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What We’re Watching…Wooden Dimes

San Francisco Ballet Presents Wooden Dimes, choreography by Danielle Rowe

As the character of Betty bursts into stardom, the film gradually shifts from black-and-white to color, with the evolution of her relationship with Robert also reflected in the choreography. Rowe chose to echo movement phrases, performed quite differently, in the ballet’s two central pas de deux. “Dancers of the caliber of Sarah [Van Patten, who dances as Betty] and Luke [Ingham, who dances as Robert] are not just great technicians, but also artists who are able to bring emotional complexity and detail to the work,” says Rowe.

The film is also a love letter to a backstage world that has been almost completely dark—and sorely missed by performers—since the pandemic began. “It seemed right to pay tribute to the theater right now,” says Rowe. “I wanted to look at that space between what I call the real world and the magical world of the theater. Particularly the dressing room space, where you put on makeup, change your hair, and transform into somebody else. It can consume you as a performer—there’s an energy and shared experience in that space that’s like nothing else.”


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