San Francisco Ballet, Hotel de Rohan, Paris

Dancin' in the rain. It might have been a glorious feeling

But the dancers of San Francisco Ballet appeared undaunted (they had a covered stage, at least), determined to justify the organisers' contentious choice of an American company over a French one. In fact, global politics aside, SFB is a perfect match for Paris since America's oldest company is also its most stylish. And how typical of it to open its residency not with a three-act crowd pleaser but with three world premieres. It's this ability to cook up commissions from the likes of Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch and Christopher Wheeldon that makes SFB the envy of the ballet world.

Paul Taylor's Spring Rounds suffered worst from the wintry conditions. This was vintage Taylor in the bucolic mode that recalls the golden lads and girls of Shakespeare's sonnet. Circle dances, square dances, couples making arches for others to dance through, bodies breasting imagined rays of sun, make for a buoyant display of youthful ardour that looked suddenly rather desperate, like someone holding a smile too long. Made to a recorded arrangement of 17th-century music, the girls in lace-up bodices, everything was matched to its surroundings - except the weather.

In Elemental Brubeck, Lar Lubovitch strays into 1950s jazz territory. The male solo that tops and tails the piece, fizzingly danced by Gonzalo Garcia, might have stepped off Broadway with its wriggles and strides. Jazzed-up ballet in other hands can drag behind the beat, but Lubovitch finds a freedom in the form that is genuinely uplifting, if ultimately slight.

For challenge, all eyes were on Christopher Wheeldon, the British choreographer everyone wants a piece of these days. Quaternary is his comment on the four seasons set to four unrelated scores by John Cage, J S Bach, Arvo Part, and a Hendrix-like electric guitar number by Steven Mackay that was ostensibly "Autumn" but one couldn't guess why. Despite moments of luminous invention - particularly a duet for Damian Smith and Yuan Yuan Tan, for my money the most mesmerising ballerina in the world - the overall impression was rather baffling. Yet there was enough to call for a second viewing on a dry night.

jenny.gilbert@independent.co.uk

To 23 July, www.francebillet.com

Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
Arts and Entertainment
Crowd control: institutions like New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are packed

Art
Arts and Entertainment
Cillian Murphy stars as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices