San Francisco-based choreographer Robert Sund presents his take on Shakespeare’s classic farce Saturday night at the Granada.

David Bazemore

San Francisco-based choreographer Robert Sund presents his take on Shakespeare’s classic farce Saturday night at the Granada.

State Street Ballet Presents Taming of the Shrew

Updated Farce Runs One Night Only at the Granada Theatre

Thursday, October 24, 2013
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From the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate to 1999’s teen cult classic 10 Things I Hate About You, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew has been remade in so many genres and set in so many eras, even those who’ve never heard of the play are familiar with its story. The farcical tale centers on the wooing of Katherine (Kate) — the hot-tempered “shrew” in question — by the nobleman Petruchio, who eventually “tames” Kate’s feisty nature.

It’s not exactly a politically correct tale for modern audiences, which is why choreographer Robert Sund has done some adapting of his own. This Saturday, State Street Ballet (SSB) will unveil Sund’s version of the play at the Granada Theatre. For Sund, Taming of the Shrew is a comical take on the battle of the sexes and a chance for both male and female leads to flex their power. Interestingly, the dancers chosen to play the two lead roles, Kate Kadow and Jack Stewart, are a real-life couple.

In rehearsal at SSB’s studios last week, they worked on the grand pas de deux at the end of the ballet, when Petruchio has finally won Kate’s affection. As Stewart supported Kadow in a slow pirouette, they gazed into each other’s eyes and smiled. Minutes later, as the duet came to an end, Kadow lost her balance and slumped awkwardly to the floor. The two burst into giggles.

“I feel really comfortable dancing with Jack,” explained Kadow, for whom this production marks the first time she’ll dance the lead role in a full, two-act ballet.

“She was made for this role,” Sund said, pointing out that in addition to her lively spirit, Kadow shares a first name with her character.

Inspired by female movie stars like Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Rosalind Russell, Sund set his version of the story in mid-century America. The score features 1950s pop music and hula alongside Stravinsky and Ravel. Designer Christina A. Giannini is hard at work on costumes that will evoke the era of sock hops and soda fountains, and while Sund relies on the cast for their strong classical ballet technique, he’s also introducing elements of jazz and free-form dancing, athletic sequences, and highly demanding lifts, especially for the leads.

For a production like this, the cast’s acting ability is just as important as the technical requirements — it’s a funny, irreverent play, and Sund aims to evoke laughs.

For these young lovers and dance partners, Taming of the Shrew is far from a misogynistic story about the need to subdue unruly women. “I feel powerful in my role,” Kadow said. “I don’t feel that I’m tamed so much as I come around.”

Stewart worded it slightly differently: “She kicks my ass just as much as I kick hers.”

State Street Ballet presents Taming of the Shrew at the Granada Theatre on Saturday, October 26, at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, call (805) 899-2222 or visit To learn more about the company, visit


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Sealion: I'm an old school liberal who hates bigotry of ANY kind--whether it's again, EITHER gender, or any race. We don't have to demand anything; alll we have to do is speak the truth on any given occasion.

I think it's a good thing that we all can get into this sandbox of the blogesphere, exchange ideas, and make people--especially young people who have perhaps only heard one point of view--think.

PC relies on people not saying anything, when you speak up, it's like turning on the kitchen light when there are cockroaches in there.

I don't know anything about the particulars of this article, so I am not commenting on it, but on your perception that the PC world has anyone trapped. As I say, when we speak up as we do, we lessen the power of political correctness, but let's make sure we don't fall into the same elliptical world of intolerance.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 27, 2013 at 7:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You're saying rape is not a crime of power but of sex? If sex drive determined rape our prisons would be full of 14-16 year olds.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2013 at 5:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

From everything I've observed and read, it IS about power, not about sex. Look at warfare--one thing that comes to mind is when the Russians took over Germany at the end of WW2: The soldiers were raping women right and left.

Just today I was listening to a talk show were there is some demonstration down south near L.A. about some serial rapist who is to be released. Among victims mentioned was an 80-year-old woman.

You're going down the same path that feminists you so despise go down which is you're making this about sex. Since that's the case, would you support the militant feminist approach of castrating rapists? (Which as I've pointed out in other posts, would do no good since the action is mental and not sexual)

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 30, 2013 at 5:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No Sealion, I'm not "confused" about this issue at all, nor do I have any "projections", I merely don't see this issue the way you do.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 31, 2013 at 12:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Answer to your question: You obsess about women, just as militant feminists obsess about men.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 1, 2013 at 12:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sealion, are you a Tom of Finland fan?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 1:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Where would Camille Paglia fit in?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 7:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr. Volok: I'm so glad you show an interest in Scandinavian culture. This song that I am about to post is a beautiful tribute to the land of Paavo Nurmi and others.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2013 at 7:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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