Nutcracker on the Go: SF Ballet Visits UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital

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.

SF Ballet dancers with patients at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital // © Jessica Bernstein-Wax/UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital

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.

Dancers sign Nutcracker posters at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital // © Jessica Bernstein-Wax/UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital

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.”

Dancers greet patients at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital // © Jessica Bernstein-Wax/UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital

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!”

Dancers greet patients at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital // © Jessica Bernstein-Wax/UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
Children's Enchantment Fund

Want to help families in need see Nutcracker?  Our Children’s Enchantment Fund (CHEF) brings joyful new faces to our Nutcracker performances by distributing tickets to children who otherwise couldn’t attend.

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A Sensory Friendly Nutcracker Experience

For the past three years, San Francisco Ballet has partnered with Autism Fun Bay Area to provide sensory-friendly ballet workshops for children and young adults with autism and related disabilities and their families. Particularly popular is our Nutcracker Sensory-Friendly Family Workshop, last offered in December 2017 and returning in 2018.

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