February 12, 2003

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'San Francisco Ballet: Program Three'
Feb. 13-23, War Memorial Opera House

IF YOU ARE wondering to what use ballet's vocabulary can be put in the 21st century, San Francisco Ballet's third program will be an eye-opener. This mixed-repertory performance includes the return of Damned, Yuri Possokhov's takeoff on the Medea myth that premiered last season. With a bravura part for a dancing actress and an intriguingly fresh use of a corps as a prescient Greek chorus, Damned shows Possokhov has emerged as an exciting, status quo-challenging voice at SFB. Polyphonia, which Christopher Wheeldon choreographed for his home company, New York City Ballet, in 2001, is set to keyboard music by tough-as-nails contemporary composer György Ligeti. If the work is anything close to Wheeldon's Continuum, which premiered at SFB last year and also used Ligeti, this piece will be fireworks not to be missed. The evening also includes Balanchine's Allegro brillante, which with its chamber-size ensemble is often a favorite for smaller ballet companies. It probably will feature some of the newer crop of SFB dancers. Thurs/13, Sat/15, Feb. 18-19, 21, and 23, 8 p.m. (also Sat/15, 2 p.m), 301 Van Ness, S.F. $8-120. www.sfballet.org. (Rita Felciano)