We are then transported to a land of stark contrasts – the scenery and costumes are black and white with distinct delineations and borders, appropriately aligning with the title of David Dawson‘s piece. He takes the suggested disparities between the male and female psyches and explores how there can be crossover resulting in a more complete being. Frances Chung and Sofiane Sylve are the natural leaders, embodying femininity and strength while accomplishing the challenging choreography, often interestingly pushing the limits of the classical vocabulary. Chung especially has a talent for maintaining grace in her épaulement and arms while displaying power in her legs.
There is a lot of partnering in Anima Animus and one section particularly focuses on a pair of trios, Chung and Sylve each flanked by two men. Although impressive in concept, it seems an ambitious task to have two groups attempting to simultaneously manage the complex sequences of lifts and manipulation. Individually, the trios are beautifully danced but lack of synchronicity encourages the viewer to divert their attention to one group at a time. Speaking of groups, three of the six women in this piece are in the corps de ballet, an indication of just how strong the entire company is.
San Francisco Ballet’s run at The Kennedy Center lasts until October 28 and consists of two distinct programs. If you live in the Washington, DC metro area, there is no excuse not to attend a world-class company performing at a world-class venue. Even if you live further out, it’s absolutely worth the trek.