The future of ballet is coming next. We’ve celebrated maker culture here in the Bay Area for decades, so to celebrate San Francisco Ballet’s 90th anniversary, we’re looking forward. The next@90 festival presents 9 world premiere ballets by 9 international choreographers, creating a hub of dance innovation in San Francisco. Featuring new works by Nicolas Blanc, Bridget Breiner, Val Caniparoli, Robert Garland, Yuka Oishi, Yuri Possokhov, Jamar Roberts, Danielle Rowe, and Claudia Schreier.
“I look forward to creating a work for the San Francisco Ballet next@90 festival. It is even a greater honor to create work for a time-honored institution that found so much success under the leadership of Helgi Tomasson. He is a Mozart in world of Salieris! To that end, I plan to create a work to the music of that same composer, the great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”
SF Ballet welcomes renowned choreographer Robert Garland to create a new ballet for next@90.
A native of Philadelphia, Garland witnessed his first dance performance at Dance Theater of Harlem, which ignited his passion for dance and movement. He moved to New York City to attend Juilliard where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance. Afterwards, Garland quickly rose through the ranks to become a principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. After Arthur Mitchell, Dance Theatre’s Founder and former Artistic Director, invited Garland to create a work for Dance Theatre of Harlem, he was soon afterwards appointed the company's first Resident Choreographer. He has since been selected to succeed Virginia Johnson as Artistic Director of the company, beginning his new role in 2023.
Following the appointments, Garland retired from dance after an outstanding career to become a full-time choreographer. He has worked with companies including New York City Ballet, Britain’s Royal Ballet (as the first black choreographer for the company), and Oakland Ballet. Most recently, Garland was commissioned to create an original work for the opening of the Lower Manhattan park, Little Island, featuring Misty Copeland and Black ballet dancers from Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet.
Among his commercial work are music videos, commercials, and short films, including those for the children's television show Sesame Street, Nike commercials (including one featuring Baseball Hall of Fame member Derek Jeter), NAACP Image Awards, a short film for Donna Karan, and the "Charmin Cha-Cha" commission by Proctor and Gamble. In 2020, Garland's work was featured on the popular STARZ television show, "Run The World."
So, what’s to expect at next@90? Take it from The New York Times: Garland’s gifts include everything from his “sparkling musicality” to an “ability to seamlessly weave classical ballet with influences from modern and social dance."
SF Ballet is delighted to welcome Jamar Roberts to the company for the first time for the next@90 festival.
Born in Miami, Florida, Roberts has always had a passion for dance. He joined Alvin Ailey as a dancer in 2002, following graduation from the New World School of the Arts and training at the Ailey School. He has danced for AAADT, Ailey II, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and in 2016 won the Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer. His first full-length work for Alvin Ailey, Members Don’t Get Weary, from 2016, as well as Ode from 2019, and his iconic solo for himself, Morani/Mungu, have all received critical acclaim.
In 2020, Roberts immersed himself in filmmaking when he produced Cooped, a solo for Works & Process at the Guggenheim, which was called “one of the most powerful artistic responses yet to the COVID-19 crisis.” (New York Times) He has been commissioned by the Juilliard School Dance Division for both live and virtual works, New York City Ballet, and made a film for the LA Opera entitled The First Bluebird in the Morning. In the fall of 2020, the March on Washington Film Festival invited Mr. Roberts to create a dance on film in tribute to the Honorable John Lewis. Roberts was most recently featured on the cover of Dance magazine in June of 2021, having previously been on the cover in June 2013 and being named “25 to Watch” in 2007.
“It is a great thrill to be commissioned alongside an all-embracing assemblage of dance makers for San Francisco Ballet's next@90 Festival. To be considered part of the innovative and creative tapestry of SFB is incredibly inspiring and I look forward to learning from and making with the multiplicity of artists in the company's harbor.”
We are delighted to present another world premiere by Danielle Rowe as part of the next@90 festival at SF Ballet. In the past few years, she has been an integral part of the SF Ballet family, creating memorable pieces for our dancers to perform such as Wooden Dimes and For Pixie.
Born in Shepparton, Australia, Rowe knew in her early life she was destined for the stage. Following her training at the Australian Ballet School, she became a principal dancer with the Australian Ballet. She then moved to the United States to dance with the Houston Ballet, and also danced with the prestigious Nederlands Dans Theater. Rowe has performed in works by Kenneth McMillan, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Mark Morris, and Nacho Duato, as well as a host of lead character roles in story ballets.
After retiring from dance, Rowe turned her focus to choreographing and is credited with creating innovative ballets based on storytelling. She has choreographed numerous works across the United States and internationally at companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Co.Lab Dance (featuring dancers from American Ballet Theater). During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Rowe turned to directing and choreographing for film, including the vaudeville-style piece Wooden Dimes—part of SF Ballet’s 2021 Digital Season. Her directing repertoire also includes The Animals for Ballet Idaho and The Misfits for Louisville Ballet. Not without a sense of humor, she also collaborated with filmmakers (and former and current SF Ballet dancers) Garen Scribner and Alexander Reneff-Olson on Shelter, I Am Spartacus and Wilis in Corps-en-tine for The Australian Ballet.
Val Caniparoli’s versatility has made him one of the most sought-after American choreographers internationally. He will be creating a new work for next@90.
Born in Renton, Washington, Caniparoli opted for a professional dance career after studying music and theatre at Washington State University. In 1971 he received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to attend San Francisco Ballet School and performed with San Francisco Opera Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet in 1973, where he continues to perform as a Principal Character Dancer. “I love that I don’t lose sight of what it means to be a performer onstage,” he told Balletforever in an interview. In 2023, he will celebrate his 50th anniversary with SF Ballet!
Throughout his career, Caniparoli has created more than 200 works for ballet, theater, opera, symphony, film, and television. In addition to his longstanding association with SF Ballet, for whom he has created more than 20 ballets, more than 60 dance companies have presented his work, including Finnish National Ballet, BalletMet, Joffrey Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Ballet West, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Singapore Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet.
He has also choreographed for the Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.). One of his most popular ballets, Lambarena, was nominated for the Prix Benois de la Danse in 1997 for Best Choreography and was also featured on Sesame Street. In 2015, Caniparoli co-choreographed, with Helgi Tomasson, a commercial for the 50th Anniversary Super Bowl with dancers from San Francisco Ballet.
“I am of course thrilled to be invited to next@90, to share the festival with such esteemed colleagues, and to be able work with the wonderful dancers of the San Francisco Ballet. I left the United States at an early age many years ago, so the chance to return to create a ballet in my own country, after so many years of being part of the European dance scene, is really an honour and a joy.”
Choreographer Bridget Breiner returns to the United States to create a ballet for next@90 after working in the European dance scene for many years. Her next@90 ballet will be her first creation for San Francisco Ballet.
As a child in Columbus, Ohio, Breiner began her dance training at BalletMet Dance Academy and continued at the Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung in Munich, Germany. She was a member of the Bavarian State Ballet in 1992 under Konstanze Vernon's direction. In 1996 she joined the Stuttgart Ballet under the direction of Reid Anderson. She quickly became one of the company’s most celebrated dancers, being promoted to principal dancer in 2001. From 2006 to 2008, she danced with the Semperoper Ballet in Dresden under the direction of Aaron Watkin. The Stuttgart Ballet regularly featured her as a guest artist until 2011.
The Stuttgart-based Noverre Society presented Breiner's choreographic debut on its "Young Choreographers" evening. Since then, she has choreographed for the Stuttgart Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Latvian National Ballet, Kevin O'Day-Ballet Mannheim, Ballet Augsburg, Ballett im Revier Gelsenkirchen and Staatsballett Karlsruhe in and the Salzburg State Theatre. In addition to serving as Artistic Director of the Ballett im Revier Gelsenkirchen from 2012-2019, she has a distinguished dance career, as well as a reputation in Germany as a choreographer and director. She is currently the artistic director of the Badisches Staatsballett Karlsruhe.
Throughout Breiner's ballet career, her passion for narrative ballet has been evident in several of her ballets. She created 7 full-length story ballets, including adaptations of Shakespeare's works such as The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, a one-act Othello, and Romeo and Juliet. In 2018, she presented her own version of the iconic Firebird ballet for Les Grandes Ballets Canadiens in 2018—her most recent experience working in North America. Breiner is a two-time winner of Germany’s DER FAUST award for choreography.
“I am very honored to share this moment with dancers and the audience,
as we listen to the sound of the soul overflowing from each dancer's body and
thus join us in the process of creation.”
Yuka Oishi, who’s making her United States debut in next@90, is the first Japanese choreographer in SF Ballet’s 90-year history to create a repertory work for the Company (and the first Japanese choreographer in our repertory, period).
Oishi began her dance training at Masako Ohya Ballet Institute in Japan and joined The Hamburg Ballet in the 2002–03 Season, where she was promoted to Soloist in 2010. Since 2015 Oishi has been working as a freelance choreographer and dancer. She has been active not only in the field of ballet but also in musicals and music videos. She choreographed RENKU with Orkan Dann for The Hamburg Ballet in 2012 and received the “Rolf Mares Prize” for the most outstanding production of the year. In 2018, she choreographed a piece called 空Ku for the Béjart Ballet Lausanne that drew influence from Japanese culture and brought the dancers' bodies to move poetically throughout the stage.
Oishi has also choreographed for Bundes Jugend Ballet, Origen Festival Cultural, Sadamatsu-Hamada Ballet, The Tokyo Ballet, Takarazuka Revue, Shoko Nakamura, Natalia Osipova, Sergei Polunin, and Gil Roman.
When asked about her next@90 debut, and stepping into the scene in the United States, Oishi said: “I feel a strange mixture of excitement and thrill.” We do too.
“What a thrilling opportunity to craft a work on such a talented group of artists! It is a true honor to reconnect with my San Francisco Ballet family and contribute to the creative future of the company with next@90 Festival.”
A familiar face to San Francisco Ballet, Nicolas Blanc returns to the Company as a choreographer for next@90.
Blanc began his dance training in Montauban, France. After winning a scholarship in the 1994 Prix de Lausanne, he continued his early dance education at the Academie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace’ in Monte-Carlo and the Paris Opera Ballet School. He then danced with Nice Opera Ballet, Deutsche Oper am Rhein Dusseldorf, Zurich Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet, where he was made Principal Dancer in 2004. In 2009, he joined Scottish Ballet as Ballet Master and has worked as a rehearsal director and principal coach for the Joffrey Ballet since 2011.
Throughout his career as a dancer, Blanc cultivated his love for choreography. While he was dancing with SF Ballet, he choreographed two pieces at SF Ballet School in 2006 and 2007. Since joining Joffrey Ballet, Blanc has created several works, most notably Evenfall, Under the Trees’ Voices, and Beyond The Shore co-commissioned by the New York Choreographic Institute and Cal Performances. In 2016, his work Mothership, opened at the New York City Ballet's annual gala. He has enjoyed collaborations with other internationally recognized companies, including Barak Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, and Rome Opera Ballet. Blanc’s achievements also include his choreography award at the 2014 International Ballet Competition (IBC) in Jackson, MS and his selection to participate in the National Choreographers Initiative (NCI) in 2015.
For his next@90 premiere, Blanc’s choreography and designer Katrin Schnabl’s costumes and set design emanate from composer Anna Clyne’s deep engagement with the text that inspired her music - the words of the poet Rumi.
“As a lifelong admirer of San Francisco Ballet, I am honored to have the opportunity to create a new work for the next@90 festival. SF Ballet embodies excellence in every facet of the organization, and I am honored to engage with its world-class artists to bring a new ballet to life.”
2023 next@90 festival Sponsors
Jim and Cecilia Herbert
With Major Support by an anonymous donor
Yurie and Carl Pascarella
David Kaplan and Glenn Ostergaard
John and Amy Palmer
David H. Spencer