SF Ballet School Trainees in Paris

SF Ballet School's Trainees took Myles Thatcher’s Panorama to Paris for a gala evening celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Paris Opera Ballet School's annual school performances.

SF Ballet School was one of seven ballet schools invited to perform at a gala celebrating the 40th anniversary of Paris Opera Ballet School’s annual performance on April 7, 2017. Also included were the John Cranko School of the Stuttgart Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet School, The Royal Ballet School (London), Canada's National Ballet School, the School of the Hamburg Ballet, and the Vaganova Ballet Academy. Each school was asked to present a work that was representative of their national style. The sold-out gala at the Palais Garnier was a brilliant snapshot of ballet’s future, displaying the immense talents of a diverse group of students on the cusp of professional careers.

For some of these schools, representative styles meant turning to the past: the Vaganova Academy (affiliated with the Mariinsky Ballet) brought the Black Swan pas de deux from Marius Petipa's Swan Lake, choreographed in 1895, and the Royal Danish Ballet School brought an excerpt from August Bournonville's Abdallah, from 1855. Others looked to more recent choreographers intimately associated with their respective companies: The Royal Ballet School brought a pas de deux from former Artistic Director Kenneth MacMillan's Concerto; the School of the Hamburg Ballet brought Artistic Director John Neumeier's Bach Suite #2; the John Cranko School performed a piece by Marco Goecke, Stuttgart Ballet's current choreographer in residence; and Canada's National Ballet School brought a recent work by alumnus Demis Volpi.

SF Ballet School Trainees in Myles Thatcher's Panorama // © David Elofer


SF Ballet School decided not to look to the past, but rather to the future, bringing a new work by SF Ballet Corps de Ballet member Myles Thatcher, a choice that reflects SF Ballet's commitment to the creation of new works. Thatcher's work, Panorama, created this spring on the Trainees, is also a part of the SF Ballet School Student Showcase, May 31–June 2 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Panorama, set to Douwe Eisenga’s Piano Concerto, is Thatcher’s fifth work for SF Ballet School.

At the end of the Paris gala, the Trainees joined students of the other academies for a "Grand Défilé." A "Grand Défilé" is a tradition at the Paris Opera Ballet in which the full company presents themselves to the audience, line by line, to honor the company artists and especially the company's étoiles, or principal dancers, who march out one at a time in reverse order of tenure from newest to oldest. In this défilé, the schools presented themselves from youngest to oldest. SF Ballet School, established in 1933 and the first professional ballet school in America, appeared fourth in the procession, between Canada's National Ballet School, founded in 1959, and the Royal Ballet School, founded in 1929.