Meet the Artist Interviews (MTAs) spotlight the specific San Francisco Ballet repertory program to be performed that afternoon/evening. These informative talks feature Company dancers, guest artists, choreographers, and conductors in conversation with a moderator.
The information, views and opinions expressed in podcasts are strictly those of the participants and do not represent directly or imply any official position of San Francisco Ballet Association.
See the pre-performance Meet the Artist Interview schedule for upcoming discussion dates.
Cheryl A. Ossola, SF Ballet writer and Dance Studio Life magazine editor in chief, interviews Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson.
Helgi Tomasson created his production of Giselle in 1999, basing on the historic Petipa production. He discusses his personal history with the ballet, from the four productions in which he danced the role of Albrecht to his own approach, influenced by his work with Anton Dolin. Also touched on: his work as a choreographer and role as artistic director.Running time: 31 minutes
Claire Sheridan, Founder of the LEAP Program at Saint Mary's College, interviews San Francisco Ballet soloist Jennifer Stahl.
Soloist Jennifer Stahl discusses the magic of the ballet Giselle. She talks about the art of dancing in the corps as a wili, and offers her thoughts about performing the role of Myrtha. Jennifer also gives us some behind-the-scenes information about how ballerinas customize their pointe shoes.Running time: 25 minutes
Director of Education Charles McNeal interviews Principal Dancer Frances Chung.
Ms. Cheng talks about growing up and training in Canada before coming to San Francisco. She also discusses the motivations of the character of Myrtha in Swan Lake, while listeners also get an overview of significant ballets of the Romantic Period.Running time: 29 minutes
Cheryl A. Ossola, SF Ballet writer and Dance Studio Life magazine editor in chief, interviews Soloist Sasha De Sola.
Soloist Sasha De Sola talks about her love for the classics, the fine points of dancing Giselle’s Romantic style of classicism, and her surprise promotion to soloist in 2012 while on tour in London, the challenges of touring, her development as an artist, and her definition of “working smart,” her advice to young dancers.Running time: 30 minutes
Mary Wood interviews Lloyd Riggins, principal dancer and ballet master with the Hamburg Ballet.
Lloyd Riggins, principal dancer and ballet master with the Hamburg Ballet, related the journey of his career from its beginnings in Florida, USA, to Europe and eventually to the Hamburg Ballet, and he observed some differences in training and style between American and European companies. He explained choreographer John Neumeier’s thematic approach to telling the Midsummer Night’s Dream story, and how he used the classical Mendelssohn score to accompany the human characters, while using a contemporary score by Gyorgy Ligety to present the fairyland characters and a street organ for the “rustics”.Running time: 28 minutes
Cheryl A. Ossola, SF Ballet writer and Dance Studio Life magazine editor in chief, interviews Principal Dancer Yuan Yuan Tan.
At The Hamburg Ballet’s request during its run of John Neuemeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Principal Dancer Yuan Yuan Tan talks about her experiences working with artistic director Neumeier. Tan, who danced the title role in the U.S. premiere of Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, discusses her first exposure to Neumeier’s work as a young student; the process of learning, rehearsing, and performing The Little Mermaid; how the role changed her as an artist, and how it prepared her to perform other ballets by this highly theatrical choreographer.Running time: 30 minutes
Mary Wood interviews Principal Dancer Ruben Martin Cintas.
Principal dancer Ruben Martin Cintas entertained the audience in a wide-ranging conversation that included discussion of his long career as a dancer, his emerging career as a teacher, and his work with the company’s varied choreographers. He offered insights into the ballet Tears, created by Val Caniparoli, which received its world premiere that evening. He mentioned the excellent training in his own experience that has prepared him to teach his craft.Running time: 29 minutes
Mary Wood interviews Ballet Master Katita Waldo.
Ballet Master Katita Waldo described the preparation of The Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadère, Act II, and in particular, her work with the corps de ballet. She discussed the impact on both principals and corps of working with legendary ballerina, Natalia Makarova. She gave an animated description of being a member of the corps, from the exacting discipline required to the extraordinary sense of esprit that emerged through the process. She emphasized the challenges of working in the historic, classical idiom.Running time: 31 minutes
Cheryl A. Ossola, SF Ballet writer and Dance Studio Life magazine editor in chief, interviews Principal Dancer Pascal Molat.
During the run of Programs 2 and 3, Pascal Molat discusses dancing in Alexei Ratmansky’s From Foreign Lands, Wayne McGregor’s Borderlands, and Yuri Possohkov’s Firebird. Molat, who created roles in all three ballets, talks about the creative processes of these three very different choreographers, and his own approach to learning and refining a role—plus how he handles that big, slippery-looking egg in Firebird with Kaschei’s inches-long fingernails.Running time: 29 minutes
Cheryl A. Ossola, SF Ballet writer and Dance Studio Life magazine editor in chief, interviews Principal Dancer Lorena Feijoo.
Lorena Feijoo discusses her experiences in creating a principal role in Val Caniparoli’s world premiere Tears, including a collaborative rehearsal process that included improvisation and the challenges of working with Steve Reich’s minimalist music. Also discussed: the value of long-term working relationships between dancers and choreographers and Feijoo’s transition back to performing after the birth of her daughter.Running time: 31 minutes
Music Director and Principal Conductor Martin West introduces "Meet the Music and Musicians" - an exploration of Stravinsky's Firebird with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.Running time: 30 minutes
Mary Wood interviews Sarah Van Patten
Principal dancer Sarah Van Patten spoke about learning the lead role of Cinderella when choreographer Christopher Wheeldon created the work in 2012-13. Her long-time relationship with Wheeldon, appearing in virtually all of his works in the SF Ballet repertoire, added a special ease and depth to the process, and she elaborated on the style of movement to be expected from him. She compared dancing Cinderella to other principal roles she has interpreted, including her favorite, Juliet.Running time: 30 minutes
Artistic Administrator Caroline Giese interviews Production Director Christopher Dennis
Chris Dennis talks about the role of a production director and his work as a lighting designer, specifically for Helgi Tomasson’s new ballet Caprice. Chris gives insight into the design process of a new work and discusses the technical changes that are influencing the future of design. He was instrumental in the creation process of Cinderella – working closely with the design team in both San Francisco Ballet and Amsterdam.Running time: 26 minutes
Claire Sheridan, Founder of the LEAP Program at Saint Mary's College, interviews San Francisco Ballet soloist Dores Andre.
San Francisco Ballet soloist Dores Andre dances three different roles in the ballet Cinderella: the Stepsister Clementine, the Spirit of Spring, and the Spanish Princess. In this interview, she discusses how she portrays each of these characters and comments on the technique of physical comedy. Dores also talks about her early training in Spain with Lola de Avila and describes what it’s like to work with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.Running time: 24 minutes
Cheryl A. Ossola, SF Ballet writer and Dance Studio Life magazine editor in chief, interviews Wardrobe Manager George Elvin.
George Elvin has spent 37 years at San Francisco Ballet, working his way up from a dresser for Nutcracker. Now he manages the wardrobe department’s day-to-day operations of the, deals with the budget, oversees rentals, and handles the men’s costumes. In this interview, he talks about the costumes for Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, the logistics and challenges of costuming a production, and what it takes to go on tour with hundreds of costumes.Running time: 31 minutes
Music for 2011 Season podcasts by Jamie Narushchen