Artistic Staff

Anita Paciotti

Ballet Master

Anita Paciotti


  • Born

    Oakland, California

  • Company Membership

    Joined in 1968
    Named Principal Character Dancer in 1987

Anita Paciotti is responsible for staging and rehearsing ballets by choreographers including Sir Frederick Ashton (La Fille mal gardée), George Balanchine (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet), David Bintley (The Dance House, Job, The “Wanderer” Fantasy, and Sons of Horus), August Bournonville (La Sylphide), Christopher Bruce (Sergeant Early’s Dream), James Kudelka (Terra Firma, The End, The Comfort Zone, and Dreams of Harmony), Lar Lubovitch (Othello and Elemental Brubeck), Agnes de Mille (Rodeo), Jerome Robbins (In the Night and The Concert), Helgi Tomasson (Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, 7 for Eight, and On a Theme of Paganini, among others), Paul Taylor (Sunset), Lila York (El Grito and Celts), Stanton Welch (Taiko and Tutu), Christopher Wheeldon (Sea Pictures, Continuum, Polyphonia, Rush, Carousel (A Dance), and Within the Golden Hour), Yuri Possokhov (Magrittomania, Damned, Study in Motion, Reflections, and Fusion), and more.

In 1987, Tomasson appointed Paciotti principal character dancer, and based the role of Carabosse, from his production of The Sleeping Beauty, on her. In 1993, Tomasson also based the role of Nurse on Paciotti, for his production of Romeo & Juliet. That year also marked the 30th anniversary of Paciotti’s participation in San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker, and 2008 marked Paciotti’s 40th year with San Francisco Ballet.

Paciotti, a native of Oakland, California, majored in drama at Berkeley and was an original member of the Oakland Ballet. She also studied ballet at San Francisco Ballet School and joined the Company in 1968, where she performed numerous leading roles including Lise in Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée, Beauty’s Sister in Beauty and the Beast, and the mother figure in Robert Gladstein’s Psalms. In addition, she performed soloist roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Stars and Stripes, Symphony in C, and the Choleric movement of Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments.

Other roles include the Mistress in Lew Christensen’s Con Amore, Columbine in Christensen’s Scarlatti Portfolio, a Partisan in Maurice Bejart’s Firebird, the Red Couple in Jirí Kylián’s Forgotten Land, the pas de deux in Michael Smuin’s Bouquet, and the lead woman in Shinju.

Smuin set numerous leading roles on Paciotti, including Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet; lead roles in Medea, Stravinsky Piano Pieces, and Mozart’s C Minor Mass; and the Stepmother in Christensen/Smuin’s Cinderella.

Paciotti has appeared in the “Dance in America” broadcast of Romeo and Juliet, recreating her role as Lady Capulet. She also performed the Bearded Lady in Christensen’s Jinx and the Red Dance from Smuin’s Songs of Mahler for two KQED-TV broadcasts, taped in 1984. Paciotti was appointed rehearsal assistant in 1982 and promoted to ballet master in 1991.