Every holiday season, despite their packed schedules, SF Ballet Company members find time to visit the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. They bring a taste of this annual holiday tradition to young patients who otherwise would not be able to see the production.
Dressed in Nutcracker costumes, dancers perform an abridged version of the ballet, narrated by Principal Dancer Sarah Van Patten. Each dancer performs a sampling of several variations from the beloved holiday classic.
The mini-performance delights the audience, bringing holiday joy to the children in attendance. The young patients and their families receive signed posters from the cast and spend time talking with the Company members. Corps de Ballet member Thamires Chuvas says she’s “excited and happy to put a smile on these kids’ faces” and is “glad that we’re able to bring the Nutcracker to their bedside.”
Sarah Van Patten began organizing these hospital visits in 2008, when a former Company member handed over the responsibility. Since then, she has continued the tradition every December. She adds, “The holidays are a perfect time to give back to the community, and I am thrilled to bring a little joy into these kids’ lives by organizing this annual visit—I wouldn’t miss it!”