lorena Feijoo) dance a duet to Rosemary Clooney singing “What'll I Do?” Photo by Kevin Berne.

Lorena Feijoo (center) with members of the Tosca Project ensemble (Peter Anderson, left, and Rachel Ticotin, right). Photo by Kevin Berne.

A sailor (Pascal Molat) and his girl (Lorena Feijoo) share a last moment before he heads off to World War II. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Please report back if you’ve seen it – click here for more information and tickets. Check out the SF Chronicle review, here. The Tosca Project closes on July 3 after being extended due to popular demand, with A.C.T. core acting company member René Augesen, Milwaukee Ballet principal dancer Julianna Kepley, and Bay Area ballet dancer Jekyns Pelaez join the ensemble for the extension performances.

So You Think You Can Dance – the 7th season

My review after watching about 5 minutes of it

WHY are the judges crying??

Seriously, I tried to give this show “So You Think You Can Dance” another chance, especially when I heard that Alex Wong was back on the show. Don’t get me wrong – there is a lot of absolutely jaw-dropping amazing dancing on the show. But certain things I can’t stand – for instance, the judging has been like listening to nails on a chalkboard. A ballroom dance expert judging hip hop is not an expert opinion, no more than mine is. And it really pushed me over the top when Nigel Lythgoe, one of the judges, said, ”You don’t just need a formal training. It’s because you have a great feel for dance.” And one of the judges lost my respect in his bone-headed arrogance in the documentary of A Chorus Line, Every Little Step, made even sweeter by the fact that he didn’t get the role despite his confidence in that he can do anything.

And crying has become so ubiquitous on reality TV, it’s not shocking or heart-tugging anymore. People cry when they win and move onto the next round, and they cry when they don’t. And now, the judges cry. A lot.

Is it weird that a lot of the dancers are already professionals? I’ve even blogged about two of them, who were in professional companies. Is the point not about getting a job or guiding professional dancers, but widespread promotion and branding yourself?

It feels like a TV show can start off well, and it gets worse, season after season. It’s like the show becomes a caricature of itself, being more and more outrageous. Maybe this show doesn’t even know its point anymore. They’re not trying to find the diamond in the rough, or promote the amazing dance that comes with years of training.

Or maybe the thing that bugs me the most is that this show doesn’t project an image of the world that I know and love.  They promote the breathtaking beauty of dance, but now it’s looking more like a sport or a string of tricks. That is fine in itself – fouettes, sky high split jumps, and a dancing body is a wonderful thing to behold. But that enough isn’t enough to engage my attention and my heart and my brain – not for long, anyways. The dance that I see on TV has ceased to be about subtlety, or complexity. Or perhaps my hopes for TV are just too high.

I’m just going to hope now that someone posts Alex Wong’s solos somewhere on the internet. Would that person mind just muting the judges’ words for me?

Well, if anything, this show got me to blog again. I’m currently buried up to my neck in writing my PhD dissertation, and blogging after writing 70 pages of neuroscience jargon has been a bit much. I did recently enjoy a fun show of A Chorus Line on tour. The dancing was superb, and it was nice to see a Cassie that I liked. A singular sensation, indeed.