A Dancer’s Life on Tour

For most ballet companies, touring is a vital component of the organization’s vision, providing new audiences exposure to the dancers and repertory, while giving the dancers a much-needed chance to perform during their off-season. SF Ballet has been touring nationally and internationally since its booking office was established in 1938.

This fall, SF Ballet embarked on two critically acclaimed tours to Los Angeles and Washington, DC. In October, a small group of Company members performed Forsythe’s Pas/Parts 2016 at The Music Center in Los Angeles as part of Celebrate Forsythe, a program honoring the choreographer’s legacy. Houston Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet also participated. In a review of the performance, Laura Bleiberg of the Los Angeles Times raved that SF Ballet “dances Forsythe better than any other American company.” A week later at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, The Washington Post called Wheeldon’s Cinderella© “an utterly exquisite production” and “a deeply moving performance.”

Here's an exclusive peek at our two recent tours, through the eyes of our dancers.

In Los Angeles, the three Celebrate Forsythe performances were met with standing ovations and much acclaim. After performing Pas/Parts 2016, Soloist Jennifer Stahl remarked, “[I’m] very grateful for this unforgettable experience, for the inspiring time working with the legend [Forsythe] himself, for the opportunity to dance among three beautiful companies, and for my dear family and friends that were in the audience.” Below is a picture of the opening night bows that Jennifer posted on Instagram.

SF Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Houston Ballet take a bow
after Celebrate Forsythe at The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
(© Jennifer Stahl, @jenstahl.weitz)

 

SF Ballet with William Forsythe.
(© Dores André, @doresandre)

 

On the rare "off" day without classes, rehearsals, or performances, dancers often visit tourist destinations and explore their touring city to get a better sense of the local scene. Here, Corps de Ballet member Diego Cruz enjoys the Southern California sun in front of the Hollywood sign.

(Diego Cruz, @diegocruzcooosss)

 

In Washington, DC, many dancers premiered new roles, including Principal Dancers Dores André as Cinderella and Joseph Walsh as Prince Guillaume. Principal Dancer Sarah Van Patten and Soloist Jennifer Stahl debuted as Hortensia, the stepmother; and Soloist Julia Rowe performed Clementine, the stepsister, for the first time. 

Cinderella© cast at The Kennedy Center. 
(© Felipe Diaz , @feldiazinsane)

 

In Wheeldon’s Cinderella©, several of the roles, including the young Prince, are performed by students from SF Ballet School who traveled with the Company to DC. Below is SF Ballet School student Nicholas Yurkevich as the young Prince with the “older” version of the Prince, Principal Dancer Joseph Walsh.

(© Joseph Walsh, @josephwalshsf)

 

By the end of the tour, the dancers’ hard work was evident by pointe shoes piled up in the corner of the women’s dressing rooms, as seen below. Dancers can easily wear out a single pair of pointe shoes after a just one evening-length ballet performance.

 

(© Ludmila Bizalion, @ludmilacc)

 

See Pas/Parts 2016 in Program 2: Modern Masters and Cinderella© onstage at the War Memorial Opera House this season. 

Francisco Mungamba and Joseph Walsh backstage. (© Erik Tomasson)
Jennifer Stahl, soloist

“[I'm] very grateful for this unforgettable experience, for the inspiring time working with the legend [Forsythe] himself, for the opportunity to dance among three beautiful companies, and for my dear family and friends that were in the audience.”