2016 Podcasts

Listen to interviews with dancers, choreographers, musicians, scholars, and more, as they discuss the history of ballet, training, and the creative process.

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2016 Pointes of View Lectures Archive

Company artists and visiting scholars provide insight into the creative processes that helped shape our ballets and an historical context in which to appreciate them.

May 4, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guests: Patrick Armand & Betsy Erickson

Patrick Armand, Associate Director of the SF Ballet School, begins by describing the rigorous curriculum in the School, which is designed to prepare students for professional careers. A former gold medal winner of the Prix de Lausanne, he discusses the nature of that competition his continuing association with the organization. Both he and Ballet Master, Betsy Erickson, speak about the challenges of producing a production as demanding as Onegin, and they emphasize the rewards of performing both the principal and ensemble roles. 

Running time: 49 minutes

APR 13, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guests: Martin West and Steve D'Amico

In celebration of the SFB Orchestra’s 40th Anniversary, Music Director, Martin West, joined by Principal Contrabass, Steve D’Amico, review the history of this exceptional ensemble. Steve, who played for the ballet before the orchestra was formed as the Performing Arts Orchestra, shares anecdotes from the early days, including tales of one-night-stand bus tours. Martin discusses the organization of the group and describes the process by which prospective members are auditioned. The conversation concludes with comments about the music for choreographer Justin Peck’s world premier, In the Countenance of Kings, to a score composed by Sufjan Stevens and arranged by Michael Atkinson. 

Please note: We are aware that a portion of the audio recording is corrupted, but we feel it is still a wonderful interview worth sharing. Please excuse the disruption.

Running time: 49 minutes

Apr 6, 2016

Host: Carrie Gaiser Casey

Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas joins the SF Ballet rep this season. Carrie Gaiser Casey, SF Ballet resident scholar, places this work in the arc of Ratmansky’s career and discusses the choreographic features of this ballet.   

Running time: 37 minutes

Mar 16, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guests: Kate Duhamel, Anita Paciotti

Video Designer Kate Duhamel joins Ballet Master Anita Paciotti in a discussion of Swimmer, created by choreographer in residence, Yuri Possokhov for the 2015 season. Kate provides background to illustrate her career, and she explains the process while using clips from the creation of Swimmer to illustrate the collaboration between Possokhov and his design team. Anita describes Yuri’s work-style in the studio, and offers insights into some of the problem solving required in developing such a complex work.  

Running time: 48 minutes

Mar 9, 2016

Guests: Director of Education and Training Andrea Yannone in conversation with Associate Director of the SF Ballet School Patrick Armand and Ballet School Faculty Jeffrey Lyons

San Francisco Ballet Company and School share the same building, just across the street from the Opera House. There, our students train in the same studios as our professional dancers, and they have the wonderful opportunity to see the professional dancers whom they aspire to become one day.  As many ballets in our repertory include roles for children, the conversation revolves around preparing children for roles in NutcrackerSwan LakeSwimmer, and Coppélia.     

Running time: 44 minutes

Feb 24, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guest: Sasha De Sola, Rubén Martin Cintas

Rubén Martin Cintas, former Principal Dancer now Principal Character Dancer and SF Ballet School faculty member, joined by Soloist Sasha De Sola, each speak about the importance of a classical foundation which prepares a dancer’s body to perform all styles. They elaborate on how performing the classic ballets, such as Swan Lake, both trains and maintains the dancers’ technique and strength. During a slide review of first the early history and then the current production, Rubén and Sasha comment on the fairy tale elements of the story, classical mime as a means of story-telling, and the importances of the inclusion of the national dances.  

Running time: 47 minutes

Feb 3, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guests: Sofiane Sylve, Katita Waldo

Principal Dancer Sofiane Sylve, who has a working relationship with choreographer William Forsythe going back to her earliest days as a performer at the Dutch National Ballet, speaks eloquently about the challenges and pleasures of interpreting his movement. Katita Waldo performed many of his pieces prior to her role as Ballet Master, and she discusses his musicality in using both classical and contemporary works. They each emphasize their appreciation for the collaborative nature of Forsythe’s creative process. 

Running time: 43 minutes

Jan 27, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guests: Felipe Diaz, Lorena Feijoo

Principal Dancer, Lorena Feijoo, and Ballet Master, Felipe Diaz, discuss the experience of creating the new work by choreographer, Liam Scarlett, Fearful Symmetries. Felipe speaks of how his role as Ballet Master is informed by his experience as a performer. Lorena describes the excitement she feels as she interprets Scarlett’s creativity. Each speak eloquently about how skillfully the choreography is supported by the powerful music by John Adams.

Running time: 45 minutes

2016 Meet the Artist Interviews Archive

Our popular pre-performance Meet the Artist Interviews (MTAs) spotlight a work to be performed that afternoon/evening. These informative talks feature artists and choreographers in conversation with a moderator.

May 8, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guest: Patti Fitzpatrick

Patti Fitzpatrick, Interim Head of Women’s Wardrobe, describes the inner workings of the Wardrobe department. In her engaging manner, she reviews her early career as an ice skater and building her own costumes as preparation for this work. She uses a selection of costumes to illustrate some of the challenges faced by her staff, including the adaptation of costumes in the warehouse inventory for a variety of functions.

Running time: 28 minutes

May 6, 2016

Host: Jasmine Yep Huynh
Guest: Ricardo Bustamante

Ricardo Bustamante, Ballet Master and Assistant to the Artistic Director, discusses his role as one of the Ballet Masters for John Cranko’s Onegin.  Bustamante shares with the audience what to listen to in the music, what to look for in the choreography during Tatiana’s Bedroom scene in Act I, and what to watch for as different relationships develop in Act II. He also talks about the Company’s touring and rehearsal schedule during the summer when the Company is not performing in the War Memorial Opera House.

Running time: 33 minutes

May 1, 2016

Host: Martin West
Guest: SFB Orchestra

Meet the Orchestra - Music Director and Principal Conductor Martin West discusses the music of Cranko's Onegin with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra providing commentary and musical accompaniment.

Running time: 25 minutes

Apr 17, 2016

Host: Cheryl A. Ossola
Guest: Mathilde Froustey

Cheryl A. Ossola, SF Ballet writer and Dance Studio Life magazine editor in chief, interviews Principal Dancer Mathilde Froustey. Principal Dancer Mathilde Froustey, in her third season with the Company, discusses learning and dancing George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations and the challenges of Balanchine in general; her role in Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas and what she has learned from working with him; and her upcoming debut as Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin. Audience questions touch on her training and the differences in dancing story ballets versus abstract works. 

Please note: We are aware that a portion of the audio recording is corrupted, but we feel it is still a wonderful interview worth sharing. Please excuse the disruption.

Running time: 31 minutes

Apr 15, 2016

Host: Cheryl A. Ossola
Guest: James Sofranko

Cheryl A. Ossola, SF Ballet writer and Dance Studio Life magazine editor in chief, interviews Soloist James Sofranko. Soloist James Sofranko discusses his roles in Justin Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings (and the injury that kept him from performing it) and Christopher Wheeldon’s Continuum, whose creative process he was part of in 2001. An emerging choreographer himself, Sofranko talks about how Peck and Wheeldon have influenced him; his upcoming work for the San Francisco Ballet School Showcase (his second), set on the Trainees; and his new role as founder and artistic director of a small troupe, SFDanceworks.

Running time: 30 minutes

Apr 10, 2016

Host: Caroline Giese
Guest: Joan Boada

Artistic Administrator Caroline Giese interviews Principal Dancer Joan Boada.

Running time: 27 minutes

Apr 8, 2016

Host: Jasmine Yep Huynh
Guest: Henry Sidford

Henry Sidford discusses his training in the SF Ballet School, his experience at Prix de Lausanne when he was a SF Ballet School Trainee, and his journey as a dancer in the Company. He also talks about the process of learning and performing works in Program 6 and Program 7 during the 2016 Season.

Running time: 30 minutes

Mar 20, 2016

Host: Cheryl A. Ossola
Guest: Pascal Molat

Cheryl A. Ossola, SF Ballet writer and Dance Studio Life magazine editor in chief, interviews Principal Dancer Pascal Molat. Principal Dancer Pascal Molat, who is retiring this season, discusses his role in Yuri Possokhov’s Swimmer and his years of working with the choreographer; his philosophy about work and being an artist; his role as a teacher at the San Francisco Ballet School and other community dance schools; and his career transition plans.

Running time: 32 minutes

Mar 18, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guest: Lauren Strongin

The audience is given the opportunity to “Meet” the artist, soloist Lauren Strongin, who is enjoying her first season with the Company. Lauren describes her training and early career, emphasizing the value of receiving a firm classical background at the Kirov Academy in Washington, DC, before completing her studies at the John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, where she was exposed to a more contemporary style. She explains her move to San Francisco Ballet in order to join her husband, Principal Dancer Joseph Walsh, and how she has enjoyed the roles she has performed here beginning with Nutcracker.

Running time: 27 minutes

Mar 13, 2016

Host: Andrea Yannone
Guest: Frances Chung

Director of Education and Training Andrea Yannone in conversation with Principal Dancer Frances Chung. Frances is reprising the role of Swanilda in these performances of Coppélia, and the conversation centers around her early training, career at SF Ballet, and of course her portrayal of Swanilda.

Running time: 29 minutes

Mar 11, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guest: Dores André

Principal Dancer, Dores André, begins by describing her classically based training and her years spent in the corps de ballet, which she declares “harder than being a principal dancer”. She points to dancing Juliet in Tomasson’s full-length production of Romeo & Juliet, which was her first full-length principal role, as a career highlight; then compares that role to that of Swanhilda in Coppélia and its completely different challenges.

Running time: 30 minutes

Feb 28, 2016

Host: Jennifer Kovacevich
Guest: Chris Dennis

Jennifer and Christopher discuss the role of the production director in the day-to-day as well as in the process of remounting a large-scale ballet such as Swan Lake. They discuss how changes may be made to a production for artistic reasons or due to advances in technology.

Running time: 30 minutes

Feb 26, 2016

Host: Cheryl Ossola
Guest: Luke Ingham

Principal Dancer Luke Ingham discusses his professional path from his native Australia to the San Francisco Ballet stage; making his debut as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake; the personal rewards of dancing full-length classical ballets; how he got started in ballet; and his early training and the particulars of partnering.

Running time: 29 minutes

Feb 21, 2016

Host: Andrea Yannone
Guest: Cordula Merks

German violinist Cordula Merks is the new concertmaster of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and she started her tenure with the Orchestra with the December 2015 Nutcracker performances. Andi and Cordula discussed her path to the SFB Orchestra and her role as concertmaster. We explored the music of the 2016 repertory season, focusing on Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Running time: 28 minutes

Feb 19, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guest: Debra Sowell

Visiting Scholar, Debra H. Sowell, PhD, offers a lively description of America’s first full-length Swan Lake, produced by the San Francisco Ballet in 1940, and choreographed by Artistic Director, Willam Christensen. She begins by describing the role of a dance historian, and references the interviews she conducted in preparing her book, The Christensen Brothers, An American Dance Epic, the definitive biography of the three brothers, Willam, Harold, and Lew.

Running time: 29 minutes

Feb 5, 2016

Host: Cheryl Ossola
Guest: Jennifer Stahl

Soloist Jennifer Stahl discusses working with choreographer William Forsythe during rehearsals for Pas/Parts 2016—an unusual process of learning and relearning and working beyond perceived limits—and how the experience influenced her as a dancer. She also talks about her roles in Yuri Possokhov’s Magrittomania and Liam Scarlett’s Fearful Symmetries, plus dancing a diverse repertory that encompasses story ballets, abstract works, and themed, non-narrative works that suggest a story.

Running time: 33 minutes

Jan 31, 2016

Host: Claire Sheridan, Founder of the LEAP Program at Saint Mary's College
Guest: Tina LeBlanc

In her current role as as a member of the faculty at the San Francisco Ballet School, former SF Ballet principal dancer Tina LeBlanc talks about what’s important to her as a teacher. She discusses the benefits of ballet training, how to motivate young dancers, the use of imagery, and how a “good” dancer becomes “great.”  Tina also reflects on her own retirement from the stage and comments on her work as a ballet mistress for Balanchine’s "Rubies."

Running time: 28 minutes

Jan 29, 2016

Host: Mary Wood
Guest: Liam Scarlett

Choreographer Liam Scarlett is a vivid spokesperson for the art form, and he describes the choreographic process with eloquence. He reviews his evolution as a choreographer and talks about how greatly he values the relationship of trust he develops with his dancers. He speaks about taking his inspiration from music in general and how the score by John Adams supports this work, also titled “Fearful Symmetries”.

Running time: 29 minutes