‘Firebird’ a Sure Fire Hit; South County Joins for a Cause

Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley was on fire last Friday night at
the Center for Performing Arts in San Jose.
Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley was on fire last Friday night at the Center for Performing Arts in San Jose. The spark began as season-ticket holders attended a grand party hosted by Fry’s Electronics at the Fairmont Hotel preceding the performance. Culinary offerings included carved beef and roasted turkey with cranberry dressing, luscious mounds of shrimp, three types of ravioli, fresh sushi, assorted cheeses, Asian stir-fry, made-to-order crepes and crudités, just to name a few choices, as well as a full open bar and trays and trays of delicate desserts.

All of this was graciously orchestrated by Fry’s executive chef and Morgan Hill resident Charles Lewis. The mood was celebratory, as the folks at Fry’s had just received notification that they had won an Abby Award for their support of the arts.

The night also was a reunion of sorts, as season-ticket holders often get to know each other through the ballet events and only socialize during the season. A familiar face turned out to be my former physiology lab professor (20 years ago) and the premier mountain lion expert in the valley. Rick Hopkins and his wife Lisa Sinizer, also known by her feminist name “the wife of the mountain-lion guy,” have been long time supporters of the ballet. Rick was introduced to the art form as a graduate student by his advisor (do as the advisor advises). He now owns Live Oak Associates, an ecological consulting firm in San Jose.

South County residents George and Alice Chiala, Fran Lauridsen, Kevin and Pam Stewart, Rachel Spivak, Bob and Lynne Meyer (wearing a stunning silk dress and gorgeous wrap) and about 3,000 other season-ticket holders journeyed across the park with coffee to-go to the performing arts center to revel in the opening program of “Phaedra” and Dennis Nahat’s “Firebird.” Ballet San Jose has all the elements of a top dance company coming together. With lighting designer and technical director Kenneth Keith learning the best way to set sound is in the center, he ingeniously placed the speakers in the orchestra pit to utilize the built-in acoustics. The effect made me wonder for a moment whether they had musicians in the pit. Keith’s lighting design and pyrotechnics helped create a very theatrical performance and worked not to distract from the dancers, but to enhance the experience.

Any lover of percussion and percussive movements would be moved by the performance of choreographer Flemming Flindt’s “Phaedra,” where the Kama Sutra-esque dance positions fell under the spell of a red Marley floor and Keith’s sultry lighting. Music by Philip Glass and his experience with Indian music technique turned the western Greek myth facing east.

Nahat’s “Firebird” and the outstanding set design embraced the emerging stars of the company, inducing my usually lukewarm-ballet-loving husband to exclaim over and over, “That was really well worth watching!” I whole-heartedly agree. The company performed technically and artistically superb. The promise of live music in the upcoming programs in the season will quench my thirst for the all the elements of a truly world class company. Bravi! (“Bravi” means “well done” to many instead of “bravo,” the male form, and “brava” the female form.)

Speaking of theatrical

elements …

Gavilan College Theatre Arts Department has announced a novel idea for Halloween costume rental. They have opened their costume closet to anyone in the community with a driver’s license and major credit card to rent unique costumes including clowns, pirates, princesses and animals, with the possibility of creating a mix-and-match look (a pirate/wolf, perhaps?). More than 10,000 pieces are available, and all proceeds go to the Gavilan College Theatre Drama Club. Call Rosemary Thompson at (408) 848-4860 or e-mail [email protected] to make an appointment.

Another arts bulletin! South Valley Symphony performs their season-opening concert Saturday night under the baton of well known Bay Area conductor Henry Mollicone in the Gavilan College Theater. Don’t miss a live performance of John William’s “Raider’s of the Lost Ark Theme,” as well as Ravel’s “Bolero” (sans Bo Derek).

South County reaches out

As long as entertainment is a priority, the Live Aid Benefit Concert from 1pm tp 6pm Oct. 22 at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy promises to be both fun and beneficial. Bands and a variety of performers (including celebrity impersonators) will entertain for the good of the American Red Cross. From the looks of the FULL-PAGE AD in the paper, most of Las Vegas will be donating their performers for the day. No need to trek to the desert; go to Gilroy.

Ciao for now.

Have an event coming up or a hot tip for Mary Anne? E-mail it to [email protected]

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