Press Release

Press Release


SAN FRANCISCO, May 5, 2020—San Francisco Ballet’s free weekly stream on SF Ballet @ Home features commissioned works from the 2018 Unbound festival and other notable ballets from SF Ballet’s repertory. Every Friday, SF Ballet streams a complete ballet from its archives on Facebook, IGTV, YouTube, and the SF Ballet website, calling on regional, national, and international audiences to relish the joy of dance while sheltering in place. Over the past four weeks, SF Ballet @ Home has featured ballets from Unbound, including David Dawson’s Anima Animus, Trey McIntyre’s Your Flesh Shall Be a Great Poem, Dwight Rhoden’s Let’s Begin at the End, and Stanton Welch’s Bespoke. Commentary by SF Ballet dancers and creative teams accompanies each stream, offering a behind-the-scenes look into the roles of the Company’s artists. Each stream is made available worldwide for one week. With this timeline, SF Ballet hopes to inspire in-the-moment discussions about the role dance plays in this time of discovery, digital innovation, and artistic creation.

Two different captures of Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet will be featured on SF Ballet @ Home, May 8 through 15, and on Lincoln Center at Home beginning Monday, May 11 at 2:30 pm PDT. A signature work of the Company, Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet premiered during SF Ballet’s 1994 Repertory Season and was scheduled to close the 2020 Season this month. Set to Sergei Prokofiev’s score, the full-length production features lighting design by Thomas R. Skelton and “opulent” (Los Angeles Times) Italian Renaissance designs by Jens-Jacob Worsaae, marking Worsaae’s final collaboration with Tomasson before he passed away shortly after the ballet’s premiere. “I think it was the most beautiful work he’d ever done, and yet he did not see it,” Tomasson said about the ballet’s designs. “That’s [one] reason why this production is very, very special to me.”

Shakespeare’s story of ill-fated lovers is illuminated through Tomasson’s classical choreography, which is sharp and spirited in times of triumph, solemn and lyrical in times of loss, and sensual in moments of romantic passion. Included in Romeo & Juliet is the choreographed sword-fighting scenes, which Martino Pistone choreographed in tandem with Tomasson. Actor, teacher, and movie stunt man Pistone expressed the desire to create “a dichotomy,” where Tomasson’s “classical ballet matched up with stage combat, semi-realism…when the fights break out, it’s a whole different movement which accentuates the illusion of violence that you see between these two families.” True to the era, characters fight with rapiers, daggers, bucklers, and capes in tightly choreographed scenes requiring hours of rehearsal.

A capture of Romeo & Juliet inaugurated Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance in 2015, when it was shown at cinemas nationwide. The ballet has been performed live at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Bolshoi Theatre (balcony pas de deux), and Segerstrom Center for the Arts. SF Ballet most recently performed Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet on tour at The Royal Danish Opera House in Copenhagen, Denmark, October 30–November 2, 2019.

More information is included in the calendar below. Contact Kate McKinney, SF Ballet’s PR & Communications Manager, or You You Xia, Director of Communications, with casting, production credits, and photo inquiries at kmckinney@sfballet.org and yxia@sfballet.org.

SF Ballet @ Home Calendar
Each stream is available for one week 

Friday, May 1, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT
The Infinite Ocean (February 15, 2020 SF Ballet capture)

Edwaard Liang’s The Infinite Ocean premiered during 2018’s Unbound festival. Liang created The Infinite Ocean to explore the idea of reconnecting with his deceased father, who died when Liang was 13, “on the other side of the infinite ocean.” Set to a violin concerto by London-based composer Oliver Davis, the ballet toured to The Kennedy Center in 2018 and Sadler’s Wells in 2019, where it was celebrated as “a stunner…a ballet of sheer beauty” by Dance EuropeThe Infinite Ocean includes costumes by Mark Zappone and scenic designs by Alexander V. Nichols. Lighting by James F. Ingalls presents a sunset-inspired scene modeled after Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project, exhibited at the Tate Modern in 2003.

Meet the Artist interview: Friday, May 1, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT on Facebook Live with principal dancers Yuan Yuan Tan and Luke Ingham

Friday, May 8, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT
Romeo & Juliet (May 8, 2015 SF Ballet capture)

Helgi Tomasson’s full-length production Romeo & Juliet brings Shakespeare’s tragic tale of star-crossed lovers to life with “visceral, fresh, and ultimately sublime” choreography (The Huffington Post), spine-tingling swordsmanship, and “opulent” (Los Angeles Times) scenery and costume designs by Jens-Jacob Worsaae. Tomasson’s interpretation of the classic tale features sword fighting with rapiers, daggers, bucklers, and capes choreographed by Martino Pistone in collaboration with Tomasson. The ballet inaugurated Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance in 2015, when it was shown at cinemas nationwide, and has performed at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Bolshoi Theatre (balcony pas de deux), and Segerstrom Center for the Arts. SF Ballet most recently performed Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet on tour at The Royal Danish Opera House in Copenhagen, Denmark in the fall of 2019. SF Ballet principal dancers Mathilde Froustey and Carlo Di Lanno perform the title roles in this stream.

Meet the Artist interview: Friday, May 8, 2020 at 2:00 pm PDT on Facebook Live with principal dancer Mathilde Froustey and Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson

Monday, May 11, 2020 at 2:30pm PDT
Lincoln Center at Home
Romeo & Juliet (2015 Live From Lincoln Center broadcast)

Lincoln Center at Home will broadcast their 2015 capture of Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet, with former SF Ballet principal dancers Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan in the title roles, on their platforms. Lincoln Center at Home is dedicated to maintaining connections to the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic. A free, one-stop portal to all digital offerings from across the iconic campus, offerings also include Lincoln Center Pop-Up Classroom, and #ConcertsForKids, as well an array of archival and livestream performances available for free and on demand at LincolnCenter.org and on Lincoln Center’s Facebook Page. Visit LincolnCenter.org to watch and view a weekly schedule.

Friday, May 15, 2020 at 3:00 pm PDT
Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (February 12, 2019 SF Ballet capture)

Tony Award winner Justin Peck’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming premiered at the Unbound festival and was last performed by SF Ballet at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in 2019. In Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, New York City Ballet’s Peck created a piece that is “very balletic, but feels fresh, with a youthful authenticity” (The Guardian), setting his choreography in sneakers and to music by LA-based electronic band M83. Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung designed the streetwear-inspired costumes, with lighting designed by James F. Ingalls. Included in The New York Times’s “Best Dance of 2018” list, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming shows that “Mr. Peck means to shake up the norms of ballet, its partnering, gender, footwork. Surely good news for us all.”

Meet the Artist interview: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT

Friday, May 22, 2020 at 3:00 pm PDT
Bound To (March 27, 2019 SF Ballet capture)

Christopher Wheeldon’s Bound To©, his tenth work for SF Ballet and created for the Unbound festival, offers a “luscious journey out of tech world” (San Francisco Chronicle). “The overarching theme is the disconnectedness of our time,” Wheeldon says, “and how we are perhaps even more connected with our devices than we are with each other.” Data sets splay across the stage and cell phones with illuminated screens feature prominently as dancers’ props; music by singer-songwriter Keaton Henson sets the ballet. Wheeldon, whose Cinderella© opened the 2020 Repertory Season, won the 2015 Tony Award for “Best Choreography” for his Broadway hit An American in Paris. In Bound To, he creates his first ballet choreographed without pointe shoes, and for the first time pairs same-sex couples in tender pas de deux.

Meet the Artist interview: Friday, May 22, 2020 at 2:30 pm PDT

Programming subject to change. Follow SF Ballet on social media for the most current streaming schedule.

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San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, 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 and 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.

The filming of Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet is made possible by lead support from First Republic Bank, with major support from The Diana Dollar Knowles Foundation and Denise Littlefield Sobel.

The 1994 world premiere of Romeo & Juliet was made possible by the E. L. Wiegand Foundation. Additional support was provided by Lucy and Fritz Jewett, Chris and Warren Hellman, Mr. Rudolph W. Driscoll, The Bernard Osher Foundation, Franklin Templeton Group, and Deloitte.

Support for Romeo & Juliet for the 2020 Repertory Season was provided by Lead Sponsors Mr. Richard C. Barker, Mr. James D. Marver, and Alison and Michael Mauzé; Major Sponsors Anonymous, Judy C. Swanson, and Richard Thalheimer; and Sponsors Ms. Laura Clifford, Katherine and Gregg Crawford, Alex and Carolyn Mehran, and Wylie Peterson and Anne-Marie Peterson.

San Francisco Ballet’s production of Romeo & Juliet for Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance was made possible by First Republic Bank. Additional support was provided by The Diana Dollar Knowles Foundation and Denise Littlefield Sobel.