SF Ballet's Maker Culture

Dores André and Carlo Di Lanno in Thatcher’s Ghost in the Machine // © Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet’s history has always been tied to that of its city: founded in 1933, the same year construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge, this ballet company has always prided itself on being at the cutting edge of ballet. Today, SF is full of makers and innovators contemplating how technology is going to change the future, and inside the SF Ballet building, those makers are choreographers who are imagining the future of ballet.

This year, our Distinctly SF Ballet program brings together work by three distinctive San Francisco Ballet choreographers: Helgi Tomasson, Val Caniparoli, and Myles Thatcher. Our 2018 Repertory season is all about fostering new work—particularly the Unbound festival, which will 12 world premieres from 12 international choreographers. But Distinctly SF Ballet highlights the fact that we do this all the time: as much a part of San Francisco’s maker culture as the techies and the hipsters, our in-house choreographers create new work year in and year out on our phenomenal dancers—this constant sense of creation is what’s distinct about SF Ballet.

For Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, one of the choreographers on this program, this idea of constant creation is key to his artistic vision. In an interview from 2008, he said that when he came to San Francisco after a long career in New York, he “knew that my main idea was to search for something new all the time.” And this program—featuring a work by Tomasson, a work by Caniparoli made for our 2008 Festival, and a work by one of our Unbound choreographers—beautifully displays the fruit of that search.