Press Release

Press Release


SAN FRANCISCO, February 13, 2020—San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) is presented by The National Ballet of Canada under Artistic Director Karen Kain at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Ontario, marking the Company’s premiere performances in Canada under the direction of Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson and the opening of The National Ballet of Canada’s 2020/21 season, November 11–15, 2020.  SF Ballet will present Justin Peck’s Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes, Wheeldon’s Bound To, and Alexei Ratmansky’s The Seasons throughout the tour.

Tony Award-winning Justin Peck’s Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes sets fifteen male and one female dancers to Aaron Copland’s iconic score and departs from the cowboy narrative of Agnes de Mille’s original Rodeo from 1942. Peck created Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes in 2015 for New York City Ballet, where he has been choreographer in residence since 2014. Lighting designs by Brandon Stirling Baker and costume designs by Reid Bartelme, Harriet Jung, and Justin Peck suggest mid-century America in the open plains.

Christopher Wheeldon’s Bound To, his tenth work for SF Ballet, premiered during the Company’s 2018 Unbound: A Festival of New Works. A ballet that observes technology’s influence on 21st-century communication, Bound To is set to singer-songwriter Keaton Henson’s music, with scenic and costume designs by Jean-Marc Puissant, projection designs by Alexander V. Nichols, and lighting designs by James F. Ingalls. Wheeldon, who won the 2015 Tony Award for “Best Choreography” for his Broadway hit An American in Paris, choreographed Bound To in flat shoes for the first time in his balletic career.

Alexei Ratmansky’s The Seasons, a co-commission between SF Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, will receive its West Coast premiere with SF Ballet on March 26, 2020 in San Francisco, before touring to Toronto in the fall. Set to Alexander Glazunov’s score of the same name, The Seasons is Ratmansky’s recreation of Marius Petipa’s ballet from 1900, retaining the original character names—Bacchante, The Faun, The Swallow, and more—yet setting the ballet to original chorography. The Seasons includes costume designs by Robert Perdziola and lighting designs by Mark Stanley.

Helgi Tomasson, one of the most venerated classical dancers of his generation, embarks on his 35th season with San Francisco Ballet in 2020 and is the longest-serving sole artistic director of a major ballet company. Born in Iceland, he danced with Harkness Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and New York City Ballet, where he distinguished himself as a dancer of technical purity, musicality, and intelligence. Tomasson assumed leadership of SF Ballet in 1985. Under his direction, SF Ballet has become a company widely recognized as one of the finest in the world. Tomasson has balanced devotion to the classics with an emphasis on new works, cultivating frequent collaborations and commissions with choreographers such as William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Cathy Marston, and Mark Morris, among many others. He has choreographed more than 50 works for the Company, including full-length productions of Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo & Juliet (taped for Lincoln Center at the Movies’ Great American Dance), Giselle, and Nutcracker (taped for PBS’s Great Performances). He conceptualized the 1995 UNited We Dance festival, in which SF Ballet hosted 12 international companies; the 2008 New Works Festival, which included 10 world premieres by 10 acclaimed choreographers; and the 2018 Unbound: A Festival of New Works. Tomasson has also connected SF Ballet to the world, through co-commissions with American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, and Dutch National Ballet; and major tours to Paris, London, New York City, China, and his native Iceland.

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has a history of making history. The Company has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States.  It currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. For more information visit sfballet.org.

One of the top international ballet companies, The National Ballet of Canada was founded in 1951 by Celia Franca. A company of 70 dancers with its own orchestra, the National Ballet has been led by Artistic Director Karen Kain, one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation, since 2005. Renowned for its diverse repertoire, the company performs traditional full-length classics, embraces contemporary work and encourages the creation of new ballets as well as the development of Canadian choreographers. The company’s repertoire includes works by Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Rudolf Nureyev, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Crystal Pite, Christopher Wheeldon, Aszure Barton, Guillaume Côté and Robert Binet. The National Ballet tours in Canada, the US and internationally with appearances in Paris, London, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Hamburg, New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Casting for SF Ballet’s Toronto tour will be available here at least one week before each performance.

Please contact You You Xia, Director of Communications, at yxia@sfballet.org for high-res images and press inquiries.

Calendar information:

Visit The National Ballet of Canada’s webpage for ticket information.

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
145 Queen St. W
Toronto, ON

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm EST
Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 7:30 pm EST
Friday, November 13, 2020 at 7:30 pm EST
Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 2:00 pm EST
Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 7:30 pm EST
Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 2:00 pm EST 

Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes
Composer: Aaron Copland
Choreographer: Justin Peck
Staged by: Craig Hall
Costume Design: Reid Bartelme, Harriet Jung, and Justin Peck
Lighting Design: Brandon Stirling Baker

World Premiere: February 4, 2015—New York City Ballet, David H. Koch Theater; New York, New York

San Francisco Ballet Premiere: January 18, 2018—San Francisco Ballet 85th Anniversary Gala, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

Music: Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo by Aaron Copland, used by arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., publisher and copyright owner. Costumes constructed by Christopher Read, Toronto, Canada.

Bound To
Composer: Keaton Henson
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Scenic and Costume Design: Jean-Marc Puissant
Projection Design: Jean-Marc Puissant and Alexander V. Nichols
Lighting Design: James F. Ingalls

Bound To© by Christopher Wheeldon

World Premiere: April 20, 2018—San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

Music: “Elevator Song (Kid Kanevil Remix)” (Faber Music), and “Elevator Song (Ulrich Schnauss Remix)” (Faber Music)—all written and performed by Keaton Henson; by arrangement with Faber Music Ltd, London. “Arpeggio,” “Healah Dancing,” “Nearly Curtains,” “Urgent,” and “Field”—all music by Keaton Henson and orchestration by Matthew Naughtin; performed by arrangement with Faber Music Ltd, London. “Epilogue”—written and performed by Keaton Henson; orchestration by Matthew Naughtin; performed by arrangement with Kobalt Music Publishing. Costumes constructed by Parkinson Gill Ltd. London, United Kingdom. Scenic construction and painting by San Francisco Ballet Carpentry and Scenic Departments.

The Seasons
Composer: Alexander Glazunov
Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky
Staged by: Nancy Raffa
Costume Design: Robert Perdziola
Costume Design Assistant: Caitlin Rain
Lighting Design: Mark Stanley

World Premiere: May 20, 2019—American Ballet Theatre, Metropolitan Opera House; New York, New York

San Francisco Ballet Premiere: March 26, 2020—War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

The Seasons is a co-production with American Ballet Theatre.

Music: The Seasons, Op. 67. Costumes by Colin Davis Jones Studios; Euro Co Costumes; Krostyne Studio; Tricorne, Inc. Millinery by Lynne Mackey Studio; Rodney Gordon, Inc. Fabric Printing and Dyeing by Dyenamix Inc.

The following funds of the San Francisco Ballet Endowment Foundation provide permanent support for touring by San Francisco Ballet: Lead Underwriters The Hellman Family Touring Fund, Donald F. Houghton Touring Fund, G. William Jewell Touring Fund, The Bernard Osher Foundation Touring Fund; Major Underwriters Frannie and Mort Fleishhacker Touring Fund, Stephen and Margaret Gill Family Foundation Touring Fund, Teri and Andy Goodman Touring Fund, Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida Touring Fund, Bob Ross Foundation Touring Fund, Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Touring Fund; and Underwriters Davidson Bidwell-Waite and Edwin A. Waite Touring Fund, Glenn McCoy Touring Fund, Vinie and J. Sanford Miller Touring Fund, Phyllis W. Nelson Touring Fund, and the Anne and Michelle Shonk Touring Fund.

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