SF Ballet on Film and Television

Ballet, film, and television may seem like disparate art forms with little relationship. But in fact, the ability to preserve dance on film has had a major impact on the preservation and dissemination of the art form, and the transmission of dance on television in the 20th century was instrumental in popularizing the art form in the United States. But what impact have television and film had on San Francisco Ballet in particular? How has this relationship changed as we’ve moved from film to television to the internet? And how are dancers and choreographers exploring today’s multifaceted media landscape?

Join us for an interactive three-session seminar to find the answers to these questions and many more.

Buy tickets to the sessions you’re interested in or to all three!


Consider the relationship between ballet and film and television in the 20th and 21st centuries
Meet members of the San Francisco Ballet Artistic and Operations staff and learn about their lives and careers
Find out what it really takes to film a full-length ballet for broadcast
Learn how film and television helped SF Ballet become a nationally recognized company

Early Days

September 22, 1–3 pm

Get a quick history of American ballet on film and television.

See footage of SF Ballet productions from the 1950s and 1960s.

Hear from former SF Ballet dancers Sally Bailey, Henry Berg, and Carlos Carvajal about what it was like to perform in these productions.

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The Dance Boom

September 29, 1–3 pm

What was it like to film dance for television at the height of the dance boom? Hear from Judy Flannery, producer and Executive Director of Dance Film SF — which presents the annual SF Dance Film Festival — about managing the production department for KQED during the 1980s and its partnership with SF Ballet. 

Hear from former SF Ballet dancers Anita Paciotti and Jim Sohm who performed in SF Ballet’s major works for television, including Romeo & Juliet (1980) and The Tempest (1981).

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New Modes, New Media

October 6, 1–3 pm

With the advent of the internet, modes of transmission have dramatically increased. Learn about what it takes to produce dance films and live streams from SF Ballet General Manager Debra Bernard.

Screendance and the Dance Film SF offer opportunities for SF Ballet dancers and choreographers to flex new muscles.

Hear from Principal Dancer Benjamin Freemantle and Soloist Madison Keesler about their work in this medium, how dancing on film is different from dancing on stage, and how they transfer their skills behind the camera.

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Subscribers and donors of $75 or more must login first to receive special pricing. Please note: we do not offer refunds. All programs are subject to cancellation in the event there is not adequate enrollment. All programs are subject to change. The information, views, and opinions expressed at all audience engagement programs are strictly those of the participants and do not necessarily represent or imply any official position of San Francisco Ballet Association.


If you have a question about a particular program, please don't hesitate to contact us.

415 865 6670