If a dancer is very lucky, and very prepared, one performance can transform their career. Lonnie Weeks was that dancer on the opening night of San Francisco Ballet's Unbound Festival in April. Chosen by Christopher Wheeldon for the emotionally wrenching final solo in Bound To, Weeks, 27, went onstage as a superb but largely unsung company artist. When the curtain came down 30 minutes later, he was, rightfully, a star.
Weeks in "Bound To." Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.
Weeks, who was promoted to soloist just before the festival, boasts the classical refinement and the expressive freedom of a modernist. That combination seemed tailor-made for Wheeldon's contemporary ballet about the alienation of technology, so while Bound To featured principals like Dores André, Yuan Yuan Tan and Angelo Greco, Weeks got the last word. In that closing solo, he portrayed a person whose loneliness has brought him to the brink of self-destruction. Weeks held nothing back, laying out his body in breathtaking extensions, leaps and floor work, and dancing with a heartrending musicality that bared his soul, for all to see.