The Joy of Dance

Haffner Symphony
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson

Fragile Vessels
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov
Choreographer: Jiří Bubeníček

In the Countenance of Kings
Composer and Original Orchestrations: Sufjan Stevens
Orchestration for San Francisco Ballet: Michael P. Atkinson
Choreographer: Justin Peck

This program is quite simply a celebration. The New York Times called Helgi Tomasson’s Haffner Symphony “sublime—as festive as it is an embodiment of beauty.” Next, experience Fragile Vessels, a new work by Jiří Bubeníček. Closing the program is Justin Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings. This bold new work set to a glorious score by indie crossover artist Sufjan Stevens, was the surprise smash success of the 2016 Repertory Season.

Runtime: Approximately 2 hours and 11 minutes, including 20- and 15-minute intermissions
Header Image: Dores André and Joseph Walsh in Peck's In the Countenance of Kings // © Erik Tomasson
Featured Artist



Artist Profile

“[In the Countenance of Kings] is the most exhilarating company commission in years. It’s an auspicious debut for Peck, resident choreographer at New York City Ballet, and it has evoked a dazzling response.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Music: Sufjan Stevens

In the Countenance of Kings features Sufjan Stevens' The BQE, a cinematic suite inspired by New York City's Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The BQE was originally performed in the Howard Gilman Opera House in celebration of the 25th anniversary Next Wave Festival in October of 2007.

Feel the joy

It’s quite simply a celebration–a world premiere and two critically acclaimed favorites. Get a glimpse of The Joy of Dance.



Original short film by Ezra Hurwitz inspired by Justin Peck's In the Countenance of Kings at San Francisco Ballet.


Scenic Design

Haffner Symphony
  • Santo Loquasto
Fragile Vessels
  • Otto Bubeníček

Costume Design

Haffner Symphony
  • Santo Loquasto
Fragile Vessels
  • Uroš Belantič
In the Countenance of Kings
  • Ellen Warren

Lighting Design

Haffner Symphony
  • Thomas R. Skelton
Fragile Vessels
  • Jim French
In the Countenance of Kings
  • Brandon Stirling Baker

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The 2016 World Premiere of In the Countenance of Kings was made possible by
Lead Sponsors
  • Mr. Richard C. Barker
  • Gaia Fund
  • David and Kelsey Lamond
  • Yurie and Carl Pascarella
  • The Seiger Family Foundation
With additional support from
  • The Byron R. Meyer Choreographers Fund
  • Osher New Work Fund of the San Francisco Ballet Endowment Foundation