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Seasoned Dancers
This year, you'll find a bittersweet tinge to the comic ballets of the Mark Foehringer Dance Project.

“Four Seasons”
Mark Foehringer Dance Project/SF
Yerba Buena, San Francisco
August 21, 2002

by Heather Wisner
copyright ©2002 by SF Weekly

Comedy matters to choreographer Mark Foehringer, whose work is colored by his unconventional childhood (raised in Brazil by Minnesotan Lutheran missionaries) and by his terpsichorean history, which includes dancing character roles en travesti (in drag) for classical ballets like La Fille mal gardée and Cinderella. But at this year's Mark Foehringer Dance Project home season, viewers can expect bittersweetness with their wit, reflecting not only the hardships of maintaining a ballet company in a shaky economy, but also the mood of this last anxious year.

Change and the passage of time inform this program, although it's whimsy that distinguishes Foehringer's The Four Seasons from other balletic adaptations of Vivaldi's score. The piece opens with "Spring," a comic pollination rite buzzing with birds, bees, and butterflies; followed by the "Summer" couplings and uncouplings of young lovers; the sepia-toned Victorian picnic of "Fall"; and "Winter," with its retirement home where long-standing disputes play out and the unpartnered waltz with their walkers. "It's not a laughing at," Foehringer likes to say of the ending, "it's a laughing about."

August 21, 2002
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