An Update from SF Ballet Leadership
A message from Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson and Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale to the extended San Francisco Ballet family
All of us at San Francisco Ballet hope that wherever you are in the world you are safe, you are healthy, and you know we stand ready to bring beauty back to your life when the time is right.
Over the past couple of weeks, our dancers, musicians, faculty, and students have come together, first to dance an enchanting Opening Night production of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a work that hadn’t been seen on our stage in over 34 years. After a beautiful opening, the harsh reality of COVID-19 settled in, followed by mandated closures of the War Memorial Opera House, shortly followed by the reality that we would suspend classes at our professional school, and a statewide “shelter in place” order.
Our staff and faculty have worked tirelessly to ensure our students’ safety as we arranged for promising young dancers to return to their families and homes. For some, that meant securing safe travel across the country and for others, arranging international travel to other continents, all amidst the backdrop of a public health emergency.
As we stand in solidarity in this moment with everyone around the world who has been impacted by this pandemic, our deepest regret is the inability to perform for our audiences. We exist for our public, and there is nothing more heartbreaking for our dancers who are top athletes, our musicians and our theatrical trades who are creators, and those of us who have committed our lives to the performing arts sector than to be asked to stop performing and/or creating. But we know that it is for the public good and we are doing our part to keep each other safe and to guarantee that our art form survives.
Resiliency is our call to each other and to our beloved public. As a non-profit organization, we are struggling to keep our workforce paid and health benefits in place. As our artists and staff try to navigate this unprecedented challenge, it is important that the anxiety of paying rent, accessing health care, or caring for their families isn’t exacerbated by mass layoffs or furloughs.
While we can hope that legislation offering relief and economic stimulus materializes, the reality is that those well-meaning efforts often forget our artists, overlook the non-profit sector, and may take many months to materialize, if ever. The stark reality is, San Francisco Ballet has not faced a challenge of this magnitude and we will need your help not only now, but also in the future. Whatever the circumstances, our collective organization is committed to using its creativity to inspire and comfort our community, our dance colleagues, and our world.
Please consider donating your unused tickets—all proceeds will go to support our workforce. We know we are not the only organization impacted by COVID-19, but we believe that what we do—the art of human expression—will be a part of how we recover. We will continue to share the joy of dance with the world, and early next week, we will share a meaningful way to invite your involvement and support.