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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 415.865.6629.
LEAP INTO THE NEW YEAR’S PERFORMANCE PROGRAM
Premier Presenting Producer
Osterweis Capital Management
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 Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo & 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.