Press Releases

January 23, 2017

San Francisco Ballet's Artistic Director Announces: A Festival of 12 New Works by 12 Inspired Choreographers April 20 - May 6, 2018

Full Programming & Festival Details to be Announced in April 

SAN FRANCISCO, Monday, January 23, 2016—SF Ballet, long-recognized for pushing the boundaries of dance, today announced an ambitious new works festival which will feature 12 new works by 12 of the world’s most inspired choreographers. The festival, planned and conceived by SF Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson over the past year, will take place during the 2018 Season over four programs, from Friday, April 20 to May 6, 2018. Full festival details, including associated activities and events, will be made public in conjunction with the 2018 Season announcement in April 2017.

Participating choreographers include: David Dawson, Alonzo King, Edwaard Liang, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Cathy Marston, Trey McIntyre, Justin Peck, Arthur Pita, Yuri Possokhov, Dwight Rhoden, Stanton Welch, and Christopher Wheeldon.

“To ensure that ballet as an art form continues to evolve, we need to support and showcase choreographers who display ingenuity, passion for the art form, and fresh thinking—and who are willing to take risks,” said Tomasson. This festival will offer audiences a rare and unique opportunity to see where the work of some the most exciting choreographers of our time is headed. It’s a tremendous group of artists, and I think the future of ballet looks very bright.”

Images & Information
To access festival choreographer headshots, contact Erik Almlie at For more information, visit

San Francisco Ballet
As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet 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. San Francisco 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. For more information, visit

Choreographer Bios

David Dawson: David is an associate artist at Dutch National Ballet and a prolific dancemaker. A former resident choreographer at Dutch National Ballet, Semperoper Ballet, and Royal Ballet of Flanders, David has also choreographed for such companies as Boston Ballet, English National Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, and Vienna State Opera Ballet. Among his works are full-length productions of Tristan + Isolde, Swan Lake, and Giselle. Other significant works include A Million Kisses to My Skin, Empire Noir, The Human Seasons, The Third Light, Morning Ground, Citizen Nowhere, The Disappeared, A Sweet Spell of Oblivion, Faun(e), The World According to Us, Styx, dancingmadlybackwards, and timelapse/(Mnemosyne). For his ballet The Grey Area, David received the Prix Benois de la Danse Award and was nominated for the UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award. As the first British choreographer to choreograph for Mariinsky Ballet, he created the Golden Mask Award-winning Reverence. He received the Choo-San Goh Award for The Gentle Chapters and Golden Swan Award nominations for Overture and 00:00. David’s work for the 2018 Season is his first for SF Ballet.

Alonzo King: Alonzo has directed San Francisco-based Alonzo King LINES Ballet since 1982 and created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Frankfurt Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, and Royal Swedish Ballet, among other companies. Among his collaborators are musicians/composers Pharaoh Sanders, Zakir Hussain, Hamza El Din, Pawel Szymanski, Charles Lloyd, and Jason Moran. Alonzo’s training philosophy undergirds the programming at Alonzo King LINES Dance Center, which includes pre-professional training, and at Dominican University of California, a LINES-affiliated BFA program. Named a Master of Choreography by The Kennedy Center in 2005, Alonzo has received an NEA Choreographer’s Fellowship, a Jacob’s Pillow Creativity Award, the Irvine Fellowship in Dance, a Bessie Award, the Doris Duke Artist Award (for his contributions to contemporary dance), several Isadora Duncan awards, San Francisco Foundation’s Community Leadership Award, and the Excellence Award from KGO. Dance Heritage Coalition named him one of America’s “Irreplaceable Dance Treasures” and San Francisco Museum and Historical Society named him a “San Francisco Treasure.” Alonzo received honorary doctorates from Dominican University of California and CalArts.  Alonzo’s work for the 2018 Season is his first for SF Ballet.

Edwaard Liang: Edwaard, a former dancer with New York City Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater and artistic director at BalletMet since 2013, has an international reputation as a choreographer. His works are in the repertories of Bolshoi Ballet, Houston Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Shanghai Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, and The Washington Ballet. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Edwaard trained at Marin Ballet and the School of American Ballet. He joined New York City Ballet in 1993 and was promoted to soloist five years later. In 2001, he joined the cast of the Tony Award-winning Broadway show Fosse and performed in “From Broadway: Fosse” in the PBS television series Great Performances: Dance in America. Subsequently, he joined Nederlands Dans Theater.He was a medal winner at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition in 1993 and won the Mae L. Wien Award, given by the School of American Ballet, that same year. Since becoming a choreographer, he has won numerous awards for his work, including the 2006 National Choreographic Competition. Edwaard’s new work for the 2018 Season is his third for SF Ballet; he also created Symphonic Dances and Finding Light.

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa: Annabelle has created works for more than 40 companies worldwide. After training at Royal Ballet School of Flanders in Belgium, she danced for 12 years, including as a soloist at Scapino Ballet, before focusing her energy solely on choreography. In 2003 the newspaper NRC called her a “rising star of the Dutch dance scene,” and in 2007 she was invited to participate in New York City Ballet’s prestigious New York Choreographic Institute. Annabelle has choreographed for Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Cincinnati Ballet, Compañia Nacional de Danza, Dutch National Ballet, English National Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Scottish Ballet, and The Washington Ballet, among other companies. Among the honors her work has received, Broken Wings was named one of 2016’s best premieres by Dance Europe; Sombrerisimo received Cuba’s Villanueva Award in 2015; A Streetcar Named Desire won the Best Choreography (Classical) award from Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in 2012; and Replay won first prize at the Choreographers Competition in Bornem, Belgium, in 2002. Annabelle’s new work for the 2018 Season is her first for SF Ballet.

Cathy Marston: Cathy trained in Cambridge and at The Royal Ballet School before launching an international career that has spanned more than 20 years. A former artistic director and Clore Cultural Leadership Fellow, she has created 50-plus works that have been performed in 10 countries. As an associate artist at The Royal Opera House from 2002 to 2006, Cathy created a critically acclaimed interpretation of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts and a dance-opera, Echo and Narcissus, among other works. As director of Bern Ballett from 2007 to 2013, she developed a hybrid signature style, visible in her history-inspired Witch-hunt and her literature-based Ein Winternachtstraum, Juliet and Romeo, and Wuthering Heights. She brought new perspectives to old narratives in Three Sisters and Hamlet (for Ballett im Revier), Jane Eyre and A Tale of Two Cities (for Northern Ballet), Lolita (for Copenhagen Summer Ballet), and Blood Wedding for The Finnish National Ballet. In addition, Cathy has choreographed for the Royal Ballet, Danish Royal Ballet, Ballett Basel, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, English National Ballet, Ballett des Theater Koblenz, The Washington Ballet, Ballet Boyz, Graz Oper Ballett, Images of Dance, Ballet Central, The Royal Opera and Opera Australia among other companies. Cathy’s new work for the 2018 Season is her first for SF Ballet.

Trey McIntyre: Trey is a choreographer, filmmaker, writer, and photographer and has been a freelance choreographer for more than 25 years, creating works for American Ballet Theatre, BalletX, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, New York City Ballet, Queensland Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, and The Washington Ballet. He began his career serving for 13 years as choreographic associate to Houston Ballet. In 2005, Trey founded Trey McIntyre Project, a world-renowned dance company that has now broadened its focus to include artistic ventures such as the documentary film Gravity Hero. His photographs and dances have been featured in various magazines as well as The New York Times and The Washington Post, and the U.S. Forest Service commissioned him to create a series of photographs commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. He is working on two books of photography. Trey has received numerous awards, including a Choo-San Goh Award for choreography, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters, and two National Endowment for the Arts grants for choreography. He is a United States Artists Fellow. Trey’s new work for the 2018 Season is his second for the SF Ballet; his first was for the 2017 Opening Night Gala.

Justin Peck: Justin is the resident choreographer and soloist dancer with the New York City Ballet (NYCB). He began choreographing in 2009 at the New York Choreographic Institute.  In 2014, after the creation of his acclaimed Everywhere We Go, he was appointed as resident choreographer of NYCB. He is the second person in the institution’s history to hold this title. Justin has created over 10 ballets at New York City Ballet.  In addition, his work has been danced by Paris Opera Ballet, LA Dance Project, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Houston Ballet.  His collaborators include composers Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner (The National), Dan Deacon; visual artists Shepard Fairey, Marcel Dzama, Jules de Balincourt; and fashion designers Mary Katrantzou, Humberto Leon (Kenzo, Opening Ceremony), and Dries Van Noten.  In 2014, Justin was the subject of the documentary Ballet 422, which followed him for two months as he created NYCB’s 422nd original dance, Paz de la Jolla. In 2015, his ballet Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes won the Bessie Award for Outstanding Production. Justin’s new work for the 2018 Season is his second for SF Ballet; his first was In the Countenance of Kings.

Arthur Pita: Arthur is a London-based choreographer who often collaborates on theater, film, and opera productions. He studied dance in Johannesburg, South Africa, and at London contemporary Dance School, where he earned a master’s degree. His choreographic work includes The Ballad of Mack and Ginny for Edward Watson and Wendy Whelan; Run Mary Run for Natalia Osipova and Sergei Polunin; Facada (part of Solo for Two) for Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev; La Bala for Thiago Soares at Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro; Casse Noisette at Paris Opera Ballet; and The Little Match Girl at DanceEast. He collaborated on Les Liasions Dangereuses and Saint Joan at Donmar Warehouse; Mappa Mundi and Women Beware Women at Royal National Theatre; La Bohème and Show Boat at Royal Albert Hall; Carmen at The Royal Opera House; and The Winter’s Tale at Royal Shakespeare Company, among others. His film work includes Ex Machina and Sunshine on Leith. Among his honors are South Bank and National Dance Awards for The Metamorphosis, and Olivier Award nominations for The Metamorphosis and A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Arthur’s new work for the 2018 Season is his second for SF Ballet; his first was Salome, for the 2017 Season.

Yuri Possokhov: Yuri trained at Moscow Ballet School and was a principal dancer at Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, and SF Ballet before being named SF Ballet’s choreographer in residence in 2006. For SF Ballet, Yuri created Magrittomania (2000); Damned (2002); Don Quixote with Helgi Tomasson (2003), Study in Motion (2004); Reflections (2005); Firebird (2007); Bitter Tears, a collaboration with Muriel Maffre (2007); Fusion (2008); Diving into the Lilacs (2009); Classical Symphony (2010); Talk to Her (hable con ella) and RAkU (2011); Francesca da Rimini (2012); The Rite of Spring (2013); Swimmer (2015); and Optimistic Tragedy (2016). Other works include a piece for skaters Renée Roca and Gorsha Sur for “Stars on Ice” (2001); Firebird and La Valse (2004 and 2005, Oregon Ballet Theatre); Cinderella (2006, Bolshoi Ballet); Ballet Mori (2006, in collaboration with Maffre); Once More (2006, New Century Chamber Orchestra Gala); Sagalobeli (2008, The Georgia State Ballet); Bells and Don Quixote (2011, The Joffrey Ballet); A Hero of Our Time (2015, Bolshoi Ballet); and Cinderella (2016, Tivoli Ballet Theatre, Copenhagen). In 2001, Yuri received an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Choreography for Magrittomania. Yuri’s new work for the 2018 Season is his 17th for SF Ballet.

Dwight Rhoden: Dwight is founding artistic director and resident choreographer of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, where he has been choreographing for more than 23 years. As a dancer, he performed with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, and in television specials and documentaries. He has choreographed for such companies as 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, New York City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadanco, Mariinsky Ballet, Oakland Ballet, The Washington Ballet, and Zenon Dance Company. He has directed and choreographed for television, film, and theater, including So You Think You Can Dance, Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity, and the feature film One Last Dance. Dwight is resident choreographer at The Charlotte Ballet and has taught or served as artist in residence at Boston Conservatory, The Juilliard School, New York University, and the University of Mississippi, among other schools. His honors include a New York Foundation for the Arts Award and induction into the NYFA Hall of Fame and the Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography. Dwight’s work for the 2018 Season is his first for SF Ballet.

Stanton Welch: Stanton is an Australian choreographer who became artistic director of Houston Ballet, America’s fifth-largest classical ballet company, in 2003. Prior to his appointment he danced with The Australian Ballet, where he rose to the rank of leading soloist, performed principal roles, and worked with internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Jiří Kylían, Nacho Duato, and Maurice Béjart. In 1995, Stanton was named resident choreographer at The Australian Ballet. At Houston Ballet, Stanton has revitalized the company by bringing in new dancers, commissioning new works, and attracting a top-flight artistic staff. He has choreographed more than 20 works for Houston Ballet, including the full-length story ballets Giselle (2016), Romeo and Juliet (2015), La Bayadère (2010), Marie (2009; inspired by the life of Marie Antoinette), and Swan Lake (2006). In addition, he has created works for such prestigious companies as Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet. For his contributions to the world of dance, Stanton was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) in June 2015. Stanton’s work for the 2018 Season is his seventh for SF Ballet; previously, he created Maninyas, La Cathédrale Engloutie, Taiko, Tu Tu, Falling, and Naked.

Christopher Wheeldon: Christopher, an OBE and former dancer with The Royal Ballet and New York City Ballet (NYCB), is an associate artist at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. He served as NYCB’s first artist in residence and, subsequently, resident choreographer, and he founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company. Christopher has choreographed for such companies as American Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Royal Swedish Ballet. Recent works include Nutcracker for The Joffrey Ballet, American Rhapsody for NYCB, and Strapless, based on the scandal about the John Singer Sargent painting Madame X, at The Royal Ballet. His work includes opera, film (Center Stage), and Broadway’s Sweet Smell of Success and An American in Paris. His honors include Benois de la Danse Awards for Cinderella and The Winter’s Tale, an Olivier Award for Aeternum, the Leonard Massine Prize for A Winter’s Tale, and a Tony Award for Best Choreography and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography and Direction for An American in Paris. He was awarded an OBE in 2016. Christopher’s work for the 2018 Season is his 10th for SF Ballet; previous works include Continuum, Rush, Within the Golden Hour, Ghosts, Cinderella, and Borealis.

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