San Francisco Ballet regretfully announces there will be no live performances of Nutcracker this year. The Company's decision comes in the wake of continued restrictions posed by COVID-19 pandemic and closure of the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center to audiences through December 31, 2020. This doesn't mean that Nutcracker won't be part of your holidays—with your help, we can imagine other Nutcracker offerings and activities to keep this tradition alive.
"Nutcracker is a tradition that I look forward to each year," says Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. "Even though we will not be able to experience Nutcracker in person this year due to the health crisis, I know San Francisco Ballet will be a part of the Bay Area’s holiday tradition, maybe digitally or through other creative avenues. Perhaps all of this will make our reunion next year all the more special."
Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale says, “San Francisco Ballet experienced a record number of people—over one and a half million—streaming and accessing content as part of the SF Ballet @ Home platform created shortly after the San Francisco shelter-in-place order closed our performance venue. We are exploring options and working with our artists and our digital archives to see what might be possible. Being able to continue the Nutcracker tradition, especially in a digital environment, would be an apt reflection of our community."
San Francisco Ballet presented America's first complete performance of Nutcracker in 1944. And today, SF Ballet's Nutcracker is enjoyed by over 75,000 people each December. Every dancer in the Company dances in it, along with 160 students from SF Ballet School to perform roles as Clara, Fritz, snowflakes, waltzing flowers, mice, and more. "I know it is a great disappointment for the students not to be able to perform in Nutcracker," says SF Ballet School Director Patrick Armand. “It is such a wonderful opportunity for them to perform on stage with the Company, and something that our School families look forward to as part of the holiday celebration each season. At this time we must put their health and well-being as the first priority, but we will look forward to being back together in our beautiful theater when we can.”
Nutcracker is also a herculean undertaking for San Francisco Ballet’s volunteer groups. In 2018, BRAVO (Ballet Resource and Volunteer Association) volunteers logged 4,200 hours of work on Nutcracker—a record for the group, which boasts over 300 members and dates to 1976. BRAVO typically provides support backstage, in the Ballet Shop, at Family Performances, and much more throughout Nutcracker's run.
We invite the public to participate in a survey to share thoughts and ideas on how we can come together and continue the tradition of Nutcracker in our homes and in our community this year. More information regarding plans for digital offerings of Nutcracker and virtual events in December 2020 will be shared as they become available. We encourage you to visit our sfballet.org, sign-up for E-news, and follow us on social media for the latest news.