Press Release

Press Release


Virtual Nite Out event on June 12 complements Arthur Pita’s Björk Ballet and celebrates 50th anniversary of San Francisco Pride

2020 Season streaming culminates with the 2020 Opening Night Gala program on June 26

SAN FRANCISCO, May 22, 2020—San Francisco Ballet announces further free weekly streams on SF Ballet @ Home, featuring commissioned works from the 2018 Unbound festival and other notable ballets from SF Ballet’s repertory. For each of the past eight weeks, SF Ballet has streamed a complete ballet from its archives on Facebook, IGTV, YouTube, and the SF Ballet website, calling on regional, national, and international audiences to relish the joy of dance while sheltering in place. SF Ballet @ Home is made possible through the generosity it has received from the community through the Critical Relief Fund. The recordings are produced under agreements with the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, American Guild of Musical Artists, American Federation of Musicians, and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

The Friday, June 12 stream will feature Arthur Pita’s Björk Ballet. In conjunction, SF Ballet will host a virtual, free Nite Out celebration in honor of the 50th anniversary of San Francisco Pride. Nite Out is the Company’s long-running series of performances and post-show parties that celebrate diversity and the LGBTQ+ community through dance. Hosted by an SF Ballet dancer, the June 12 Nite Out celebration includes a Meet the Artist interview on Facebook, DIY cocktail recipes, and a DJ-curated set list.

Over 60% of SF Ballet’s ambitious repertory season was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. To commemorate the artists and creativity of the Company, SF Ballet will stream the complete program from the 2020 Opening Night Gala, Spellbound, on June 26 on SF Ballet @ Home. The stream includes the world premiere performance of Val Caniparoli’s Foreshadow, inspired by the love triangle in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and the SF Ballet premiere of Danielle Rowe’s For Pixie. Other programming highlights include SF Ballet premiere of the pas de deux from David Dawson’s Swan Lake, danced by departing principal dancers Sofiane Sylve and Carlo Di Lanno, and the world premiere of Myles Thatcher’s 05:49.

Commentary by SF Ballet dancers and creative teams accompanies each stream, offering a behind-the-scenes look into the roles of the Company’s artists. Each stream is made available worldwide for one week. With this timeline, SF Ballet hopes to inspire in-the-moment discussions about the role dance plays in this time of discovery, digital innovation, and artistic creation.

More information is included in the calendar below. Contact Kate McKinney, SF Ballet’s PR & Communications Manager, or You You Xia, Director of Communications, with casting, production credits, and photo inquiries at kmckinney@sfballet.org and yxia@sfballet.org.

SF Ballet @ Home Calendar
Each stream is available for one week

Friday, May 22, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT
Bound To (March 27, 2019 SF Ballet capture)

Christopher Wheeldon’s Bound To©, his tenth work for SF Ballet and created for the Unbound festival, offers a “luscious journey out of tech world” (San Francisco Chronicle). “The overarching theme is the disconnectedness of our time,” Wheeldon says, “and how we are perhaps even more connected with our devices than we are with each other.” Data sets splay across the stage and cell phones with illuminated screens feature prominently as dancers’ props; music by singer-songwriter Keaton Henson sets the ballet. Wheeldon, whose Cinderella© opened the 2020 Repertory Season, won the 2015 Tony Award for “Best Choreography” for his Broadway hit An American in Paris. SF Ballet performed Bound To at the Kennedy Center in 2018 and Sadler’s Wells Theatre in 2019.

Meet the Artist interview:  Friday, May 22, 2020 at 3 pm PDT on Facebook Live with Marilyn Coyne, 2nd Oboe and English Horn with the SF Ballet Orchestra

Friday, May 29, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT
Snowblind (April 25, 2018 SF Ballet capture)

Another work created for Unbound, Snowblind is Cathy Marston’s one-act adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novella Ethan Frome, which depicts a heart-rending love triangle between Ethan Frome; his hypochondriac wife, Zeena; and Mattie, kin to Zeena. Snowblind has toured with SF Ballet to the Kennedy Center and Sadler’s Wells Theatre and “gripped from first moment to last” (San Francisco Chronicle) at its premiere in 2018. Philip Feeney arranged Snowblind’s music, which includes pieces by Wharton’s contemporaries, including Amy Beach and Arthur Foote. Patrick Kinmonth designed the ballet’s scenery and costumes, and James F. Ingalls designed the lighting. SF Ballet was scheduled to premiere Marston’s Mrs. Robinson in March 2020; her other recent work includes Jane Eyre at American Ballet Theatre and The Cellist for The Royal Ballet. In 2019, The Guardian called Marston “the most accomplished British female choreographer in ballet right now.”

Meet the Artist interview: Friday, May 29, 2020 at 3 pm PDT on Facebook with choreographer Cathy Marston

Friday, June 5, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT
Director’s Choice selection (February 2020 SF Ballet capture)

Curated by Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, the Friday, June 5 stream features a selection of three ballets: Tomasson’s Soirées Musicales and Concerto Grosso, and Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain pas de deux. Soirées Musicales (1996) opens the program and demands “spins, jumps and bravura technique” (San Francisco Chronicle) from its two dancers; in the stream, SF Ballet principal dancers Misa Kuranaga and Angelo Greco perform. A pas de deux from Wheeldon’s After the Rain (his “big hit” from 2005, according to The New York Times) follows, offering a sensual duet between principal dancers Yuan Yuan Tan, who celebrates her 25th anniversary with the Company in 2020, and Luke Ingham. Concerto Grosso (2003) closes the stream and includes a high-energy quintet for male dancers, dancing to music by Geminiani and fine-tuning “the body’s energy and prowess to reflect an ideal of perfectly centered finesse” (Los Angeles Times).

Meet the Artist interview: Friday, June 5, 2020 at 3 pm PDT on Facebook Live

Friday, June 12, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT
Björk Ballet (March 29, 2019 SF Ballet capture)

Commissioned for the Unbound festival, Arthur Pita’s Björk Ballet celebrates the theatricality of Björk and her music, setting songs spanning her discography from 1993’s Debut to Utopia from 2017. Pita’s choreography for 22 dancers exhibits his “genuine flair for knowing excess [and] command of dance theater” (San Francisco Chronicle) and offers a bevy of of striking dances, including an octet set to Björk’s “Frosti,” which Pita designed to resemble “a ballerina music box on acid.” Marco Morante’s costuming includes metallic, fringed body suits with geometric piping, and Pita himself created additional visual décor, including eruptions of tinsel meant to resemble tall grasses and a mirrored floor. Called a “cacophony of glamour, craziness and fairytale” by The Guardian, Björk Ballet is a sensational experience for dancers and audiences alike.

Meet the Artist interview: Friday, June 12, 2020 at 3 pm PDT on Facebook

Friday, June 12, 2020
Nite Out in conjunction with Björk Ballet

Nite Out begins with the 2:30 pm stream of Björk Ballet, followed by a 3 pm Meet the Artist interview on Facebook, DIY cocktail recipes, and a DJ-curated set list. This virtual Nite Out is presented in celebration of the 50th anniversary of San Francisco Pride and features special commentary by SF Ballet artists.

Friday, June 19, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT
Program to be announced

Friday, June 26, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT
SF Ballet 2020 Opening Night Gala, Spellbound (January 16, 2020 SF Ballet capture)

To celebrate the conclusion of the 2020 Season, curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, SF Ballet will stream the complete program from the 2020 Opening Night Gala, Spellbound, on June 26. The Gala celebrates Helgi Tomasson’s record-breaking 35th year as Artistic Director and features the world premiere performance of Val Caniparoli’s Foreshadow, the SF Ballet premiere of the pas de deux from David Dawson’s Swan Lake (featuring departing principal dancers Sofiane Sylve and Carlo Di Lanno) and the SF Ballet premiere of Danielle Rowe’s For Pixie. Other highlights include principal dancer Esteban Hernandez and newly promoted principal dancer Max Cauthorn in Bournonville’s “Jockey Dance” and newly promoted principal dancer Wona Park with principal dancer Wei Wang in Victor Gsovsky’s Grand Pas Classique. Principal dancer Yuan Yuan Tan is also highlighted alongside Vitor Luiz, in his final performance as principal dancer with SF Ballet, in a pas de deux from Yuri Possokhov’s Bells. Full programming is listed below. Osterweis Capital Management is the Presenting Sponsor of the Gala.

Meet the Artist interview: Friday, June 26, 2020 at 3 pm PDT on Facebook Live

Men’s Regiment from Stars & Stripes
Composer: John Philip Sousa, arranged by Hershy Kay
Choreographer: George Balanchine 

Foreshadow (World Premiere)
Composer: Ludovico Einaudi
Choreographer: Val Caniparoli

Pas de Deux from Swan Lake (SF Ballet Premiere)
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: David Dawson

“Jockey Dance” (SF Ballet Premiere)
Composer: Carl Christian Møller
Choreographer: August Bournonville

For Pixie (SF Ballet Premiere)
Music: Nina Simone
Choreographer: Danielle Rowe

Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire
Composer: Riccardo Drigo
Choreography: after Marius Petipa

Balcony Pas de Deux from Romeo & Juliet
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson

05:49 (World Premiere)
Composers: Ivan Pavlov and Annie Bandez
Choreographer: Myles Thatcher

Grand Pas Classique
Composer: D. F. E. Auber
Choreography: Victor Gsovsky

Pas de Deux from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Composers: Anthony Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez, and Justin Meldal-Johnsen
Choreographer: Justin Peck 

Pas de Deux from Bells
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff
Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov 

Finale from Diamonds
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: George Balanchine

Programming subject to change. Follow SF Ballet on social media for the most current streaming schedule.

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San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, 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. SF 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.