Helgi Tomasson discusses SPELLBOUND’s world premieres

Helgi Tomasson discusses SPELLBOUND’s world premieres

“I find myself in awe and filled with pride every year.”

SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson kicks off his record-breaking 35th season with the Company on January 16, when SPELLBOUND, the 2020 Opening Night Gala, takes the stage.

We caught a moment with Tomasson, who shares about the two world premieres on this year’s Gala program:

Val Caniparoli and San Francisco Ballet rehearse Caniparoli’s Tears in 2013. Caniparoli creates a world premiere for Spellbound, the 2020 Opening Night Gala // © Erik Tomasson

“I like to bring new work to the Gala each year, whether it be a pas de deux or a short piece. It’s a wonderful opportunity for choreographers to explore new ideas. This year, I decided to ask two choreographers to create new pas de deux or pas de trois for opening night. What connects these choreographers is that they are both close members of the San Francisco Ballet family, and they represent a different generation of dancemaking.

Val Caniparoli joined the Company a decade before I arrived and continues to perform with us as a principal character dancer. His choreography is rooted in classicism but is influenced by all forms of movement, from modern dance to the dances of far off regions and cultures.”

San Francisco Ballet rehearsing Thatcher’s Otherness in 2017. Thatcher creates a world premiere for Spellbound, the 2020 Opening Night Gala // © Erik Tomasson

“The second world premiere is by our current corps de ballet member Myles Thatcher, who is well into his career as a choreographer though he’s still in his 20s and dancing. Just a few years ago, he was the first corps member in at least three decades to choreograph a new work for our subscription season. He’s since created a handful of works for us, including one of the ballets from our 2018 Unbound festival. I’m looking forward to seeing how these pieces play altogether.

The two world premieres are complemented by a robust program that showcases the immense talent and capability of our dancers—I find myself in awe and filled with pride every year at this event.”

Spellbound’s complete programming:

Men’s Regiment from Stars & Stripes
Composer: John Philip Sousa, arranged by Hershy Kay
Choreographer: George Balanchine 

Myles Thatcher World Premiere
Composer: TBA
Choreographer: Myles Thatcher

“Jockey Dance” from From Siberia To Moscow
Composer: Carl Christian Møller
Choreographer: August Bournonville

Val Caniparoli World Premiere
Composer: Ludovico Einaudi
Choreographer: Val Caniparoli

Grand Pas Classique
Composer: D. F. E. Auber
Choreography: Victor Gsovsky

Balcony Pas de Deux from Romeo & Juliet
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson

Pas de Deux from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Composers: Anthony Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez, and Justin Meldal-Johnsen
Choreographer: Justin Peck

For Pixie
Composer: TBA
Choreographer: Danielle Rowe

Pas de Deux from Swan Lake
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: David Dawson 

Pas de Deux from Bells
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff
Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov

Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire
Composer: Riccardo Drigo
Choreography: after Marius Petipa 

Finale from Diamonds
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: George Balanchine

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