Press Release

Press Release


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, November 17, 2022—San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) today announced details of its first ever Sensory Friendly Performance, held Wednesday, December 21 at 7 pm during Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker (December 8–27). Presented in collaboration with Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area, SF Ballet’s Sensory Friendly Performance includes special accommodations to Nutcracker and the theater-going experience to make neurodiverse audiences and small children feel welcome to experience ballet in a fun, accepting environment.

“This is a major step for San Francisco Ballet to connect with more communities across the Bay Area and to share the magic of Nutcracker with a wider audience,” said SF Ballet Executive Director Danielle St.Germain. “Since 2015, our Education and Training Department has presented sensory friendly workshops and relaxed dress rehearsals specially curated for people with autism and special needs. We are thrilled to expand on these opportunities and present a Sensory Friendly Performance for the first time in our nearly 90-year history as a company.”

“As a musician, and parent of an autistic son, I’m especially sensitive to how much music and dance can touch the hearts of people with autism and special needs,” said Stephen Prutsman, a concert pianist and composer, and president of Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area. “The holiday season can be stressful and isolating for autism and special needs families, so for a world-class company like San Francisco Ballet to open its doors and welcome our community is a landmark for the entire ballet world, and a tremendous gift for us.”

This full-length Sensory Friendly Performance of Nutcracker takes place in a relaxed, shush-free, and shame-free environment for audience members of all ages and abilities, including people with autism, sensory input disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities, and their families, friends, and caretakers. Expectations for audience etiquette will be relaxed, talking or vocalizing is accepted, and patrons can move freely in their seats and at the aisles during the performance, within appropriate safety parameters. More information about Sensory Friendly adaptations can be found here. Although the Sensory Friendly Performance is adapted specifically to accommodate individuals with special needs and/or sensory sensitivities, the general public is welcome to attend.

Tickets to the Sensory Friendly Performance of Nutcracker on Wednesday, December 21 at 7 pm start at $58 and may be purchased online at sfballet.org or by calling 415-865-2000, Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm Pacific.

Photos of past sensory friendly workshops and Nutcracker can be found here. Contact SF Ballet’s press department at press@sfballet.org with any inquiries.

In adherence with requirements contained in federal, state, and local health orders, the War Memorial Opera House does not require patrons to wear masks while in the venue, or to provide proof of COVID-negative tests, vaccinations, and/or boosters. The Opera House strongly encourages all unvaccinated persons to wear well-fitted masks and permits eating and drinking to take place in designated areas. More information on policy changes can be found here.

San Francisco Ballet is one of the world’s leading ballet companies. As a commissioner, collaborator, and presenter, the Ballet performs locally, nationally, and internationally with the top choreographers, artists, and dancers while proudly celebrating its trailblazing role in dance. Since its founding in 1933 as the first 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 mission 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.

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