Romeo & Juliet

Do you recognize the impossibly fuzzy dancer in this photo that I took?

It is none other than the incomparable Yuan Yuan Tan of the San Francisco Ballet.

A fellow balletomane and I attended a pre-performance talk at the Green Room before the evening performance of Romeo & Juliet. Sarah Van Patten was dancing Juliet that night, so Yuan Yuan Tan attended as the featured guest. I sat only a row behind hers! So that accounts for the fuzzy, stalker-y photo. She was memorable mainly for her presence: direct, uncompromising, and skinny. So skinny! It’s funny that that’s what struck us the most about her; on stage, I suppose you don’t notice, but in person she is all vertical lines up and down. She was quite vehement in her opinions, rejecting outright the host’s suggestion that Juliet and Giselle were similar heroines. Tan had the air of someone who didn’t suffer fools gladly, which kinda makes sense, considering that her climb to the top of the ballet world was nothing short of spectacular. No corps for this girl.

San Francisco Ballet Principal Highlight

The ballet itself was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen on the stage. The stage itself (in the War Memorial House) was old-fashioned and gold-leafed.

My crappy cameraphone picture. It does not do justice!

What more can I say beyond the facts that it was ballet at its most gorgeous? Sarah Van Patten was a delicate and nuanced Juliet. I would, however, like to see Macmillan’s version at some point; Helgi Tomassen’s version felt more visceral and real, but the videos I’ve seen of Macmillan’s pas de deux are just so, so glorious. But this was a fine production.

The only downside to the evening were the drunken lovebirds in front of me who could not stop whispering to each other. That aside, a wonderful evening.

4 thoughts on “Romeo & Juliet

  1. Elaine

    I love your posts; your writing– and perspective on ballet that can best be described as love. thank you for these. I saw the the McMillan version of Romeo and Julie many time at the Kennedy Center years ago– and your description of it is just that– glorious. I love Prokofiev’s music.

    1. apricot Post author

      Elaine, that means a lot to me. Thank you for coming by and reading. I’m a little envious that you saw the MacMillan production–and at the Kennedy Center no less! And re Prokofiev, I had the music on a loop for a week afterwards 🙂

      1. Elaine

        Thank god Apple invented the Ipod– can you imagine what that would to the people we live with!?–

        I was lucky enough to be living in the VA suburbs at the time the Kennedy Center opened– got an in to be an usher at the Opera House through, curiously enough– my ballet school, Falls church school of ballet. it’s probably still there. At any rate, my only regret is taht I didn’t keep a copy of each monthly playbill to recall later all the amazing and interesting things I got to see.

        one of my most memorable was a performace by Baryshnikov shortly after he had defected and danced the seldom produced Vestris– I think that’s the name. It is a solo piece for premier danseur.The stage was bare and his costume was all white, as I recall, stark contrast. it was short, stunning, breath-taking and permanently seered into my memory.

        I see– on the right side under category cloud you list topics i have similar interests in.

        this is the first blog I’ve chosen to follow– and respond to. …I would love sometime to come to the opening of the Ballet season up there. that would be a treat indeed.

        Forgive me for asking, do you go by the name Apricot or do you have a given name?

        Have a great Saturday! –Elaine.

  2. Vaneeesa Blaylock

    Reblogged this on I Rez Therefore I Am and commented:
    SAN FRANCISCO, 21 March — Wandering Apricot has a close encounter with ballet legend (Shanghai Dance School at 11, Soloist with San Francisco Ballet at 18, principal dancer at 20) Yuan Yuan Tan. Despite minor “stalker” inclinations Apricot enjoys Sarah Van Patten’s performance as Juliet in The San Francisco Ballet’s performance of Romeo and Juliet.


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