Focus on the future

Pub date May 13, 2008
SectionArts & CultureSectionDance

PREVIEW San Francisco Ballet just finished its 75th season with a buzz-creating festival of world premieres. But SFB hasn’t gone dormant. This week the focus shifts to the next generation of dancers: San Francisco Ballet School students who hope to take on the daunting task of defying gravity and having their bodies express the contents of their souls.

At the SFB School’s Student Showcase at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the audience can experience the stages of a dancer’s progress. From the smallest kids doing their precisely placed tendus and still-stiff port de bras to the graduates, seven years later, who are ready to compete with professionals, you can see dancers blossom and begin to be themselves. You’ll also notice that boys tend to develop later and that girls still dominate the field. The program features the American premiere of John Neumeier’s 1986 Yondering, danced to Stephen C. Foster songs. The advanced students perform Helgi Tomasson’s 1996 Simple Symphony, which he specifically choreographed for the SFB School.

But SFB isn’t the only school holding its end-of-the-year recital. The School of the Arts, a magnet school of the San Francisco Unified School District, presents its budding young dancers in Unfolding Light, which introduces dances by student and professional choreographers, including Brittany Brown Ceres, Juan Pazmino, Gregory Dawson, and Enrico Labayen. A few of these teenage artists wowed the audience when they performed during the Izzies dance awards at the end of April.

SAN FRANCISCO BALLET SCHOOL STUDENT SHOWCASE Wed/14, 8 p.m.; Thurs/15–Fri/16, 7:30 p.m. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF. $32. (415) 865-2000,

SCHOOL OF THE ARTS’ UNFOLDING LIGHT Fri/16–Sat/17, 8 p.m.; Sun/18, 2 p.m. Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina and Buchanan, SF. $18–$20. (415) 345-7575