SF Ballet School’s 2022 Spring Festival
Three Performances. Three Distinct Programs.
Returning in-person for the first time in three years, SF Ballet School’s annual Spring Festival will present three different programs over three evenings at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). SF Ballet School Director Patrick Armand curated an exciting collection of works to celebrate this important moment; alongside Helgi Tomasson’s Haffner Symphony (which will be performed all three nights) is a rotating collection of ballets choreographed by SF Ballet dancers, SF Ballet School faculty, and SF Ballet School students selected as part of the Helgi Tomasson Choreographic Workshop. Each performance will also begin with a demonstration of the dancers in levels 2 through 8, choreographed by faculty member Karen Gabay.
About SF Ballet School
The School is a fundamental part of SF Ballet—nearly 70% of the Company’s dancers trained in SF Ballet School and over 160 students perform with the Company each year during Nutcracker and other Repertory Season performances. Hear from current Principal Dancer Wona Park on the impact SF Ballet School has had on her career.
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Head to the Howard Street theater entrance 45 minutes before each program for free, interactive activities and demonstrations made by students. These will include presentations by Pre-Ballet students on May 25, the Class for People with Parkinson’s Disease on May 26, and Dance in Schools and Communities (DISC) artists on May 27.
In addition to company class, rehearsals, and performances, Corps de Ballet dancer Davide Occhipinti and Apprentice Pemberley Ann Olson—recently promoted to the Corps de Ballet—have also been hard at work choreographing new ballets for the Spring Festival, entitled Sunhead and Her Gambit, respectively.
Dana Genshaft’s Future Paper and Viktor Plotnikov’s Graces both receive their stage debut this year, after premiering as part of the 2021 Digital Spring Festival. Genshaft’s Future Paper, a ballet for seven dancers, is set to a commissioned score by San Francisco–based composer Kamran Adib, which blends electronic and orchestral music styles. Graces, a ballet for three couples, is set to the fourth movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5; this music and the challenges of the pandemic inspired Plotnikov “to do something peaceful, describing beauty, so all can just enjoy.” They are joined by a new ballet—Jason Ambrose’s The Most Peaceful Place.
This year’s Spring Festival features two new ballets by SF Ballet School students: Reciprocity by Angela Watson, and Moment in the Mind by Sophia Hatton and Chase Rogers. These works were selected as part of the Helgi Tomasson Choreographic Workshop (formerly known as the Choreographic Fellowship Program). Established in 2016 the workshop develops students’ understanding of both choreographic and dance industry processes. The students are led through the cycle of creating a new ballet—from assistance with music licensing and union agreements to brainstorming production elements and scheduling rehearsal time.
Header Image: San Francisco Ballet School Trainees in Genshaft’s Future Paper // © Woodham Photography