Press Release

Press Release

Patrick Armand to Conclude Tenure as Director of San Francisco Ballet School and Trainee Program


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 23, 2023—San Francisco Ballet today announced that Patrick Armand will conclude his tenure as Director of the SF Ballet School and Trainee Program at the end of the 2023 school year to spend more time with his family abroad, however he will continue his longstanding affiliation with the company as School Artistic Associate, supporting the company and the dancers who come to study at SF Ballet. During Armand’s tenure, the percentage of SF Ballet Company members who trained in the School has grown to over 70%, and more than 100 SF Ballet School Trainees have gone on to accept professional jobs within the company of SF Ballet and other prominent companies around the world, with 98% of trainees who have completed the program having been placed in professional companies.

“Patrick fostered a love of dance for people at all levels and backgrounds. His unique vision of supportive teaching expertly balanced technical instruction while encouraging dancers to express their creativity and individuality,” said Sunnie Evers and Bob Shaw, co-chairs of the SF Ballet Board of Directors. “While our company on stage may be most visible to SF Ballet’s audiences, Patrick’s impact as an educator of dancers of all ages and abilities has been tremendous to hundreds of students a year and their parents, and to the larger ballet ecosystem as a whole.”

In the coming months, Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of SF Ballet, and the Ballet’s Board of Trustees will form a committee to launch an international search for Armand’s successor and appoint an interim director to lead the school while the search is underway.

Armand’s inclusive and supportive educational approach, fostering a deep appreciation of ballet as an art form, will leave a legacy of meaningful programming within SF Ballet School. Since becoming director of SF Ballet’s School and Trainee Program, Armand has also been dedicated to fostering a diverse classroom, ensuring that all students feel supported both on and off the stage through guided mentorship, exceptional training, and a robust residential life program. Under his direction, the School has been recognized as one of the finest in the world, and invited to perform in Paris, Hamburg, New York, and Toronto. Additionally, he reintroduced the Pre-Ballet and Adult Ballet programs, reaching students of all ages, and championed the healing power of dance through the development of a tailored and inclusive ballet program for people living with Parkinson’s disease. Perhaps most impactful for students aspiring to professional careers, under his leadership the School entered into a long-term partnership with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to provide student housing for 52 students annually, allowing more talented young people to take part in SF Ballet’s high-quality training programs.

“I’ve known Patrick for over twenty years, and his devotion to nurturing excellence in education and a general love of dance is unparalleled. While I am sad that he’s stepping down as director, I’m delighted that he has accepted our offer to continue contributing to our shared vision for the future of ballet in our studios,” said Rojo. “As we launch an international search for the next director of SF Ballet’s renowned school, we look forward to speaking with leading dance education candidates who have an appreciation for innovative instruction as well as a diverse background and perspective.”

“Leading the Ballet School and nurturing the next generation of dancers in San Francisco for the past decade has been one of the great thrills of my career,” shared Armand. “It has been a difficult decision, but I am choosing to take a step back to focus on my family. I am honored that SF Ballet and Tamara have offered to create a position so that I can continue to support students and dancers at the Ballet School as a School Artistic Associate.”

Patrick Armand was appointed principal of the SF Ballet School Trainee Program in 2010, and in 2012, he assumed the position of SF Ballet School Associate Director. He was named Director of the School at the 2017 Student Showcase Dinner, for which he was honorary chair. Armand has trained more than 100 dancers who are members of companies across the globe, including 54 who have danced as principals, soloists, and members of the corps de ballet at San Francisco Ballet.  Under his leadership, the SF Ballet School entered into a housing partnership with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in which 52 students annually live at the new Bowes Center for the Performing Arts.

Born in Marseille, France, Patrick Armand studied with Rudy Bryans, his mother Colette Armand, and at the Ecole de Danse de Marseille. He won the Prix de Lausanne in 1980 and continued his studies at the School of American Ballet and at the Centre de Danse International in Cannes. In 1981, he joined the Ballet Theatre Français and was promoted to principal dancer in 1983. That same year, Patrick was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance in Béjart’s “Song of a Wayfarer” with Rudolf Nureyev. In 1984 he was invited by Peter Schaufuss to join the London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet), where he danced for six years before joining the Boston Ballet in 1990, under the direction of Bruce Marks. In 1988, Armand performed Siegfried in the world premiere of Natalia Makarova’s Swan Lake at London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet). That same year, he was voted best dancer of the year by the British magazine, Dance and Dancers. In addition, he has had work created on him by such choreographers as Bohbot, Bruce, Tharp, and Wheeldon, among others. As a guest artist, Armand performed with the Australian Ballet, the Bayerische Staatsballet, the Deutsche Oper Ballet (Berlin), the Kirov Ballet, and the Noriko Kobayashi Ballet Theatre.

In 2002, he took over the direction of Studio Ballet Colette Armand in Marseille. He has also been a frequent guest teacher—notably The Royal Ballet company and school, the National Ballet of Canada company and school, and Teatro alla Scala company—and he is invited regularly in Japan by the Japan Ballet Association to teach and coach. In 2006, he was appointed teacher and ballet master of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. He also choreographed a production of Don Quixote for the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, which premiered in June 2010. In 1998 and 2009, Patrick served as a jury member of the Prix de Lausanne, and from 2010–2020 he was invited as a teacher and coach for the competition.

San Francisco Ballet is one of the world’s leading ballet companies. As a commissioner, collaborator, and presenter, SF Ballet performs locally, nationally, and internationally with top choreographers, artists, and dancers while proudly celebrating its trailblazing role in dance. Since its founding in 1933 and as the oldest professional ballet company in the United States, the organization has been an innovator in dance and an originator of well-loved cultural traditions, from staging the first American production of Swan Lake to being the first company in the United States to present an annual holiday Nutcracker. In the progressive, innovative spirit of San Francisco, its aim is to share the beauty of classical and contemporary ballet, the joyful, transformative experience of dance performance by artists working at the highest caliber, and to provide exceptional training opportunities for the next generation of professional dancers in its school.


International and national media:
Josh Balber / Emma Gold / Jenny Levine
Resnicow and Associates
212-671-5175 / 212-671-5186 / 212-671-5189
jbalber@resnicow.com / egold@resnicow.com / jlevine@resnicow.com

San Francisco media:
Kate McKinney
San Francisco Ballet