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In Praise of the San Francisco Ballet

Anthony Spaulding and Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun in "The Four Temperaments"

The San Francisco Ballet is so technically strong, so “deep,” to borrow a term from team sports rhetoric, lavish praise can be extended to its soloists and even to the ranks of the corps.

A case in point, Anthony Spaulding seems to have been born not only to dance but to occupy a prominent place in the highest ranks of a brilliant company. As a soloist at the San Francisco Ballet, he would appear to be well on his way.

Here is a dancer, who from his company debut seemed to own all the qualities of a compelling principal — regal carriage, innate elegance and an effortlessly powerful presence. Not to mention stunning line, ideal proportions and a technique that seems to improve by the day.

Like a doting court too, the Ballet appears to be grooming him, tending with exquisite care to nuances of technique and interpretation. Promoted to soloist after just two years with the company, to date, he has danced the Snow King in Nutcracker and the Cavalier in Sleeping Beauty. We look forward with baited breath to the realization of Mr. Spaulding’s full potential on the ballet stage.

Newly promoted soloist Dores Andre soars in Swan Lake.

Dores Andre, a diminutive, Spanish-trained dancer, is another of my particular favorites, bringing piquant exuberance and buoyancy to her every role. Indeed I was so captivated by her White Cat in a 2007 production of Sleeping Beauty, the memory has remained with me to this day. In fact, to attest to the timeliness and relevance of this piece, as this story was about to be published, news arrived that Ms. Andre has been promoted to the rank of soloist.

Lily Rogers in George Balanchine's "Jewels"

A major corps de ballet standout is Lily Rogers, whose dazzling 2007 Firebird debut was a bona fide revelation and whose attack as the Solo Girl in the ‘Rubies’ section of Balanchine’s Jewels practically knocked me out of my seat. (It is a testament to the rare commitment and internal discipline of ballet dancers generally, and Ms. Rogers in particular, that after creating a sensation in a starring role, she should return without complaint to the ranks of the corps to continue to learn and grow.) Clearly, the company and its faithful, endlessly supportive audiences expect terrific things from her.

The San Francisco Ballet’s 79th season runs through May 6, 2012.