Posts tagged with "ballet"

Zara Biggs, Nike Communications, for use by 360 Magazine

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE HOLIDAY DISPLAYS LIGHT UP NYC

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE hosted its inaugural holiday window display to honor and rejuvenate imagination and creativity in New York City. The BOMBAY SAPPHIRE holiday windows gain inspiration from the traditional 5th Avenue holiday window displays while serving a greater purpose. The intention of the displays is to revive the creativity that has been deprived of downtown Manhattan since the beginning of the pandemic.

The storefront series was held in SoHo through December 19, in partnership with artist Shavanté Royster, fashion designer Romeo Hunte and NYC dancer Nicole von Arx.

Shavanté Royster

The Brooklyn-based Shavanté Royster is a graphic designer and illustrator, working in the creative industry since 2009. Growing up in a military family, often having to travel during her life motivated Shavanté’s innovation. Through her art, Shavanté often takes inspiration from travel, expressing this through shapes and rich colors. Shavanté’s work is comprised of digital illustration, painting and mixed media.

Romeo Hunte

Romeo Hunte New York is a lifestyle apparel brand designed in NYC for consumers who appreciate sophisticated details. The edgy aesthetic that the collection radiates mixes both feminine and masculine characteristics. Romeo Hunte pieces blend lavish outerwear with contemporary apparel. The Romeo Hunte woman and man can be described as a “dynamic duo” that appreciates the arts and pop culture with a modern flare.

Nicole von Arx

Nicole von Arx (NVA) studied Ballet, Contemporary and Hip Hop in Geneva, Switzerland at Dance Area, shortly after traveling to New York in 2008 to attend school at the Alvin Ailey School, graduating in 2011. Currently based among NYC and Geneva, NVA is a dancer and choreographer in both dance scenes. NVA has collaborated with the most notable choreographers in New York as a creator, dancer and teacher. Continuing her career, NVA has also worked independently as a choreographer with musicians, film directors and photographers.

The visionaries that were created through the course of the display aimed to fill the empty storefronts with avant-garde ‘windows of art.’ The pandemic has transformed the lives of creatives, small businesses and retail in New York and all over the world. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE worked to ensure that the artistic society would be celebrated and uplifted this holiday season with their holiday displays.

Each window highlighted a winter dreamscape created by artist Shavanté Royster. Both Shavanté and Romeo Hunte’s creative point-of-views joined forces to emulate the holiday magic of 5th avenue. Live models were seen wearing Romeo’s winter apparel upon Shavanté’s backdrops, with performances by NYC dancers.

Romeo’s devoted window showcased people draped in his designs that were created personally for the display. Romeo set the scene of a holiday celebration before a show over cocktails. The garments were designed with inspiration from Shavanté, with the backdrop and fashion coinciding throughout the display.

Romeo spoke on the experience of designing for the holiday displays, stating, “It’s been a joy to work on BOMBAY SAPPHIRE’s Holiday Storefront Series which pays homage to exciting young creative talents everywhere and the tenacity of New York City coming back after the pandemic. It was refreshing to collaborate with artist Shavanté Royster and the dancers as mixed media has always been an important part of my work, so it was cool to build and see the narrative of the holiday windows come to life with them through different facets, such as the dancers wearing some of my designs. I hope everyone can leave the windows feeling a burst of creativity and inspiration for the holidays, and hope for the year ahead!”

Espresso Nutcracker Illustration by Reb Czukoski for use by 360 Magazine

DBD Academy’s Espresso Nutcracker

Dallas Black Dance Academy (DBD Academy) presents its fourth annual Espresso Nutcracker, with a new twist on a holiday tradition. The performance is jazz-influenced by the music of Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. Co-Sponsors for the Espresso Nutcracker are Macy’s and the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture.

The single performance is scheduled for Saturday, December 11 at 7 pm in the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, TX. The performance is also available via live streaming and on-demand. Through their sponsorship, Macy’s is sharing virtual viewing access with up to 30 social service agencies and children’s hospitals nationwide. Last year’s initiative allowed over 1,500 youth and families the opportunity to virtually share the holiday experience.

“We are honored to provide support to such an incredible organization, whose impactful work plays a vital role in strengthening and enriching our community,” said Emma Conniff, corporate giving associate at Macy’s. “The holidays are when Macy’s shines the brightest, and we are excited to partner with Dallas Black Dance Academy to spread holiday magic to viewers of all ages.”

DBD Academy Director Katricia Eaglin choreographed Espresso Nutcracker with assistance from the academy ballet instructors of the Pre-Professional Division levels 1-4 students who will perform in the production. Eaglin was inspired to use the traditional Tchaikovsky music along with tracks from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite, selecting Ellington tracks that were still recognizable to the original work. She added narration to the performance as well as an African dance to the Land of Sweets Act that includes Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, and Russian dances in the original.

“I was inspired to create and produce the Espresso Nutcracker for Dallas Black Dance Academy so our academy students could be involved in the Nutcracker tradition,” said Eaglin. “We’re excited to have our students re-enter the theatre and share how they have grown while training virtually during the 2020-2021 season!”

DBD Academy is the official school of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT), and allows students to learn virtually and in-person. The original Nutcracker Ballet, choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is one of the most famous ballets in the world and tells the story of young Clara’s magical journey on Christmas Eve.

Many dance academies bring in professionals to dance key Nutcracker roles, but Dallas Black Dance Academy students will dance all the key parts, such as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen. DBDT professional dancers will dance the adult characters of the Mother, Father, and Drosselmeyer.

Dallas Black Dance Theatre is limiting seating capacity to allow for social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines and because of limited ticket availability, DBDT will not be able to give discounts on groups or subscriptions this year. You can watch the live stream broadcast in real-time beginning at 7:00 pm CDT on Saturday, December 11, while the on-demand option will be available starting at 9:00 pm CDT Saturday through Monday, December 13, 11:59 pm CST.

Ballerina by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Bombazo Caribbean Skirts Featured at New York Fashion Week

By: Javier Pedroza 

Milteri Tucker Concepción is a busy and multi-talented Afro Boricua who holds degrees in Biology, Chemistry and a master’s in Dance Education. She is an author, a mother and was casted in Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights the movie. As we approach #NYFW2021, Milteri puts on another hat, as designer.

Milteri is the founder of BOMBAZO and the artistic director of Bombazo Dance Co. The Puerto Rican-Bronx based non-profit dance organization’s focus is to educate, advocate, preserve and perform Bomba Puertorriqueña. As an author, educator and master Bomba dancer, she lectures across the United States and the world. I sat with Milteri and we spoke about Bomba, fashion and Puerto Rico.

Milteri, tell our readers, who is Milteri Tucker Concepción? 

Well, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and grew up with a passion for dance since I was 5 years old. I  recall dancing in “la Sala”(the living room) with three of the most influential women in my life: my grandmother, mother and aunt. As part of my upbringing I remember dancing, planting and assisting my elders in the kitchen. I also vividly recall shopping for fabrics with my aunt and watching my grandmother Abuela Teresa, warmly referred to as “Mama” sewing. My aunt “Titi” Maria Concepción was a designer who attended FIT and designed clothes for top actors in Puerto Rico. I was blessed to have been raised in a household full of  love, and love for my culture!

As a teenager, I studied dance in La Escuela de Bellas Artes in Ponce, PR. At 17, [I] moved to NYC to pursue careers in dance and science. In 2006, I graduated with a dual major of Dance and Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Hunter College. I currently hold a masters degree in Dance Education from NYU Steinhardt. Today I am a renowned Bomba master dancer, choreographer, scholar, dance educator and author. [I wrote] the first bilingual Bomba children’s book, titled “Bomba Puertorriqueña” and illustrated by Boricua artist, Mia Roman.

I’ve had the privilege to perform in multiple venues across NYC and the world – from the prestigious Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, City Center, Summerstage, Pregones Theater, BAAD, The Latin Billboards Awards, dancing for Don Omar with choreography by Maria Torres O’Connor, to amazing community centers.

I am a cultural warrior (guerrera cultural) who safeguards our traditions of Bomba Puertorriquenas, via [my] 501c3 non-profit dance organization: Bombazo Dance Co, Inc and international brand of Caribbean dance skirts: Bombazo Wear-Bomba & Caribbean Dance Skirts®. I was recently  featured in Lin Manuel Miranda’s movie, In The Heights, as the Bomba representation.

How was your experience filming ‘In the Heights’?

Being invited to dance Bomba for In the Heights was a surreal experience and a dream come true! It was an honor to represent our African heritage through our traditional dances. However, one of my favorite memories came after the movie premiered…. I had the opportunity to open the 2021 Virtual National Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC, where Lin and I danced Bomba together.

What is the history of Bomba?

Bomba is Puerto Rico’s oldest musical genre, dating back to the 17th century and created by the African enslaved and free people of color from the Caribbean. This was one of the ways they communicated in our coastal sugarcane and coffee plantations.  It is a secular practice, where the community gathers to sing, dance and drum.

Why did you create Bombazo Dance Company?

I founded Bombazo Dance Company to show the world that Puerto Rico has rich African ancestry, and that our traditions are very much alive. As a Bomba dance company, we communicate through dance and drumming. [This is] reflected in our traditional folk art dancers. It is also important to create a safe space to fuse Bomba with other forms of dance – such as ballet, contemporary, social dances and dances of the African and Caribbean diaspora.

What inspired you to create Bombazo dance wear? 

At the same time I started Bombazo Dance Company, I was teaching Bomba classes to the community and needed skirts. Believe it or not, it was hard to find a seamstress who could make Caribbean skirts or a location to purchase them. I wanted to create skirts that fit all Caribbean dance styles, because I am that dancer. And voilà – Bombazo Wear Bomba Caribbean Skirts was born! My mother, Dr. Margarita Concepción, and I are the CEOs and we sew the [skirts] too. Our skirts are handmade, custom[ized] and tailored to each client. A part of the funds go to aid families affected by the earthquakes in Southern Puerto Rico.

How does it feel to be invited to NYFW 2021 / Harlem Fashion Week?

It is an honor to have been invited to showcase for a second time in HFM! The organizers are truly showcasing diversity within their shows and providing  opportunities for designers of color to present their designs to the world. It’s important to me – as a woman of color, a Latina and AfroBoricua – [that] they understand my vision of dance as fashion. And my skirts have fashion written all over them!

Tell us about your upcoming collection “Resistencia y Libertá!” (Resistance and Freedom)

I am the creator of the Puerto Rican Bomba Flag Skirt®. A flag; its colors, represents a collective orgullo – pride for its people. Our flag was conceived and designed here in NYC. It was prohibited to fly The Puerto Rican flag in both Puerto Rico and New York at one time. Its pride is back after Hurricane Maria, [now] you see our colors in every town’s building and rinconcito (corner) in both Puerto Rico and the diaspora! Therefore, my new collection for 2021 is titled: “Resistencia y Libertá!” Where each skirt in the collection represents a social cause affecting Puerto Rico – such as the cultural resistencia by the people, No al Feminicidio, Boricua hasta en la Luna, Afroboricuaness, LGBTQ+ representation and support in the Bomba Community, ect. It is important to note that this is a brand and line designed and sewn by a Bomba dancer, a person from the community. These are skirts [are designed] with a mission. Part of the funds go to help families affected by the earthquakes in the South of Puerto Rico and organizations/community ensembles continuing the labor of safeguarding Bomba traditions in the island.

Any advice for the youth who want to connect and immerse themselves with their African roots and Culture?

Learn about all parts of you! That makes you unique and special. Speak to your elders: abuelas, abuelos, tias, tios and elders from your community. They have a lot of wisdom and years of experience you can learn from. Always connect to your culture, to your African roots! There is an African proverb I love : “Sankofa– in order to move forward you must know your past!” Know who you are, where you come from, so that you can pass the knowledge to your next generation! Ubuntu! (an African Proverb [that] means “I am because we ALL are!”)

For more information and to view images, please visit HERE.

Ballet illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

SF Ballet Performs GEORGE BALANCHINE’S JEWELS 

GEORGE BALANCHINE’S JEWELS SPARKLES ON SCREEN AT SAN FRANCISCO BALLET, APRIL 1–21 

The 2021 Digital Season’s Jewels stream is dedicated
to the memory of Elyse Borne

Newly filmed Emeralds, captured at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco in January 2021, tops Balanchine’s dazzling, abstract triptych

San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) streams George Balanchine’s Jewels on Program 04, April 1–21 of the 2021 Digital Season, featuring a newly-captured Emeralds to accompany archival recordings of Rubies and Diamonds. Filmed on stage at the War Memorial Opera House in January of 2021, Emeralds was captured under strict safety protocols in compliance with the San Francisco Department of Public Health guidelines which protect artists, production crews, and the greater public. Tickets to the digital stream of Jewels begin at $29. Casting is available at this link.

SF Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson dedicates the 2021 Digital Season’s Jewels stream to the memory of Elyse Borne, a leading Balanchine répétiteur who staged dozens of ballets for the Company, beginning in 1996 with Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco. Borne passed away in December of 2019, shortly after rehearsing Jewels with SF Ballet to prepare for live performance in the 2020 Season. “While recording Emeralds on stage this year we all thought fondly of Elyse,” says Tomasson. “She and I met while dancing for New York City Ballet in the 1970s and 80s. We were both aware of how fortunate we were to be a part of that last generation of dancers who worked directly with Balanchine. She joined us as ballet master in 1997 after working with companies all over the world, and over the following six years, she guided and supported the dancers here with expertise, grace, and humor. She will always be a long-remembered colleague and dear friend.” Alongside Borne and the George Balanchine Trust, Tomasson has remained committed to documenting and preserving the choreographer’s work for future generations, programming at least one Balanchine ballet each year of his leadership of SF Ballet.

Called “a perfect introduction to ballet” (The New York Times) and inspired by the designs of jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels, Jewels was last seen in full at SF Ballet in 2009. Jewels premiered in full in 1967 at New York City Ballet and consists of three one-act ballets that span the musical and balletic traditions of France (Emeralds), the United States (Rubies), and Russia (Diamonds), with costumes designed by Barbara Karinska to fit each act. Emeralds alludes to the 19th-century dances of French romantics and is set to excerpts from Gabriel Faure’s Pelléas et Mélisande (1898) and Shylock (1889). Rubies is a feat of athleticism, set to the irregular, modernist, jazz-inspired Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra by Igor Stravinsky. Diamonds invokes memories of Imperial Russia in a grand and formal display of classical ballet and is set to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 in D major. SF Ballet Orchestra performs in each ballet, with newly recorded music for Emeralds captured using approved safety protocols at Skywalker Studios and the SF Conservatory of Music, produced and engineered by Leslie Ann Jones.

Tickets to Jewels are available now as single stream tickets for $29, or within the Premium Plus Digital Package, which offers unlimited viewing of the remaining programs in the 2021 Digital Season, in addition to exclusive bonus content, for $289. Tickets and packages may be purchased online. For more information, call Ticket Services at 415-865-2000, Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm. Click here to view digital viewing tips.

Celebrating Jewels

SF Ballet hosts Celebrating Jewels on April 20 from 1 to 2:30 p.m., online via Zoom. The event unites former New York City Ballet principal dancers Kay Mazzo, Mimi Paul, and Edward Villella, alongside Helgi Tomasson, to discuss their memories and insight into Balanchine’s iconic ballet. General admission tickets to Celebrating Jewels are $20, donors and subscribers receive access to the program for a reduced rate or for free.

San Francisco Ballet Pop-Up Shop

San Francisco Ballet hosts a pop-up shop open to the public on April 2 and 3 from 10 to 3 p.m., observing COVID-19 regulations as suggested by the City of San Francisco. In celebration of Jewels, the pop-up is offering a 25% discount on all jewelry. The pop-up shop is held at 2400 Cesar Chavez, San Francisco, 94124. Parking is free. Donors and subscribers can access the sale early on Thursday, April 1 from 10 to 3 p.m. Contact their website with questions.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Jewels
A Ballet in Three Parts  

Composers: Gabriel Fauré, Igor Stravinsky, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Staged by: Elyse Borne, Judith Fugate, Sandra Jennings
Additional Coaching by: Helgi Tomasson

World Premiere: April 13, 1967—New York City Ballet, New York State Theater; New York, New York

San Francisco Ballet Premiere: March 12, 2002—War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, California

© The George Balanchine Trust

Emeralds
Captured on January 28, 2021 

Composer: Gabriel Fauré
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Staged by: Elyse Borne and Sandra Jennings
Additional Décor for Emeralds: Susan Touhy
Costume Design: Karinska, Recreated by Haydee Morales
Rehearsal Assistants: Ricardo Bustamante, Tina LeBlanc

Rubies
Captured on February 2, 2016  

Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Staged by: Elyse Borne
Costume Design: Karinska
Original “Rubies” Lighting Design: Ronald Bates
Rehearsal Assistant: Tina LeBlanc

San Francisco Ballet Premiere: January 30, 1987—War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, California

Diamonds
Captured on March 12, 2017  

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: George Balanchine
Staged by: Judith Fugate
Costume Design: Karinska
Rehearsal Assistants: Felipe Diaz, Betsy Erickson

ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO BALLET
San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.

Ballet by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

CATHY MARSTON – SNOWBLIND

CATHY MARSTON’S SNOWBLIND REPLACES MRS. ROBINSON ON PROGRAM 05, APRIL 22–MAY 12, 2021

 

 Marston’s Mrs. Robinson will premiere in the 2022 Season

 

 Program 05 also features Helgi Tomasson’s 7 for Eight and David Dawson’s Anima Animus

 

 San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) announces the postponement of Mrs. Robinson, Cathy Marston’s world premiere which was scheduled to debut on Program 05, April 22–May 12, until the 2022 Season. Mrs. Robinson was choreographed for the stage in the 2020 Season and was reimagined for film in the 2021 Digital Season. As COVID-19 related obstacles created unforeseen delays with the film capture at the War Memorial Opera House this month, Helgi Tomasson and SF Ballet made the joint decision with the American Guild of Musical Artists to postpone filming to put the health and safety of staff, crew, and artists at the forefront. An archival capture of Marston’s Snowblind, created for the 2018 Unbound Festival, will replace Mrs. Robinson for Program 05, which also includes archival captures of Helgi Tomasson’s 7 for Eight and David Dawson’s Anima Animus. Members of the public can still see a short film “prelude” to Marston’s Mrs. Robinson, captured at the Fairmont San Francisco in November of 2020, beginning today through February 25 in a digital program featuring excerpts from SF Ballet’s January 14 Virtual Benefit. It will be available via YouTubeIGTVFacebook, and SF Ballet’s website.

 

San Francisco Ballet’s complete 2022 Season will be announced later this spring. Images of Program 05 are available at this link, and casting is available here.

 

ABOUT PROGRAM 05:

Helgi Tomasson’s 7 for Eight from 2004 is an “exceptionally musical Bach essay” (San Francisco Chronicle) highlighting a series of solo and ensemble numbers for eight dancers, set to portions of keyboard concertos by J.S. Bach. The 2021 Digital Season capture of 7 for Eight is from 2016, the last time the work was seen at SF Ballet, and features principal dancers Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets, and former principal dancers Vanessa Zahorian, Gennadi Nedvigin, and Taras Domitro throughout. 7 for Eight is Tomasson’s second ballet set to Bach (his first, Aurora Polaris, premiered in 1991), and includes black-on-black costume designs by Sandra Woodall and lighting designs by David Finn. Martin West leads the SF Ballet Orchestra in 7 for Eight and throughout each ballet in Program 05.

 

Cathy Marston’s Snowblind “gripped from first moment to last” (San Francisco Chronicle) at its world premiere during the 2018 Unbound: A Festival of New Works. Based on Edith Wharton’s novella Ethan Frome (1911), Snowblind narrates a heart-rending love triangle between central characters Ethan Frome; his hypochondriac wife, Zeena; and Mattie, kin to Zeena, who captivates Frome after she’s hired to provide domestic support. The 2021 Digital Season stream was captured on April 25, 2018 at the War Memorial Opera House and includes principal dancers Sarah Van Patten as Zeena, Mathilde Froustey as Mattie, and Ulrik Birkkjaer as Ethan Frome. Philip Feeney arranged Snowblind’s music, which includes pieces by Wharton’s contemporaries Amy Beach and Arthur Foote, as well as Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Snowblind includes scenic and costume designs by Patrick Kinmonth and lighting designs by James F. Ingalls.

 

Program 05 closes with David Dawson’s Anima Animus, the choreographer’s first commission for SF Ballet, also created for the Unbound festival in 2018. Set to Ezio Bosso’s “Esoconcerto,” Anima Animus is, as Dawson puts it, “physically emotional virtuosity combined to make something human,” playing on Jungian concepts to reveal the rich contrasts between male and female psyches. Anima Animus toured with SF Ballet to Sadler’s Wells Theatre in 2019 and was “easily one of the highlights” (Seeing Dance) of the Company’s four-program London performances. The 2021 Digital Season stream of Anima Animus was captured on April 25, 2018 and includes former principal dancers Maria Kochetkova, Sofiane Sylve, and Carlo Di Lanno, and current principal dancers Luke Ingham and Wei Wang among its cast of ten.

 

Tickets to Program 05 are available now as single stream tickets for $29, or within the Premium Plus Digital Package, which offers unlimited viewing of the remaining programs in the 2021 Digital Season, in addition to exclusive bonus content, for $289. Tickets and packages may be purchased online at www.sfballet.org. Click here to view digital viewing tips.

 

PRODUCTION CREDITS

I. 7 for Eight
Captured on Saturday, January 30, 2016

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson
Costume Design: Sandra Woodall
Lighting Design: David Finn
Rehearsal Assistant: Anita Paciotti

World Premiere: February 26, 2004—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

 

II. Snowblind
Captured on Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Composers: Amy Beach, Philip Feeney, Arthur Foote, and Arvo Pärt
Music arranged by: Philip Feeney
Choreographer: Cathy Marston
Scenic and Costume Design: Patrick Kinmonth
Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls
Assistant to the Choreographer: Jenny Tattersall
Rehearsal Assistant: Anita Paciotti

Adaptation of Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome by Cathy Marston and Patrick Kinmonth

World Premiere: April 21, 2018—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

 

III. Anima Animus
Captured on Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Composer: Ezio Bosso
Choreographer: David Dawson
Scenic Design: John Otto
Costume Design: Yumiko Takeshima
Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls
Assistant to the Choreographer: Rebecca Gladstone
Rehearsal Assistant: Felipe Diaz

World Premiere: April 21, 2018—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

 

ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO BALLET
San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.

SF Ballet Announces Digital Season in 2021

San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) announces details for two world premieres of its groundbreaking 2021 Digital Season: a new ballet by Myles Thatcher and Wooden Dimes by Danielle Rowe, opening February 11 and March 4, respectively, during Programs 02 and 03. Each premiere has been filmed under strict safety protocols in compliance with the San Francisco Department of Public Health guidelines, which protect artists, production crews, and the greater public. Single program stream access and the Premium Plus Digital Package are on sale now. Full ticketing and calendar information is listed below, and casting can be found on SF Ballet’s website.

Streaming during Program 02 (February 11– March 3) of the 2021 Digital Season, Myles Thatcher’s new ballet is set in San Francisco locations including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Heroes Grove at Golden Gate Park, Yerba Buena Gardens, and the stage of the War Memorial Opera House, SF Ballet’s performance home. Thatcher’s work emphasizes saturated colors in its design and explores parallels between consuming art—as one might at an art museum—and creating it. “First and foremost, I want this piece to embody the joy that art of all kinds has afforded me in my life,” says Thatcher. “Yes, it has brought much needed beauty through this especially challenging year. But more importantly, art allows me to get a glimpse of someone else’s perspective. It allows me to see through another person’s eyes and walk in another person’s shoes. Art has a unique way of showing us that through all our beautiful differences, we still may share common truths. And ultimately, it teaches us empathy, one of the greatest gifts we can share.” Thatcher’s world premiere ballet is his fourth repertory season creation for the company. Thatcher is also a soloist with SF Ballet. His new ballet is set to Steve Reich’s Variations for Vibes, Pianos, and Strings and is directed for film by Ezra Hurwitz, with costume designs by Susan Roemer, and lighting design by Jim French. Click here to watch the first episode of a video series following Thatcher’s creative process.

Thatcher’s new ballet will stream on Program 02 (February 11—March 4) alongside archival captures of Dwight Rhoden’s LET’S BEGIN AT THE END and Mark Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet. Created for Unbound: A Festival of New Works in 2018, Rhoden’s LET’S BEGIN AT THE END is set to music by J. S. Bach, Philip Glass, and Michael Nyman and was noted for its “off-kilter moves, spinning promenades in arabesque and consistent drive” (Bachtrack) at its premiere. LET’S BEGIN AT THE END was the first work created for SF Ballet by Rhoden, who is co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Mark Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet, created in 1999 with costumes by Isaac Mizrahi, is a rare work in the repertory that sets neoclassical ballet to “funny” music—in this case, nostalgic pop-orchestral tunes by Leroy Anderson: “Sleigh Ride,” “Fiddle-Faddle,” “The Typewriter,” and more. “I didn’t trust ballet orchestras,” the choreographer writes in Out Loud, his memoir written in collaboration with Wesley Stace. “It turned out that the San Francisco Ballet orchestra was very good.” It was then Morris’ “apology and joke” to set the ballet, his second work for the Company, to Anderson’s novelty tunes. Sandpaper Ballet is one of seven ballets that Morris has created for SF Ballet.

Danielle Rowe’s Wooden Dimes premieres on Program 03 (March 4–24). Filmed at the War Memorial Opera House, Wooden Dimes is Rowe’s first ballet created for SF Ballet’s repertory season. “My appreciation for the art of filmmaking has developed tremendously throughout the creation of Wooden Dimes,” says Rowe, who also directs the film. “I adore the necessity and value given to details, the ability to transform a moment and play in post-production, and the attention and forward thinking required to piece a story together cohesively.” The ballet’s rehearsal process involved Director of Photography Heath Orchardworking both in person and remotely over Zoom, and remote collaboration with costume designer Emma Kingsbury, lighting designers Jim French and Matthew Stouppe, and composer James M. Stephenson, who has created an original score for the ballet. The ballet’s title alludes to the American idiom, “don’t take wooden nickels,” a warning to protect oneself from swindling and manipulation. Set in the roaring ‘20s with art deco stylings, Wooden Dimes follows two characters, Betty and Robert Fine, whose love becomes jeopardized as Betty soars to stardom. Click here to see an interview with Rowe about her creative process.

Wooden Dimes will stream alongside archival captures of Alexei Ratmansky’s Symphony #9and Yuri Possokhov’s Swimmer on Program 03 (March 4—24). Ratmansky’s Symphony #9from Shostakovich Trilogy, co-commissioned by SF Ballet, premiered in 2012 at American Ballet Theatre and is set to Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 in E-flat major, opus 70. Drawing on ideas and themes from Shostakovich’s life, Symphony #9 features two leading couples and a soloist man who suggests the character of the Soviet composer. The ballet includes scenic designs by George Tsypin and costume designs by Keso Dekker. Program 03 closes with SF Ballet’s Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov’s Swimmer, a smash hit at its premiere in 2015. Swimmer is set to music by SF Ballet Orchestra double bassist Shinji Eshima, who incorporates recorded songs by Tom Waits and others into his score. Inspired by John Cheever’s short story of the same name from 1964, Swimmer includes animated projections by Kate Duhamel, costumes by Mark Zappone, and scenic design by Alexander V. Nichols.

TICKETS

The Premium Plus Digital Package, which offers access to all seven programs in the 2021 Digital Season in addition to bonus content, is priced at $289 and is on sale until April. Single program streams are on sale now and priced at $29 for 72-hour access. Tickets and packages may be purchased online at sfballet.org. For more information, call Ticket Services at 415-865-2000, Monday through Friday from 10 am to 8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 8 pm. Click here to view digital viewing tips.

CALENDAR AND CREDIT INFORMATION 

LET’S BEGIN AT THE END

Archival capture from Saturday, May 5, 2018

Composers: Johann Sebastian Bach, Philip Glass, and Michael Nyman
Choreographer: Dwight Rhoden
Scenic Design: Alexander V. Nichols
Costume Design: Christine Darch
Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls
Assistant to the Choreographer: Clifford Williams
Rehearsal Assistant: Ricardo Bustamante

World Premiere: April 26, 2018—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

Myles Thatcher World Premiere

Composer: Steve Reich
Choreographer: Myles Thatcher
Director: Ezra Hurwitz
Costume Design: Susan Roemer
Lighting Design: Jim French
Director of Photography: Ricardo Campos
Editor: Ezra Hurwitz
Executive Producer: Christopher Dennis
Producers: Lauren Finerman and Lindsay Gauthier
Rehearsal Assistant: Katita Waldo

World Premiere: February 11, 2021—San Francisco Ballet

The 2021 world premiere by Myles Thatcher is made possible by Lead Sponsor Mary Jo and Dick Kovacevich; Major Sponsors Brenda and Alexander Leff, and Mrs. Joyce L. Stupski; and Sponsor Kacie and Michael Renc, with additional support from the TeRoller Fund for New Productions of the SF Ballet Endowment Foundation.

Sandpaper Ballet

Archival capture from Sunday, February 16, 2020

Composer: Leroy Anderson
Choreographer: Mark Morris
Staged by: Tina Fehlandt
Costume Design: Isaac Mizrahi
Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls
Rehearsal Assistants: Betsy Erickson and Tina LeBlanc

World Premiere: April 27, 1999—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

Symphony #9

Archival capture from Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky
Staged by: Nancy Raffa
Scenic Design: George Tsypin
Costume Design: Keso Dekker
Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton
Rehearsal Assistants: Ricardo Bustamante, Katita Waldo

Shostakovich Trilogy was co-commissioned by San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.

World Premiere: October 18, 2012—American Ballet Theatre, New York City Center; New York, New York

San Francisco Ballet Premiere: April 2, 2014—War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

Wooden Dimes (World Premiere)

Composer: James M. Stephenson
Director and Choreographer: Danielle Rowe
Costume Design: Emma Kingsbury
Scenic Properties Design: Alexander V. Nichols
Lighting Design: Jim French and Matthew Stouppe
Director of Photography: Heath Orchard
Editor: Lindsay Gauthier
Executive Producer: Christopher Dennis
Producers: Lauren Finerman and Lindsay Gauthier
Rehearsal Assistant: Felipe Diaz

World Premiere: March 4, 2021—San Francisco Ballet

The 2021 world premiere of Wooden Dimes is made possible by Grand Benefactor Sponsor Margaret and Will Hearst; Lead Sponsors Beth and Brian Grossman, Kelsey and David Lamond, and Catherine and Mark Slavonia; and Sponsors Karen S. Bergman, Brian and Rene Hollins, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Smelick, with additional support from the Osher New Work Fund of the SF Ballet Endowment Foundation. 

Swimmer

Archival capture from Sunday, March 20, 2016

Composers: Shinji Eshima, Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan, and Gavin Bryars
Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov
Scenic Design: Alexander V. Nichols
Costume Design: Mark Zappone
Lighting Design: David Finn
Video Design: Kate Duhamel
Rehearsal Assistant: Anita Paciotti

World Premiere: April 10, 2015—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

ABOUT MYLES THATCHER

Myles Thatcher is a dancer with San Francisco Ballet and a choreographer. After training at The Harid Conservatory, Ellison Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet School, he joined SF Ballet in 2010. As a dancer, he has performed principal or featured roles in many classical and contemporary ballets, including Lensky in Onegin, and Paris in the 2015 film of Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet for Lincoln Center at the Movies’ Great American Dance. Thatcher began choreographing while a Trainee at SF Ballet School and has created five works for the School. His In the Passerine’s Clutch premiered at SF Ballet’s 2013 Repertory Season Gala; followed by Manifesto, which premiered as part of the 2015 Repertory Season; Ghost in the Machine, which premiered as part of the 2017 Repertory Season; and Otherness, which premiered during 2018 Unbound: A Festival of New Works. In 2015, Thatcher also created Passengers for The Joffrey Ballet, Polaris for New York City Ballet, and Body of Your Dreams for the Rolex Arts Weekend in Mexico City. In 2018, Thatcher’sRedbird premiered at Charlotte Ballet, and in 2020, his dance film Frontiers debuted at My Light Shines On: An Evening with Scottish Ballet. He has also choreographed for Cincinnati Ballet and Kansas City Ballet. Thatcher was selected by Alexei Ratmansky to participate in the 2014–15 Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative. He has been nominated for Isadora Duncan Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for Manifesto and Ghost in the Machine.

ABOUT DANIELLE ROWE

Choreographer Danielle Rowe danced with Australian Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Nederlands Dans Theater. She originated roles in creations by Lightfoot/Leon, Wheeldon, McGregor, Ekman, Pite, and Goecke, and performed the title roles in Giselle, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. Rowe has created works for San Francisco Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater’s SWITCH program, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Co.Lab Dance, Ballet Idaho, Grand Rapids Ballet, SFDanceworks, Diablo Ballet, Oakland Ballet, and Berkeley Ballet Theater. She also choreographed for the award-winning dance film Sirens Tango(featuring SF Ballet Principal Dancers Sasha de Sola and Luke Ingham), and the cross-disciplinary immersive theater productions of FURY (a collaboration between SF Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and indie-pop band YASSOU) and Before You Had A Name (a collaboration between Barak Ballet, SF Ballet Principal Dancer Sarah Van Patten, violinist Heather Powell, and multi-media artist Alisa Lapidus). During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rowe has pivoted to filmmaking, creating Shelter with Garen Scribner and Alexander Reneff-Olson; Wilis in Corps-en-tine and I Am Spartacus with Scribner (The Australian Ballet); and The Animals (Ballet Idaho). The films garnered positive attention from Vogue, The New Yorker, The Guardian, and Dance Magazine.

ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO BALLET

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.

CONNECT WITH SAN FRANCISCO BALLET

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*Photo: Sarah Van Patten in Danielle Rowe’s “Wooden Dimes”. By Lindsay Gauthier*

Illustration for 360 Magazine by Rita Azar

San Francisco Ballet Virtual Benefit

San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) announces details for its first-ever virtual benefit, Leap Into the New Year, to be held online via Socio on Thursday, January 14, 2021 to mark the opening of SF Ballet’s historic 88th Digital Season.

With a performance curated by Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, the event includes delivered items, such as a meal, caviar, and gifts provided by McCalls Catering & Events; and wine provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards. The evening’s programming includes the SF Ballet performance debut of two of the Company’s new Principal Dancers, Nikisha Fogo and Julian MacKay, in the Act III pas de deux from Don Quixote, and an excerpt from a new work by Helgi Tomasson created on members of SF Ballet’s corps de ballet—click here to see a video about this work.

Leap Into the New Year also includes a newly produced prelude to Mrs. Robinson by Cathy Marston, featuring Principal Dancers Sarah Van Patten and Joseph Walsh, and excerpts from the Digital Season’s additional world premieres, Wooden Dimes by Danielle Rowe and a new work by Myles Thatcher. Complete programming and casting are included at the bottom of this release.

Proceeds from Leap Into the New Year will benefit a wide range of SF Ballet artistic initiatives, including new works, accessible digital content, scholarships and financial aid programs for San Francisco Ballet School students, and community education programs for youth, families, and seniors. The event begins at 6 pm with access to private virtual tables; a wine education session with the event’s wine sponsor, Rodney Strong Vineyards; and behind-the-scenes content from rehearsals, followed by a 7 pm performance.

Ticket holders at the Artistic Director, Principal, Producer, and Soloist levels will enjoy VIP programming, including the pas de deux from William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, rehearsed by Forsythe on Soloist Sasha Mukhamedov and Principal Dancer Aaron Robison, and the White Swan Pas De Deux from Helgi Tomasson’s Swan Lake performed by Fogo and MacKay.

Under the direction of Music Director Martin West, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra recorded music for the event using approved safety protocols at Skywalker Studios, 25th Street Recording, and the SF Conservatory of Music, which was produced, engineered and mastered by Leslie Ann Jones.

The evening is hosted by SF Ballet Soloist Madison Keesler, who will be styled by Neiman Marcus. All table guests will enjoy a private, virtual meet-and-greet with a Company dancer during the event and will have access to a virtual social wall where they can share photography and messages with other benefit-goers. Artistic Director and Principal level table guests will also have the option to request an on-site, socially-distanced photo-op with Drew Altizer Photography.

Tickets to the event start at $3,000 for a pair of guests or $1,600 for a virtual table of four for ENCORE! members. Guests who wish to receive a meal, wine, and gifts delivered to their home day-of must RSVP by December 31, 2020. Reservations may be made online or by contacting Emma Lundberg, SF Ballet’s Special Events Manager, at elundberg@sfballet.org or 415.865.6629.

LEAP INTO THE NEW YEAR’S PERFORMANCE PROGRAM 

Premier Presenting Producer

Osterweis Capital Management 

Presenting Producers

Frederick and Shelby Gans

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Linnea and George Roberts

Denise Littlefield Sobel

Excerpt from new work by Helgi Tomasson 

Composer: Jean Phillippe Rameau

Artistic Director Sponsor: Dr. Sunnie Evers

Featuring: JULIA ROWE, LEILI RACKOW, BIANCA TEIXERIA, NATASHA SHEEHAN

DIEGO CRUZ, LUCAS ERNI, LUCA FERRÒ, LLEYTON HO

Dedicated To… by Yuri Possokhov

Composer: Victor Osadchev

Artistic Director Sponsor: Jennifer and Steven Walske

Featuring: YUAN YUAN TAN 

Excerpt from Wooden Dimes, Danielle Rowe’s world premiere

Composer: James M. Stephenson

Artistic Director Sponsor: Alison and Michael Mauzé

Featuring: LUKE INGHAM, DORES ANDRÉ, MAX CAUTHORN 

Pas de Deux from Coppélia by Arthur Saint-Léon

Composer: Léo Delibes

Artistic Director Sponsors: Richard C. Barker; Yurie and Carl Pascarella

Featuring: MISA KURANAGA, ANGELO GRECO 

Excerpt from Myles Thatcher’s world premiere

Composer: Steve Reich

Artistic Director Sponsor: Christine Russell and Mark Schlesinger

CASTING TO BE ANNOUNCED 

Short film of Mrs. Robinson world premiere by Cathy Marston

Composer: Terry Davies

Artistic Director Sponsor: Fang and Gary Bridge

Featuring: SARAH VAN PATTEN, JOSEPH WALSH, LUKE INGHAM 

Act III Pas de Deux from Don Quixote by Alexander Gorsky and Marius Petipa

Staging and Additional Choreography by Helgi Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov

Composer: Ludwig Minkus

Artistic Director Sponsor: Diane B. Wilsey

Featuring: NIKISHA FOGO, JULIAN MACKAY

Pas de Deux from In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated by William Forsythe (VIP ONLY)

Composer: Thom Willems

Artistic Director Sponsor: James C. Hormel and Michael P. N. Hormel

Featuring: SASHA MUKHAMEDOV, AARON ROBISON

White Swan Pas De Deux from Swan Lake by Helgi Tomasson (VIP ONLY)

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Featuring: NIKISHA FOGO, JULIAN MACKAY

ABOUT HELGI TOMASSON

Helgi Tomasson, one of the most venerated classical dancers of his generation, embarks on his 36th season with San Francisco Ballet in 2021. Born in Iceland, he danced with Harkness Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and New York City Ballet, where he distinguished himself as a dancer of technical purity, musicality, and intelligence. Tomasson assumed leadership of SF Ballet in 1985. Under his direction, SF Ballet has become a company widely recognized as one of the finest in the world.

Tomasson has balanced devotion to the classics with an emphasis on new works, cultivating frequent collaborations and commissions with choreographers such as William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Trey McIntyre, Cathy Marston, and Mark Morris, among many others. He has choreographed more than 50 works for the Company, including full-length productions of Swan LakeThe Sleeping BeautyRomeo & Juliet (taped for Lincoln Center at the Movies’ Great American Dance), Giselle, and Nutcracker (taped for PBS’s Great Performances).

He conceptualized the 1995 UNited We Dance festival, in which SF Ballet hosted 12 international companies; the 2008 New Works Festival, which included 10 world premieres by 10 acclaimed choreographers; and 2018 Unbound: A Festival of New Works. Tomasson has also connected SF Ballet to the world, through co-commissions with companies including American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, and Dutch National Ballet; and major tours to Paris, London, New York City, China, and his native Iceland. In 2020, Tomasson received the San Francisco Arts Medallion, created by the Museum of Performance + Design to recognize those individuals whose leadership, action, and generosity have benefited the cultural life of the San Francisco Bay Area.   

ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO BALLET

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia.

SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.

Ballerina illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

SF Ballet Release Film

San Francisco Ballet announces the premiere of Dance of Dreams, a new dance film directed by Benjamin Millepied, featuring San Francisco Ballet dancers performing choreography by Justin Peck, Dwight Rhoden, Janie Taylor, and Christopher Wheeldon. Filmed in iconic San Francisco locations including the Palace of Fine Arts and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the new six-minute film is set to “Scène D’Amour” by Bernard Hermann from Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock’s San Francisco–based thriller film from 1958, played by members of SF Ballet Orchestra. “The connection of this company to the people of San Francisco is so strong. It’s a die-hard audience,” says director Benjamin Millepied. “Dance of Dreams is a moment of dancing, a moment of reconnecting dancers to the city and the thing they love most.” Click here to see the film trailer. “Here in San Francisco, we’re still sheltering in place and I wanted to explore new work under these circumstances. Dance of Dreams celebrates San Francisco, while giving our dancers the freedom to move outdoors in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Bay Area, and with choreography by some of the finest choreographers of our time,” says SF Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson. “Benjamin [Millepied] felt like a natural fit to direct this project. I am thrilled to be able to work with him in a capacity that integrates his background in film and cinematography with dance.” 

Dance of Dreams offers a glimpse of San Francisco as the city enters its fifth month of shelter-in-place restrictions. The film is choreographed for six dancers, including solos for Principal Dancers Joseph Walsh and Frances Chung, choreographed by Peck and Taylor, respectively; and pas de deux for Soloists Ellen Rose Hummel and Daniel Deivison-Oliveira, choreographed by Rhoden, and Soloist Madison Keesler and Principal Dancer Benjamin Freemantle, choreographed by Wheeldon. SF Ballet Orchestra Music Director Martin West mixed and mastered the recording, which incorporates more than 150 tracks recorded remotely by more than 60 musicians from the Orchestra. With this project, the Company enters an era of unprecedented digital engagement via uncharted territories, grappling with what is lost while ushering in new future possibilities. Millepied and all of the choreographers generously donated their time, working remotely from their respective locales.

The film begins with Joseph Walsh on the grounds of the iconic San Francisco Art Institute in movements that suggest a yearning for what the past and future hold: community, connection, and love. Shifting to an evening scene beside the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s foggy weather greets Hummel and Deivison-Oliveira, leading to Chung in solitude against the rugged shores of Sausalito. Among the swells and sonorities of Hermann’s “Scène D’Amour,” the film ends at the Palace of Fine Arts, a location featured in the film Vertigo. Keesler and Freemantle offer a closing pas de deux—an ode to perseverance through challenging times.

Social distancing rules were observed during the filming process, and the pas de deux are danced by dancers who have been sheltered in place together. Dance of Dreams will be available to the public at 12 noon U.S. PDT on August 13, 2020 on SF Ballet @ Home, YouTube, Facebook, and IGTV.

Millepied and Tomasson’s professional relationship began two decades ago at New York City Ballet (NYCB), when Millepied danced a principal role in Tomasson’s Prism as part of NYCB’s 2000 Diamond Project IV. Millepied began choreographing while at New York City Ballet and created his first work for SF Ballet—set to John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances”—in 2017. He is now Artistic Director of L.A. Dance Project, and his career has expanded to include filmmaking; he founded The Amoveo Company, a multimedia production company, in 2012. For Dance of Dreams, Millepied selected the music and settings; Tomasson invited the participation of the four choreographers whose work the film features.

Director Benjamin Millepied is a choreographer, filmmaker, and artistic director distinguished by his career as a dancer at New York City Ballet and his growing body of creative work. Born in Bordeaux, France, Millepied trained with his mother, Catherine Flori; at the Conservatoire National de Lyon; and at the School of American Ballet before becoming a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. His choreography is performed by New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Berlin Staatsoper, Mariinsky Ballet, among many others, and was featured in Darren Aronofsky’s award-winning film Black Swan, in which he also starred. Millepied founded the L.A. Dance Project in 2012. In 2013, he was appointed director of Paris Opera Ballet, where he was the subject of the documentary film Reset. He returned to Los Angeles in 2016 to focus on L.A. Dance Project and his own choreography and filmmaking. Among many awards and honors, Millepied was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. 

Choreographer Justin Peck is Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor with New York City Ballet (NYCB). Peck joined NYCB in 2006 and was promoted to Soloist in 2013. He began choreographing in 2009 at the New York Choreographic Institute. In 2014, after the creation of Everywhere We Go, Peck was appointed Resident Choreographer of NYCB. He also served as a member of NYCB’s interim artistic team from December 2017 until his appointment as Artistic Advisor in February 2019. He has created more than 30 ballets, which have been performed by Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, Dutch National Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet. In 2014, Peck was the subject of the documentary Ballet 422, which followed him as he created Paz de la Jolla, NYCB’s 422nd original dance. Peck choreographed the 2018 Broadway revival of Carousel, for which he was awarded the 2018 Tony Award for Best Choreography. In addition, Peck choreographed the feature film Red Sparrow, and will be creating new choreography for the upcoming film remake of West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg. His Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes won the Bessie Award for Outstanding Production in 2015. Peck created his first work for SF Ballet, In the Countenance of Kings, in 2017. His second work for the Company—Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming—was created for the 2018 Unbound: A.

Choreographer Dwight Rhoden is founding artistic director and resident choreographer of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Born in Dayton, Ohio, he performed with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballets Jazz De Montréal, and as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has choreographed for New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, BalletMet, Colorado Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, The Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadanco, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, The Washington Ballet, Ballet Nice Mediterranean, Rome Opera Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet, among others. Rhoden has directed and choreographed for television, film, and theater, including So You Think You Can Dance, Cirque du Soleil, world tours for Prince and Lenny Kravitz, and the feature film One Last Dance. Rhoden was nominated for a Benois de la Danse Award for his The Great Gatsby for the Mariinsky Ballet. He’s been an artist in residence at USC Kaufman, Boston Conservatory, The Juilliard School, New York University, and Southern Methodist University. Honors include a New York Foundation for the Arts award, induction in the NYFA Hall of Fame, the Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography, and an Honorary Doctorate from Boston Conservatory. Rhoden created LET’S BEGIN AT THE END, his first work for SF Ballet, for Unbound: A Festival of New Works in 2018.

Choreographer Janie Taylor is a dancer and stager with L.A. Dance Project and a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Born in Houston, she trained in Texas and Louisiana before attending the School of American Ballet in New York, where she received the Mae L. Wien Award. She joined New York City Ballet in 1998, and was promoted to soloist in 2001 and principal dancer in 2005. Taylor appeared in the 2000 feature film Center Stage. Since retiring from the New York City Ballet in 2014, she has staged ballets on companies around the world. She has also started a career in design, creating costumes for New York City Ballet and L.A. Dance Project. In 2016, she joined L.A. Dance Project as a dancer and rehearsal director. 

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, OBE, trained at The Royal Ballet School and danced with The Royal Ballet and New York City Ballet (NYCB). Wheeldon was named NYCB’s first resident choreographer in 2001 and has since created works for many of the world’s major ballet companies. He founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company in 2007. Wheeldon now serves as artistic associate of The Royal Ballet, where choreography credits include Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Winter’s Tale. He choreographed Dance of the Hours for Ponchielli’s La Gioconda and Richard Eyre’s Carmen for the Metropolitan Opera, as well as a special excerpt for the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony, ballet sequences for the film Center Stage, and the Broadway musical Sweet Smell of Success. In 2014, Wheeldon directed and choreographed the musical An American in Paris, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Choreography and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography and Direction. Other recent credits include a reimagination of The Nutcracker for The Joffrey Ballet, a gala presentation of Lerner & Loewe’s Brigadoon starring Kelli O’Hara and Patrick Wilson at New York City Center, the premiere of Corybantic Games with The Royal Ballet, and productions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Tokyo, The Winter’s Tale with The Bolshoi Ballet, and a re-staged version of Cinderella for the English National Ballet at The Royal Albert Hall. Among Wheeldon’s awards are two Olivier awards for Aeternum and Polyphonia, and two Benois de la Danse awards for Cinderella and The Winter’s Tale, as well as the Martin E. Segal Award, American Choreography Award, a Dance Magazine Award, multiple London Critics’ Circle Awards, and the Léonide Massine Prize for new choreography. In 2016, Wheeldon was named an OBE and made an Honorary Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.

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San Francisco Ballet Streams Online

On June 30, San Francisco Ballet will stream its 2020 Opening Night Gala program – SPELLBOUND – to mark the end of a season that started with great hope and was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is being presented as a heartfelt message of appreciation to the nearly 3,000 San Francisco Ballet Critical Relief Fund donors, as well as annual fund supporters, and patrons who generously donated back their unused 2020 Season tickets. The stream will be available from 10 am until midnight U.S. Pacific Daylight Time on June 30 on SF Ballet @ Home, YouTube, Facebook, and IGTV. Viewers will also be able to contribute to the SF Ballet Critical Relief Fund and have their gift matched by a generous $1 million challenge grant put forward by the SF Ballet’s Board of Trustees.

A special intermission presentation featuring a new work created on Principal Dancer Yuan Yuan Tan will highlight the program. The 2020 Season marks the 25th anniversary season of Tan’s remarkable tenure with the Company. The piece, by SF Ballet’s Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov, is a tribute to Yuan Yuan Tan’s mother.

“Throughout all of my years working with Yuan Yuan as both a dancer and a choreographer, I’ve always admired the support of her parents,” says Possokhov. “First hearing stories from her childhood, then later meeting them and watching as they stood by her side at every performance and milestone, I realized what an integral role they played in the progression of her incredibly successful career as a ballerina. In choreographing this piece, I wanted to honor Yuan Yuan’s mother, so we can appreciate the steadfast dedication to her daughter’s journey. During the process, the movements evoked emotions and memories of my own mother, who also firmly stood by my side throughout my life.”

Held on January 16, 2020, the Gala’s twelve pieces include the world premiere performances of Val Caniparoli’s Foreshadow and Myles Thatcher’s 05:49, in addition to the SF Ballet premiere of the pas de deux from David Dawson’s Swan Lake (featuring departing Principal Dancers Sofiane Sylve and Carlo Di Lanno) and the SF Ballet premiere of Danielle Rowe’s For Pixie. Other highlights include Principal Dancer Esteban Hernandez and newly promoted Principal Dancer Max Cauthorn in Bournonville’s “Jockey Dance,” and newly promoted Principal Dancer Wona Park with Principal Dancer Wei Wang in Victor Gsovsky’s Grand Pas Classique. Tan is also highlighted alongside Vitor Luiz, in his final performance as a principal dancer with SF Ballet, in a pas de deux from Yuri Possokhov’s Bells. Osterweis Capital Management was the Presenting Sponsor of the Gala. Full programming is listed below.

SF Ballet @ Home is made possible through the generosity it has received from the community through the Critical Relief Fund. The recordings are produced under agreements with the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, American Guild of Musical Artists, American Federation of Musicians, and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

About Yuan Yuan Tan

Yuan Yuan Tan’s remarkable 25-year career at SF Ballet has created not only some of the most prominent principal roles in the field of ballet, but also a path for her significant contribution to bridging the world of dance globally. Tan’s remarkable artistry and the inspiration she imparts on future generations of aspiring female performing artists continue to define the role of a prima ballerina today, reaching political and social realms. Nominated by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Mayor Mark Farrell noted April 9, 2018 as “Yuan Yuan Tan Day” for the people of San Francisco and awarded her the year’s San Francisco Mayor Art Award. He said: “Her grace, skill, versatility and strength have helped her become the first Chinese prima ballerina in the United States and one of the greatest Chinese ballerinas of all time. She has gracefully served as cultural ambassador for San Francisco and the United States. We are immensely grateful for her contributions to our city’s cultural history.” Chelsea Clinton featured Tan in her 2018 children’s book She Persisted Around the World, alongside other female leaders in science, the arts, sports, and activism who are role models in their determination to break barriers and change the status quo.

Helgi Tomasson first noticed Yuan Yuan Tan at the Fifth International Ballet competition in Paris in 1992, where she took the gold medal in the junior division. She won the gold medal and the Nijinsky Award at the 1st Japan International Ballet and Modern Dance Competition the following year. Tan was invited by Tomasson to join SF Ballet in 1995 as soloist, and two years later was promoted to principal dancer, making her the youngest principal dancer in SF Ballet history at the time. Over the course of Tan’s exceptional 25-year career at SF Ballet, she has danced a remarkable repertory traversing works of preeminent choreographers including Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, and Jerome Robbins; and has created leading principal roles including Helgi Tomasson’s 7 for Eight, Chi-Lin, and The Fifth Season; William Forsythe’s Pas/Parts 2016; Edwaard Liang’s The Infinite Ocean and Symphonic Dances; Mark Morris’ Sylvia; Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU, Firebird, and Diving Into the Lilacs; Liam Scarlett’s Fearful Symmetries and Hummingbird; and Christopher Wheeldon’s Bound To, Continuum, Ghosts, Number Nine, and Quaternary. Yuan Yuan Tan was featured as Queen of the Snow in the 2008 PBS Great Performances broadcast of Tomasson’s Nutcracker, co-produced by SF Ballet and KQED Public Television San Francisco, in association with thirteen/WNET New York.

Arguably the most notable ambassador to bridge dance between China and the United States, Tan facilitated SF Ballet’s historic first-ever tour to China in 2008 and still performs several times a year in her native country where she also frequently participates in teaching workshops, competitions, and other community programs to nurture new generations. Tan was the first Asian dancer appearing in the World Star Show in Prague. Her appearance on TEDxShanghai in 2016 titled “My Life as a Ballerina” was critically received and garnered her the reputation as the “irreplaceable pride of China on the global stage.” In 2004, Tan was featured on a cover of Time as a “Hero of Asia”; named one of the world’s most influential Chinese for her contribution to the arts by Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV in 2015; was honored with “You Bring Charm to the World” award from HKSTV in 2017; and in 2018, appeared on the Chinese cultural program The Reader.

Programming Details

Men’s Regiment from Stars & Stripes

Composer: John Philip Sousa, arranged by Hershy Kay

Choreographer: George Balanchine

Foreshadow (World Premiere)

Composer: Ludovico Einaudi

Choreographer: Val Caniparoli

Pas de Deux from Swan Lake (SF Ballet Premiere)

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreographer: David Dawson

“Jockey Dance” from From Siberia To Moscow (SF Ballet Premiere)

Composer: Carl Christian Møller

Choreographer: August Bournonville

For Pixie (SF Ballet Premiere)

Composer: Nina Simone

Choreographer: Danielle Rowe

Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire

Composer: Riccardo Drigo

Choreography: after Marius Petipa

Intermission Performance

Dedicated to… (World Premiere, June 30, 2020)

Director and Director of Photography: Erik Tomasson

Composer: Victor Osadchev

Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov

Editor: Hidetoshi Oneda

Costume Design: Original costumes for Yuri Possokhov’s Carmen, designed by Mark Zappone

Music: Victor Osadchev

Balcony Pas de Deux from Romeo & Juliet

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev

Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson

05:49 (World Premiere)

Composers: Ivan Pavlov and Annie Bandez

Choreographer: Myles Thatcher

Grand Pas Classique

Composer: D. F. E. Auber

Choreography: Victor Gsovsky

Pas de Deux from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Composers: Anthony Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez, and Justin Meldal-Johnsen

Choreographer: Justin Peck

Pas de Deux from Bells

Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff

Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov

Finale from Diamonds

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Choreographer: George Balanchine

About San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.

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YAGP COMPETITION

Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) – the world’s largest ballet scholarship organization – presents YAGP’s Pas de Deux Virtual Competition. Over 12,000 aspiring dancers – ages 9 to 19 – danced at YAGP’s 2020 regional auditions around the globe; 34 cities in 14 countries. The three highest-ranked Pas de Deux performances from each location will be showcased on YAGP’s social media channels Friday, June 26th through Sunday, June 28th. Internationally recognized members of the dance world – including Cynthia Harvey (ABT JKO School), Peter Stark (Boston Ballet II), and Amanda Bennet (Basel Theater) – will be watching and judging each variation. On Wednesday, July 1st these judges will announce the winners! In addition, each participant will be automatically reviewed for scholarships, job offers, and placements to the schools and companies represented on the jury.

Students will be representing schools in California, Indianapolis, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Arizona, Massachusetts, Missouri, District of Columbia, North Carolina, Colorado, Michigan, Texas, Washington, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, as well as Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary in Canada and countries Spain, Romania, Portugal, Italy, and Russia.

The Judges
Contemporary Category

Matthew Dibble – Repetiteur and Dancer, Twyla Tharp Dance

Karine Plantadit – Tony Award-nominated Dancer/Actress; Former dancer at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

John Selya – Former Dancer, Twyla Tharp Dance

Ashleigh Wilson – Former Soloist, SemperOper Dresden

Classical Category
Natalia Bashkatova – Former Principal Dancer, Bolshoi Theater; Performer, Cirque du Soleil

Amanda Bennett – Artistic Director, Ballet School of the Basel Theater

Cynthia Harvey – Artistic Director, American Ballet Theater, JKO School

Deborah Hess – Senior Faculty Member, Canada’s National Ballet School

Oliver Matz – Director, Zurich Dance Academy

Pascal Molat – Trainee Program Assistant, San Francisco Ballet School

Robert Parker – Artistic Director, Elmhurst Ballet School

Peter Stark – Associate Director Boston Ballet II and Head of the Men’s Program, Boston Ballet Academy

Dates

Contemporary Pas de Deux will be Friday, June 26 at 6 PM EST

Classical Pas de Deux Group 1 will be Saturday, June 27 at 6 PM EST

Classical Pas de Deux Group 2 will be Sunday, June 28 at 6 PM EST

To support dancers while they are staying at home, YAGP has also launched a new Virtual Scholarship Program and Free Online Classes. Every dancer who placed in the top 12, Classical Category, during the 2020 YAGP Semi-Finals was eligible to apply for scholarships to top dance institutions through YAGP.  For the first time in history, 18 of the world’s major dance schools awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to 105 talented young dancers from 21 countries; 6 dancers were offered company trainee positions, 1 received a 2nd company professional contract – and it all happened online! With YAGP’s extensive global repertoire of alumni and affiliated dance professionals, free online classes are available for all dancers of any level. Teachers include Luca Masala (Artistic Director of Monaco’s Princess Grace Academy), Sasha De Sola (YAGP Alumna and Principal Dancer at San Francisco Ballet), Maria Khoreva (Mariinsky Ballet), Kathryn Morgan (Miami City Ballet), Skylar Brandt (American Ballet Theatre), Peter Stark (Boston Ballet), Oliver Matz (Zurich Dance Academy), Jason Beechey (Palucca School Dresden), and TONY-nominated Broadway performer Karine Plantadit (YAGP Judge and Emcee, former dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) teaching a special class on the Horton technique for ballet dancers. As the YAGP community practices social distancing, its social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube) are providing these daily classes at 12 pm EST, which will remain available on each channel permanently.

The Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) is the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition, and global dance network; connecting students, teachers, schools, companies, sponsors, dancers, choreographers, and audiences worldwide. Over 12,000 young dancers from more than 40 countries participate in YAGP’s competition, master classes, and educational events each season. Over the past 20 years, YAGP has facilitated more than $4 Million in scholarships to the world’s leading dance institutions. Over 450 YAGP alumni are currently dancing in 80 of the world’s leading dance companies, including American Ballet Theatre, Dutch National Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet, ParisOpera Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, and many more. More information, at WWW.YAGP.ORG.