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What SF Ballet Dancers Did This Summer

What SF Ballet Dancers Did This Summer

Two months filled with travel, teaching, and dog cuddles.

July is an exciting time at SF Ballet, as Company members return to the studios after a two month hiatus. In addition to preparing for local performances at Festival Napa Valley (July 27) and Stern Grove Festival (July 29), they worked with choreographers Yuri Possokhov and Liam Scarlett on their upcoming world premieres. They also started rehearsing story ballets like Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid for the 2019 Season. We caught up with a few of the dancers to find out what they did during their time off—and which ballets they are particularly excited about performing during the 2019 Season.

Principal Dancer Tiit Helimets

SF Ballet in Neumeier's The Little Mermaid // © Erik Tomasson

What did you do during your summer break? I choreographed my second ballet for the Estonian National Ballet. It will premiere on November 8, 2019 and I am looking forward to seeing it come to life on the stage.

What are you looking forward to in SF Ballet’s 2019 Season? I’m glad that [John Neumeier’s] The Little Mermaid is coming back. This was a great ballet to dance. Also [Alexei Ratmansky’s] Shostakovich Trilogy brings back good memories—and challenges.

Principal Dancer Sasha De Sola

Sasha De Sola teaching at Ballet West Academy // © Beau Pearson

What did you do during your summer break? Summer is a time for rest and rejuvenation—and travel! This year, Yuan Yuan Tan invited Vitor Luiz and me to her hometown of Shanghai, China. We worked with Netherlands Dance Theater–based choreographer Medhi Walerski in a choreographic workshop for students from Shanghai. I also traveled to Salt Lake City, to teach at Ballet West Academy's summer intensive. My downtime between trips has been filled with lots of cuddle time with my dog.

What are you looking forward to in SF Ballet’s 2019 Season? I'm looking forward to being back at work in the SF Ballet studios! It's hard to pick just one ballet in the upcoming season, but I really enjoy the process of working on the full-length ballets.

Soloist Lauren Strongin

Lauren Strongin and Jaime Castilla in Dana Genshaft’s REELs in Spain // © Alberto Rodrigálvarez

What did you do during your summer break? I traveled to Zaragoza, Spain and performed with eight other San Francisco Ballet dancers.

What are you looking forward to in SF Ballet’s 2019 Season? I'm looking forward to the new Liam Scarlett work and Shostakovich Trilogy.

Corps de Ballet Member Thamires Chuvas

Thamires Chuvas in Brazil

What did you do during your summer break? I had an amazing time in Brazil. It’s always great to be back home and see my family and friends.

What are you looking forward to in SF Ballet’s 2019 Season? I’m looking forward to performing in [Helgi Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov’s] Don Quixote because it’s one of my favorite ballets, and The Little Mermaid because I have never seen it before.

Corps de Ballet Member Gabriela Gonzalez

Gabriela Gonzalez at Chichén Itzá in Mexico

What did you do during your summer break? I spent time in the in the Yucatán peninsula at Puerto Progreso and Chichén Itzá. My summer motto was "Free your spirit, love all around... and dance!"

What are you looking forward to in SF Ballet’s 2019 Season? I am really looking forward to Divertimento No. 15. When I graduated from Miami City Ballet School, I danced two of the five lead parts (in different casts). That ballet is so very special to me. And also Don Quixote. I love the Spanish flair.

Header Image: Ana Sophia Scheller in Don Quixote at Stern Grove // © Erik Tomasson