Meet the Artist Interview Audio

Meet the Artist Interviews (MTAs) spotlight the specific San Francisco Ballet repertory program to be performed that afternoon/evening. These informative talks feature Company dancers, guest artists, choreographers, and conductors in conversation with a moderator.

The information, views and opinions expressed in podcasts are strictly those of the participants and do not represent directly or imply any official position of San Francisco Ballet Association.

Join Us In-Person for Meet the Artist Interviews

See the pre-performance Meet the Artist Interview schedule for upcoming discussion dates.


2016 Season


Patti FitzpatrickPatti Fitzpatrick (© Natalie Powell)

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
Ricardo BustamanteRicardo Bustamante (© David Allen)

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
Martin WestMartin West (© David Allen)

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
Mathilde FrousteyMathilde Froustey (© Chris Hardy)

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
James SofrankoJames Sofranko (© David Allen)

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
Joan BoadaJoan Boada (© David Allen)

Apr 10, 2016

Host: Caroline Giese
Guest: Joan Boada

Artistic Administrator Caroline Giese interviews Principal Dancer Joan Boada.

Running time: 27 minutes
Henry SidfordHenry Sidford (© Chris Hardy)

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
Pascal MolatPascal Molat (© Chris Hardy)

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
Lauren StronginLauren Strongin (© Chris Hardy)

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
Frances ChungFrances Chung (© Chris Hardy)

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
Dores AndreDores André (© Chris Hardy)

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
Chris DennisChris Dennis (© Chris Hardy)

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
Luke InghamLuke Ingham (© Chris Hardy)

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
Cordula MerksCordula Merks (© Chris Hardy)

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
Debra SowellDebra Sowell

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
Jennifer StahlJennifer Stahl (© Chris Hardy)

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
Tina LeBlancTina LeBlanc (© Chris Hardy)

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
Liam ScarlettLiam Scarlett (© George Piper)

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